How I Saved 5M+ in Agency Spend
Not only am I going to show you how I saved 5M in my multi-year implementation of RightSpent as an Advertising Agency Management tool at Gilead, but I’ve got a little bit more up my sleeve. I want to give you a SNEAK PREVIEW into (Rightspend 2.0). So sit down and buckle up, because this search is going to revolutionize the services procurement marketplace.
I really enjoy being an early adopter of platforms. So the fact I implemented Right spend almost 5+ years ago really boggles my mind. It started out as an Advertising Agency management tool, that included many functions:
- Data warehouse of your internal brands yearly plans/SOWs details
- Provide Quarterly/Yearly reconciliation to ensure unused hours, rebates, compensation plans were tracked and managed
- Internal benchmarking across each brand, assets (or project tactics) and rates/rate cards
- External benchmarking for negotiations (over 10B in Agency spend) including a staffing rate card, project level tactics (websites, brochures, etc.) costs and hours
- Includes over 75+ global markets
- Over 350 different tactics/deliverables (projects)
- 10 Specific Agency types (PR, Pharma, Med. Comm, Creative, Media, Digital, Promotional/Event, Collateral/Design)
- The option to leverage staff with over 20+ years in Agency Management
Now, I implemented this across almost every brand at Gilead. I think there were only one or two that I didn’t have the time to implement while I was there (due to being in launch mode). Which was fine, I had built an internal database of all creative and digital advertising, Med. Com. and promotional/event agencies. Which if they continued, now has over 5 years worth of internal benchmarking data! Hopefully, they’ve expanded into other agencies types too (Media, PR, etc.).
The implementation wasn’t easy. I first had to get the brand’s buy-in and then the data from the Agencies. After a couple of requests, I found I had to go directly to the CFO or I’d never get the data. Even then it was a battle and I had to engage my business partners at Beekman Associates (owners of RightSpend) to get the information from the Agencies. With their help, I learned to get data by:
- Request during RFPs (new agencies were more than happy to provide!)
- During project or yearly SOW negotiations
- On request of the Brand / Executive Director
- Being proactive to get ALL the previous years’ data to build out the database
During my tenure, we used the tool to provide easily ~10% or 5M+ in P&L hard savings for the brands. We even had yearly reconciliations that helped drive transparency in SOWs and tactics. It helped us also to find a VERY important issue – we were being charged for managing invoices and accruals. Due to our internal approval thresholds, we had hundreds of invoices and SOWs instead of managing at an Agency level. This amounted to money wasted in the MILLIONS.
It also helped us to understand WHY some of the costs were so high including Overhead and Profit. Additionally, our brands would literally drive agencies into the ground with ridiculous deadlines and requests driving up rates. This, in turn, would lend us to having agencies “fire us” during pitches and even tell me we were “on a break” from our relationship due to our ridiculous expectations. Seriously *Close my dropped jaw* WTF?!
The tool helped to shine a light on internal issues of the brands, but it also showed external profit margin gouging. It made my life supporting Agency management so much easier. And we were one of the smaller accounts on version 1.0. Just wait to you hear what 2.0 can accomplish.
So now comes the interesting part – RightSpend 2.0! They’re making this more than just an Advertising Agency tool. They’re adding additional functionality like RFI’s, SRM and more. It’s an all in one cloud-based platform that will enable you to do complete Advertising management in one place. They even have upped their game so if you have an agency who likes to reduce hours to increase rate, you can adjust your analysis for it in reporting (within seconds).
The new reporting, the new dashboard and even the feel of it is new and streamlined. Plus the invaluable consulting services that they can provide at a moment’s notice – puts it in a league of its own.
And it gets better….
So if you are like me, you could see how an Agency tool could be used across different Indirect Services. After all, it’s a simple analysis of Time + materials (including a rate analysis). So that’s EXACTLY what they are doing. This database can be your one stop shop for all indirect Services (or “verticals”)!
For someone in a smaller company who has to manage a lot of different services, this can make life simple. You can put IT, HR, Consulting, etc. all in one place. You have an internal database for benchmarking for negotiations. Eliminating external benchmarking spend to top it off – is simply game changing.
As I always say, the most important part of this equation is the people. No matter who you work with at Beekman Associates (RightSpend), you know you have someone willing to listen and implement changes if needed. They even have round table groups with other customers to share best practices, insights and much more. It’s things like this that can be invaluable for a category manager trying to gain insight into the advertising category and management tool in a short amount of time.
In my opinion, it’s the right people, the right technology and the right changes that will move the Agency Management product into the future – encompassing all Indirect Services. And it’s not every day you find partners like these, so who better to lead the charge? This is only the second time I feel lucky enough to stumble upon a supplier so unique. Which is why it’s so hard not to be excited when you see their future plans that put it in a category all of its’ own.
For More Information on RightSpend or a live Demo from Beekman Associate: Contact Link