When thinking about your marketing firm, there should be only one primary concern that rises to the top of any list: your agency’s growth. It is the responsibility of the CEO to grow the firm. Growth cannot be delegated. The blocking and tackling of new business, such as doing RFPs, making first visits, building relationships with prospects, making the follow-up calls and running the pitch process, all can be delegated. But actual taking responsibility for the growth of the firm is too important to delegate.
Now what should you be doing about it? Here are some quick tips that can help your new business program.
1. Always be adding.
Constantly add new prospects to your prospects list. You have no excuse about why you can’t continue to grow your prospect database. Every day you come across new brands, contacts, reports, and more. Create a new leads file and add those names to the list. Once a month, sit down and review the names, do a little research, and move them into your outreach file if you feel they are a good fit. If you’re not sure, call them! It’s always amazing to agency leaders how many leads they generate when they call to inquire if they are a good fit.
2. Create a dream list.
You are what you eat. And for marketing firms this is truer than we care to admit. So make sure you have some high-quality dream prospects on your list. I’m not suggesting you run out and add Apple or Nike to your list. But do add brands where you feel you can make a significant difference. Look for brands where you can create outstanding, award winning, industry moving results. Look for that plucky prospect that will let you have the freedom to really innovate, try new technology, new strategies, new skills. Look for something new that can transform your agency into that quality brand that really stands out.
3: Layer your prospect messaging
Most of us can only comprehend a tiny bit of new information at a time. And most marketing firms try to shove everything they could do, can do, have ever done, at prospects all at once. Often at the first contact. The poor befuddled prospect will run away feeling overwhelmed, with nothing tangible to focus on. They have more important things to do rather than sort through your wall of “very important information” to see if anything fits. Layer your messages appropriately, starting with high-level facts and work down to personal, useful information over time. This means you need to think about the prospect and make sure to shape what you send based on their interest level. In other words, match your prospect’s interest level and time constraints.
4. Automate as much as you can.
Use software to automate as many new business processes as possible. Prospects are being inundated with marketing messages. One key to standing out is to keep up a steady, consistent, outreach program with high value thinking. The more tailored to your prospect’s needs the better. Sending updates about your agency’s latest lunch is of no interest to anyone. But this all takes time. So select a few industries, or markets, or even a hobby, and create an automated system to push that information out. There are many low-cost online tools and software that save you time by automating outreach. Just never forget the all important human touch: never let automation take over all your outreach activities. Follow up with handwritten notes, personal calls, or even a casual visit.
5. Identify prospects with a need.
Be on the lookout for brands that demonstrate waste, overspend, or missed opportunities. Find prospects who are investing heavily in pay-per-click or newspapers, for example. Look for a prospect that may not be getting the best return on their investment. Once you have identified a prospect with a unique need, or issue, reach out. Let them know you’re interested in them, and that you’ve identified a potential problem that you may, just possibly, be able to help. Prospects who are serious about marketing love to get a heads up call when things start to go off track. If nothing else, you’ve separated your agency from all the noise and generated a bit of good will. You may not win this opportunity, but you will move from “unknown” to “a friend.” And this new relationship will help you win down the road.
6. Always look for the fast close.
Experience has shown us the folly of letting good prospects drift into a) doing nothing as new issues come up and capture their attention, or b) drift into doing a formal review to change agencies as you do nothing but watch. You have to find a way for prospects to select you, to engage your firm in an easy first step. Your new business team should be trained on how to press for needs, discover the opportunity, identify the scope, and create some urgency. And most importantly, understand how to return with an action plan. Quickly. You must return with solutions to their needs within 48 hours if you want any chance of closing this deal. Let the process drag on for too long, and then more agencies or distractions will only block your efforts.
There are many, many growth opportunities out there. Sitting around and waiting for leads to come in is a luxury few agency leaders can afford – so go forth and create a winning new business system. How to organize for new business is one of those key decisions that can make or break an agency. As experts in agency growth we are always looking new ways to help marketing firms of all stripes find new directions for growth. If you would like to learn more just give us a call at 412.897.9329 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published Mar 20, 2014 3:52:42 AM, updated July 28 2017