Agencies can spend so much time, effort and money creating what they think is a new business campaign worthy of an Award, for it to then fall flat on its face with zero results. And by results I mean new clients in the door.
I’ve been really fortunate to have worked with a huge variety of agencies over the years from start-ups with very little money to spend through to big global agencies with big marketing teams and budgets. In this time, I’ve learnt a lot from what does work and also what doesn’t work so I thought it would be useful to share my thoughts on why some new business campaigns fail…
1. The audience hasn’t been researched
Using a list that you have bought from a data source usually won’t be good enough. It can be a great starting point to save you time on things like email address formats and postal addresses but you really do need to spend time on refining that list, especially if your new business campaign has a high print cost....
New business is the lifeblood of any creative agency, some agencies however just can’t afford to hire an in-house new business team. If you would like to be winning more business but don’t have the budget to hire someone, don’t let this hold you back. You too can learn the skills to sell your services and there’s no-one who understands your business better than you, so you are in a great place to do this. Sometimes you just need the confidence to get out there and also know some of the tricks and processes to make new business that little bit easier.
Investing in training, mentoring and support can be the best way to learn the skills you need as well as having the guidance to make sure you are saying and doing the right things to make your agency stand out. The Agency Growth Academy has been designed to help agency owners quickly understand the basics of new business. It’s an investment – not only money but also your time and I understand it can...
If you or your team aren’t getting the results you need from your new business activity then take a closer look at where you are spending your time. Are you doing enough of the right things or wasting time on the wrong things. Have a look at my list below to check you are on the right track.
Contacting new prospects every day
You need to always be building your pipeline and this means approaching new people every day. It doesn’t have to be a large number. If you are responsible for the running of your agency and new business is part of that then you won’t have time to contact lots of people. After all your approaches will be very tailored and personalized. Set yourself a goal – perhaps 2 or 3 new people each day.
Following up with people
The fortune is in the follow-up. Make sure you have an effective system in place to remind you when you need to follow up. I always recommend using a cloud-based CRM program such as Highrise, Hubspot or Capsule to keep...
One strategy that many agencies forget about when it comes to their own marketing and new business efforts is audience profiling.
"Understanding the differences between your audiences is essential for getting messaging right"
Something you know right but probably aren’t doing ;-)
Building personas for your core audience can help improve your marketing and new business efforts. Its means that you can be more focused on creating messages that are relevant to and that resonate with your audience.
According to Hubspot, the definition of a buyer persona is: “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
For agencies, I recommend you create between 3-5 buyer personas. There should be clear differences between each persona so start by creating one persona first based on your best client.
The strongest buyer personas are based on insight...
You recognise that you need external support with your new business drive but how do you decide between appointing a freelance new business consultant to work on your business development or whether to hire a specialist new business agency. There are some advantages and disadvantages to both which I’ve listed below.
A new business freelancer will typically cost less than hiring a new business agency. Usually agencies have overheads such as offices and staff that they need to cover. Having said that agencies are able to charge more because of the breadth and depth of experience of their combined team which I’ll go through in the next point.
2. Breadth of experience
With a freelancer you are accessing the experience of just one person whereas when you are working with a new business agency you have access to the wider team experience. Usually within the team they will have worked for similar agency to yours and will have targeted the sectors and markets you are...
If you are responsible for new business development in your agency, I'm pretty confident one of your biggest frustrations is the time you can spend trying to find peoples' email addresses. Companies don’t willingly give out email addresses anymore. They are safely guarded and difficult to uncover. Instead of wasting time trying different formats and waiting for bounce backs, why don’t you try one of my favourite tools below.
Prophet is a Google Chrome extension that finds information about people. Install Prophet and look at a person’s Twitter or LinkedIn profile, it will show you the user's Facebook, Google+, Blog, Sites, email address, phone number and much more. It goes beyond the web to analyse, generate and verify contact information that you can't find on the web. It’s very easy and simple to use, it’s not always 100% accurate but it’s a good starting point.
Reaching prospects using the traditional methods of email and phone is getting tougher and tougher with improved technology filtering emails and blocking calls. With the number of Worldwide users expected to reach some 2.95 billion by 2020, social media does give you an opportunity to connect with and engage with your prospects. Approach with caution though because there is definitely a wrong way to use social media which I see every day. So how do you build relationships over social media without looking spammy ;-) Keep reading to find out…
Getting your profiles right
First off make sure that your profiles are spot on. Your bios need to be consistent across each platform (not identical but saying the same message) and always use a headshot photo rather than a company logo as your profile picture.
Make sure your profile tells people exactly what is it you do and how you help companies.
And of course, make sure you are sharing valuable content on a regular basis.
When I start working with an agency on their new business, the first thing we look at is their new business plan. I tend to map this out over a 12 month period although it’s important to review and tweak each month. Writing the plan shouldn’t take long. The best way to approach it is to have a mini workshop to brainstorm the detail and then the new business plan is simply a written plan of what was agreed.
In this blog post, I’ve written what I always include in a new business plan. These are the basics, if you want to go deeper you can include areas such as competitor landscape, market conditions, SWOT analysis – these areas are helpful to look at but obviously take more time.
Specifically, what are your financial targets? Usually agencies tell me what their turnover is and what they would like it to increase to. This is a great starting point but we need to dig deeper than that. Questions like...
Often Marketing Directors complain that all agencies say the same thing and there’s little to differentiate one agency over another.
"A positioning statement should stand out, be unique and tell customers what you do."
"Your positioning statement or elevator pitch needs to stand out, it should be unique and above all tell the customer exactly what you do."
Having a clear positioning will help you set yourself apart from the competition and attract the best possible clients. Read below for my 5 key steps that you should follow when crafting your agency positioning.
1. Understand why you exist?
Go back to the beginning to understand why the agency was set up. Even though this may have been some years ago and the agency may have evolved massively since then you still need to understand why you exist. What is the purpose of the agency and what are you striving to achieve? Is it to create award winning work, is it to make a difference to the environment or is it to impact...
I’ve been working in new business for well over 15 years now, always in the same industry, helping digital, design and communications agencies get more clients. Over these years the landscape has changed a bit – marketing and brand directors field their calls, there are systems that can auto filter emails, competition is fierce and agencies need to do more and more to stand out. We hear more and more, from our competitors and other new business experts that the phone is dead, it’s no longer a successful tool in new business because people hate getting phone calls, they get too many and they field their calls.
I’d actually like to challenge this, people hate getting “sales” calls, it’s actually a well known fact that people don’t like to be sold to, they like to buy. This isn’t just in a business to...
Are you ready to stop wasting time and money on ineffective new business strategies?