I believe in a three P process to develop an effective New Business Process for your agency.
Plan. Promote. Pursue.
The first P is Plan which most agencies don’t do.
The second P in developing an effective new business plan is promoting your agency. Most agencies still recite the clobber’s children story as if it was a badge of honor. It isn’t.
The third P of developing an effective New Business Plan is pursuit.
This is a land of danger because a lot of time can be wasted in pursuing the wrong prospects. Many agencies overstretch their capabilities. The shark biting frenzy of New Business can turn the process into a froth of inefficiency. That happens when too many people get involved in the process and chase passion versus high probability.
Here is something else that you should know. There is no person with a Magical Rolodex wanting to work for your agency for a base and high commission. Total myth. If there was such a Svengali they would be working for themselves.
Effective New Business requires a long run way. Patience. New Business is a lonely pursuit. It is a game of rejection and often silence. You can reach out to literally hundreds of people with no response.
Agencies acquire New Business at the intersection of awareness or a relationship with a client and a pain point that surfaces for the client. That’s when you get the call. But you need to have created that relationship first.
When the client’s pain point is starting to boil they may start saving your emails or your materials but if there is no pot on the stove you are an automatic delete. I have done Podcasts with clients who tell me that they never listen to their landline. Never. They let their mail box get filled and then they leave it that way.
So how do you develop that relationship? The best ambassadors for your agency are your principals. Simple as that. They are the face of our brand. Not your 23 year old AE. Agency principals need to be committed to attending networking events, Industry Conferences, and having their own personal networking plan where they are building relationships with influencers in their experience set. Takes time.
One of the things that I have learned from conducting agency reviews is that Chemistry, Sweat Equity and Experience wins New Business and Experience is by far the biggest trump card. Few clients are willing to step out of the box. I once had an agency submit their credentials with a rationale that they should be considered because they didn’t have a conflict in that vertical. Made perfect sense to the agency but it was ludicrous to the client.
Focus on two to three verticals where you have the greatest strengths.
And last develop a referral network. Stay in touch with former clients on a quarterly basis. Not just a call but a lunch or coffee. It reminds them that they liked working with you. Develop relationships with media buying firms, technology companies, PR agencies, Search shops that aren’t competitive to you.
Keep them engaged by connecting them with people they should know.
So that is how you develop an effective New Business Plan. Plan, Promote and Pursue. Sounds simple and it is not but it is a place to start to give your agency’s New Business process some structure.
I will be back with a surprise fourth P of New Business. The Pitch. Stay tuned.