Author Archive

Marissa Martin

As Senior Marketing Manager of Catapult New Business, Marissa leads our agencies' proactive marketing efforts by ensuring that they are creating content and processes that drive new business revenue.

Winning Your Next RFP: Get on the Brand’s Winning Shortlist

Winning Your Next RFP

Many times when a brand releases a Request For Proposal (RFP) to the public, they already know who will win their business. This often-overlooked fact will keep you from getting on their shortlist. 

Brands come up with an RFP after conversations are started around problems they’ve experienced internally. They’ve already talked to agencies, and these conversations are much less formal than a pitch, giving those agencies who started these talks early a winning chance before you even see the RFP. 

So how can you get on the brand’s shortlist before an RFP is released? It takes months of build-up to get in front of the RFP process, but with a proactive and consistent approach, you can save resources and turn out a higher win rate for your RFPs. 

Before going into another pitch, it’s a worthy exercise to answer these three questions first:

  • Which RFPs do I have a right to win?
  • What can I do to get in front of brands before the RFP goes to bid?
  • Is there a way to win the bid before the RFP is out?

You can watch the webinar here or keep reading to learn more. 

Which RFPs do I have a right to win?

The first question you need to ask is whether you fit the profile the brand is looking for. Many RFPs include specific employee numbers to gauge size or capabilities along with questions around vertical or industry expertise. Before jumping in and dedicating the time and resources it takes to submit an RFP, make sure there is a real problem you can solve first.

Brands are doing their own research:

  • 85% are conducting their own research before contacting a potential agency partner.
  • 85% seek industry experience.
  • 78% investigate 5-10 agencies before compiling a shortlist.
  • 67% look at case studies.

You have a Right to Win when you can meet the capabilities, staffing needs, and expertise in a given area. Draw those boundaries firmly and stick to them. You will improve your win rate just by doing this. 

What can I do to get in front of brands before the RFP goes to bid?

To get in front of the line, you have to meet brands when they are in problem-solution mode. This is when they know there is a problem within their brand and have clearly identified this, but have not framed out a solution for it. That is when you want to start conversations so when the brand does go to RFP, you’re in the room to pitch or you’ve been hand-picked and the RFP is simply a formality to winning the business. 

Think of the day brand marketers have – jumping from one meeting to another while balancing their day-to-day workload and addressing problems the company is facing across all departments, from digital transformations to the next TikTok trend. In between all of this, wouldn’t you want to talk to an agency that is proactively coming up with solutions to your problems?

A proactive approach to new business development will look different from the response-based approach. In an RFP pitch, you can expect the solution to be clearly articulated, but when you’re proactively having conversations your first meetings are intended to uncover problems the marketing team is facing. From here, you can begin to create the outline of a solution and share this with them when the timing is right.

Is there a way to win the bid before the RFP is out?

The short answer is yes, absolutely! But it will not happen overnight. A successful new business development director will understand how to navigate the sales process while maintaining a positive relationship. Because ultimately, they will know that timing is the biggest factor in closing a new deal than any other metric.

How many times have you lost a pitch and heard the client share that they liked your ideas but had to go with someone else? Many people would call this a loss, but it’s an opportunity to keep a door open. Whether that door is opened because you lost an initial pitch or through other avenues, there is always a chance to win another deal when the timing is more suited. So how do you keep up with the brand over time?

A sales leader should keep in touch with the brand in an authentic way, and continue to learn about the problems they are facing. This consistency will keep you in the loop when the next RFP goes to bid, and when it does, they will have you in mind when creating the specific criteria needed to win. 

Get more insights like this from Catapult and Winmo in this webinar where we share Secrets to Beating the RFP Process.

Getting Started With Lists

 

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On-Demand Webinar: Secrets to Beating the RFP Process

Secrets to beating the RFP process

Many times when a brand releases a Request For Proposal (RFP) to the public, they already know who will win their business. Brands come up with an RFP after conversations are already started around problems they’re experiencing internally, and have talked to agencies about that problem. These initial conversations are much less formal than a pitch but can lead to the RFP process. So how can you get on the brand’s shortlist before an RFP is released?

It takes months of build-up to get in front of the RFP process, but with a proactive and consistent approach, you can save resources and turn out a higher win rate for your RFPs.

In this webinar, Catapult and Winmo share strategies and tactics to beat the RFP process.
The following questions are discussed:

Which RFPs do I have a right to win?
What can I do to get in front of brands before the RFP goes to bid?
Is there a way to win the bid before the RFP is out?

These questions are answered during the recording, but you can submit your questions through the chat and the Catapult team will be able to respond in real-time.

Getting Started With Lists

 

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The Discovery Call: Your Chance to Uncover An Exclusive Opportunity

The Discovery Call: Your Chance to Uncover An Exclusive Opportunity

A discovery call is the first of many conversations and can be defined as a time to uncover where your prospect is in their buying journey. Before guiding the conversation toward services or capabilities, you need to first meet them where they are.

On a successful discovery call, the prospect asks 8-10 questions on average. With about 30 minutes scheduled, what do you do with the rest of the time to make sure the call is successful?

What Makes a Discovery Call Successful?

A great discovery call will allow the prospect to do most of the talking, provide you with insights needed to navigate the deal further down your pipeline, and open the conversation up for those opportunities. In the end, you want the prospect to ask for a follow-up conversation. Getting that meeting scheduled before hanging up the call is the best scenario you could have. The whole goal is to get to that next meeting, but the first objective is to figure out if this is a fit, not just for the prospect, but for you as well. If it’s not, don’t be afraid to be honest about that.

Before going into your next discovery call, prepare yourself for the questions that you want to ask, but more importantly, be prepared to answer their questions. It’s hard to know exactly what will get asked, but you can anticipate these through preparation.

These are the top questions Catapult receives from agencies who are scheduling a discovery call for the first time:

  • What is the difference between meetings with inbound vs outbound leads?
  • How do I prepare the team before meeting with a prospect?
  • How can I use Winmo to prepare for these calls?

Eric Brown
VP Client Engagement at Catapult

“These are important foundational questions because not only does it make you think about your overall strategy for the call, it’s also giving your team a method to assess what kind of information you want to pull out of your prospect. Prioritizing what you need from this first call and helping the team prepare will really ensure you ace it.”

What is the difference between meetings with inbound vs outbound leads?

There is a big difference between inbound and outbound leads. Think of it as warm vs cold. Inbound is coming in through a relationship referral, your website, or they’ve reached out and connected with you because they want to hear more regarding your capabilities. There is already a specific need or project in place, and the conversation revolves around that.

An outbound lead is a conversation that you asked for, and the client likely won’t have a specific project or criteria defined. That presents a challenge when you’re wanting to win new business because it’s not as simple as sharing your capabilities deck. You have to uncover a problem that they have not yet acted on. So the main difference is that there isn’t a project or Agency of Record need to be scoped out yet.

How do I prepare the team before meeting with a prospect?

The first rule of a discovery call: don’t share your capabilities deck. If you’re in the habit of jumping on a discovery call and immediately sharing your screen and walking through all your capabilities and background on your agency, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Is this the best way to connect with the person on the other side and understand the pain points they’re experiencing?

The short answer is no. So how do you prepare for the unknown? You do this by researching the brand and prospect. This will allow you to uncover their pain points slowly without hard selling your services. These are a few places to start your research:

  • LinkedIn connections and posts.
  • News articles and industry updates.
  • Data around media spend, revenue, ad targeting, etc.

Knowing what is impacting the company and what they’re doing in the market now will help you anticipate some of those questions you’ll get asked. Oftentimes you are not the only one on the call though from your agency.

Preparing team members for the call takes some extra time, but it always pays off. In these cases, creating a meeting brief with the information above organized and call details added will help everyone get on the same page. In the brief, you should try answering these kinds of questions:

  • Has the brand launched a new product or service recently?
  • Is there new funding or shifts in their marketing budgets?
  • What kind of influence will the attendees on the call have?
  • Does the agency experience match the brands’ niche?

How can I use Winmo to prepare for these calls?

Winmo is an incredibly powerful tool, there are a ton of insights and a wealth of data that will help prepare the team before a discovery call. These are some of the key features Catapult uses to prepare a brief for its clients.

Carolina Gastley
VP of Client Services

“I look at the company page pretty regularly. The information here shows me where the company stands, and I make sure that I know what additional products or brands the company might have under its portfolio. I also look at who their current agency partners are and what services they might already offer to the brand. The most important place I look at though is revenue and media spend to make sure their spending level aligns with my goals. Making sure this relationship is the right prospect fit based on what kind of revenue they’re working with is just as important.”


Andrew Orlando
Director of Client Engagement

“WindmoEdge is a really nice tool. This is company news that focuses on marketing spend, CMO shifts, and campaigns. This tells me what’s going on, whether they got a round of funding or they acquired a brand. You never want to get caught on a prospect call and hear them share the news that’s already happened. You might hear something like ‘I’m not sure if you saw that in the news’ and that shows you were not prepared, so don’t be that person. You want to be on top of it and know what’s going on with the brand that you’re speaking with.”

 

You never want to be surprised. You want to be a leader, guiding the conversation. Ask questions that you already know the answers to because you’ve done that research ahead of time. It’s an informed question that shows your competency and really brings value to that conversation in their mind.

Hear more from Catapult in this webinar where we share best practices on not just knowing when the call was successful for you and the prospect, but how to keep the conversation going long after the call has ended.

Getting Started With Lists

 

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On-Demand Webinar: You got the meeting. Now What?

You Got The Meeting. Now What?

A discovery call is the first of many conversations and can be defined as a time to uncover where they are in their buying journey. Before guiding the conversation toward services or capabilities, you need to first meet them where they are.

On a successful discovery call, the prospect asks 8-10 questions on average. With about 30 minutes scheduled, what do you do with the rest of the time to make sure the call is successful?

A great discovery call will allow the prospect to do most of the talking, provide you with insights needed to navigate the deal further down your pipeline, and open the conversation up for those opportunities. In the end, you want the prospect to ask for a follow-up conversation. 

In this webinar, Catapult shares best practices on not just knowing when the call was successful for you and the prospect, but how to keep the conversation going long after the call has ended.

 

Join this webinar to learn:

What is the difference between meetings with inbound vs outbound leads?
How do I prepare the team before meeting with a prospect?
How can I use Winmo to prepare for these calls?

These questions are answered during the recording, but you can submit your questions through the chat and the Catapult team will be able to respond in real-time.

Getting Started With Lists

 

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Q&A: How Do I Get More Meetings Through Proactive Outreach?

How Do I Get More Meetings Through Proactive Outreach?

Research shows that brands are looking at not only capabilities but industry expertise and case studies before compiling a shortlist of agencies to work with. To be in the best position to win new clients, agencies need to find their Right to Win. Before pulling your next prospecting list, identify who will put you on their shortlist and set yourself up for better opportunities to win.

By answering these three questions, you will see more success from your new business development efforts:

  • What is your Right to Win?
  • How do you qualify your Right to Win?
  • How do I find my Right to Win in Winmo?

What is your Right to Win?

Right to Win really means that you can easily prove to a prospect why they would choose you over a competitor. That you can easily prove your value to them. This may come from the capabilities of your agency or the talent and backgrounds on your team. Identifying your right to win is important before pulling a prospect list because you want to make sure that you’re making the most of your business development efforts, as well as making sure that you’re putting yourself and your business in the best possible position to succeed when you’re going into a meeting.

It comes down to making the most of your time and putting your efforts into the right place. If you don’t start with that foundation, you can meet and pitch your business to clients who won’t see the value in working with you. And ultimately, you won’t be able to win that business. Hence the term “Right to Win”.

How do you qualify your Right to Win?

When brands are looking for a partner, a lot look at case studies, which ties into your industry experience and the work that you’ve done. Those are two big factors. Brands are doing the research before even meeting with you. So if you put yourself in the shoes of the prospect and you go to your website, would you want to meet with yourself? You have to ask those kinds of questions.

Research shows that brands are looking at information like this when considering whether or not to work with you:

  • 85% of prospects are conducting their own research before contacting a potential agency partner.
  • 85% seek industry experience.
  • 78% investigate 5-10 agencies before compiling a shortlist.
  • 67% look at case studies.

How do I find my Right to Win?

Using a sales prospecting tool is the best way to efficiently and effectively identify those Right to Win accounts. Not all data is created equal though. When evaluating sales prospecting tools, you will want to know how they are sourcing their data, what types of industries and companies you will find, and what other data points you will have access to.

Some teams choose to take an account-based approach, and that will affect which contact data provider you choose. For this, you’ll want a data provider that connects the dots between brands, agencies, and executives – knowing the entire buying committee is key. Supplementing this data with insights will also help narrow down the right target accounts to include.

Winmo allows you to do this, and there are a few favorite features the Catapult team uses regularly for prospecting.

Megan Gehrich, Business Development Director

“In Winmo, each contact page has their profile, but when you download a list you can find each contact’s LinkedIn URL. This makes it really easy to write a personalized email. It’s a feature you can use every day to save time and make targeted outreach a lot easier.”

 

Andrew Orlando, Director of Client Engagement

“Looking at prospect indicators is another Winmo-favorite. Insights including planning and buying periods, accounts that are getting funded, and more give peaks behind the curtain that are so valuable for targeted prospecting.”

 

 

In this webinar, Catapult and Winmo share the first steps to take before prospecting and pitching your capabilities to brands. You will walk away from this webinar with a strategy and an action plan. Winmo demonstrates how to pull a prospecting list using the steps outlined in order to have the best chance at winning your next client.

Getting Started With Lists

 

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On Demand Webinar: Getting Started With Lists

Getting Started with Lists Webinar

Research shows that brands are not only looking at capabilities but industry expertise and case studies before compiling a shortlist of agencies to work with. To be in the best position to win new clients, agencies need to find their Right to Win. 

In this webinar, Catapult and Winmo share the first steps to take before prospecting and pitching your capabilities to brands. You will walk away from this webinar with a strategy and an action plan. Winmo demonstrates how to pull a prospecting list using the steps outlined in order to have the best chance at winning your next client. 

These questions are answered during the recording, but you can submit your questions through the chat and the Catapult team will be able to respond in real-time. 

Questions answered in this webinar include:

What is your Right to Win?
How do you qualify your Right to Win?
How do I find my Right to Win in Winmo?

Getting Started With Lists

 

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5 key points to warm up your cold emails

5 Key Points to Warm Up your Cold Emails

Most people shy away from sending cold emails to strangers because it feels a little spammy, and it can feel awkward at first. This is a crucial component in an outbound program though, and if you learn how to take a cold stranger and turn that relationship into a client, then there really isn’t anything you can’t take on. One challenge we consistently see is getting started with outbound. Whether you’re new to this process or a veteran, we have some key points that will give your cold emails a personal feel.

Crafting an engaging outbound email always starts with understanding who you’re emailing and what value you can bring to them. We’ve drafted thousands of emails for our clients, our sales directors, and for our internal teams, and you’ll never feel like you’re spamming someone if you take the time to understand them first, making the first step in our list of best practices for cold emailing:

  1. Understanding your prospect

Matt Chollet talks about the importance of expanding and segmenting your target audience, and the key takeaway from his article is to realize the size of your prospect list and where you have direct experience (either by vertical/industry or capability). If you’re doing targeted, personalized outreach, a smaller list size (under 500 prospects) makes sense, and you’ll want to employ a niche audience that targets the key decision makers in a personalized way. However, if you’re needing something more efficient yet effective, you’ll want to start with a list size at about 1,000 prospects, including both decision makers and influencers. So when identifying your prospect’s needs it will have to be broad and relevant to multiple people within a company.

These prospects should include companies you have a Right to Win. What business problem do you help your client’s solve? What will happen if they don’t solve this problem? How do I show that I’ve solved this problem for other companies? These questions are crucial to ask before doing any kind of cold prospecting, but once you’ve answered them, you’re ready to craft your first mass email.

The subject line is the first thing prospects will see, but don’t overthink it. What we’ve found is that less sales-y, more “boring” subject lines typically receive higher engagement and responses, and really, people just want to know what you want from them and why they should care to listen. A few high performing examples from Catapult’s vault:

  • Interested in an agency partnership? (30% opens)
  • {firstName} – Quick Call? (36% opens)
  • Re: [name of well known brand and campaign] video (71% opens)

Each subject line above told the recipient what they could expect from opening the email. Bringing us to the next step, writing your email copy.

  1. Begin with the trigger

A majority of high performing emails we’ve drafted have a solid trigger that answered the question what problem or challenge keeps our prospects from hitting their desired results? And then tied this answer back into how their agency can solve this problem, using it as a value proposition statement in an email.

Here is an example of how we did this for a northeastern agency who wanted to find an opportunity to partner with another agency.

  • Audience: Agencies
  • Trigger: Bandwidth to complete a client’s project on time and within budget
  • Subject Line: Interested in an agency partnership? (30% opens)
  • Value Statement: We collaborate with agencies like yours to supplement their team, offer new capabilities for their clients or to just help on one-off projects with a tight turnaround.

Sometimes our clients just have stellar work that can do most of the heavy lifting, so in these cases, we’ll tee up the trigger and back up our value with results rather than a statement. This is an example of an agency that had a compelling case study with a very well known brand that shows results instead of using a value statement.

  • Audience: Consumer Packaged Goods
  • Trigger: The need for engagement from advertising campaigns, not just impressions
  • Subject Line: Re: [name of well known brand and campaign] video (71% opens)
  • Value Statement: I’m with [Agency], and we’ve worked with brands like [brand names] to help bridge the gap between a brand’s story and engagement. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t come down to how many impressions you received, it’s about how many people paid attention. We have some exceptional work we can share with you, including [brand name]. Highlights from this campaign: [show results]
  1. Give them proof to believe in what you’re selling

There are several tactics we can take in an email as long as we know our prospect’s trigger, the value you bring, and lastly, we have proof. This “proof” should demonstrate value, and can take the form of a blog, a whitepaper, case study, or webinar. Basically, it’s content and it should not only provide value at each stage of your prospect’s decision making journey, but show your prospect’s they have a reason to believe in what you’re selling.

Using content in an outbound program is a little different than how we’d use it in an inbound program. This is because we’re using content as a tool to validate what we’re selling. So how do you tee up this content in your email? Something as simple as “You can check out our work here, and when you have a moment, I’d like to find a time to connect” can get you a 5% click through rate.

We see a lot of our clients trip up over these simple phrases because as a marketer we’re used to seeing a CTA button, driving a prospect back to your website and (fingers crossed) completing a form to tell us that they want our solution. In outbound, we want a conversation with you to be the first step in finding their solution, and cut out all the extra steps. You’re the resource, not your website.

  1. Make them want more

Ultimately, these emails are just one touch point along your prospect’s buying journey, and you always need to plan for what happens after you get a response. We’ve used a couple of different tactics in our emails to help lead to that next conversation.

Using a line like this can help position you as a resource vs a salesperson: “I’ve outlined [topic of content], which touches on what we’ve seen companies face over and over, [the trigger]. When you’re ready [to do some of the things I mentioned in my content], I would like the opportunity to share some of our best practices and processes.”

This puts you in a position to talk about how you can help them achieve their results by doing the solution you’ve prescribed, and takes the value from that content one step further, putting you as a resource. Once you’ve offered something of value, then you’re ready for the ask.

  1. The Ask

In an outbound email, the ask is an important line that is relatively simple yet so many emails fall short. You should still find a way in this last line to demonstrate that you’re here to provide value. Sometimes, this can be as simple as asking, “would you find value in having a conversation about [agency capabilities]?”.

At the end of the day, who would want to take time out of their day unless it benefits themselves somehow? A few key takeaways for your ask:

  • Never assume your prospect has time for you “next week,” “on a specific date,” or “tomorrow”. The initial ask for their availability should be a little more open ended. Once you’ve received a response indicating some interest on their end, you can give them a specific time.
  • Always try to let your prospect know what they can expect from talking with you. What will you provide in this meeting that the prospect will find valuable?
  • Don’t be too pushy. This first conversation is an introduction, and not just for your prospect, but for you too. You have no idea who this person is and how their team operates. They might actually turn out to be a bad fit for your agency.
  • But don’t be too shy either. You can absolutely ask pointed questions about their pain points, and offer to have a quick conversation about your solution. Don’t leave your prospect questioning what happens next?

Based on the stats we’ve seen, outbound emails can vastly outperform a marketing, opted-in email any day. According to Mail Chimp the average open rate for opted-in email marketing campaigns are between 20-22%, and click through rates are around 2%.

At Catapult New Business, our team uses a method to break through a crowded inbox and generate conversations with cold prospects. Christian Banach, Catapult’s Group Account Director, discusses how to craft a personalized, cold email in an earlier post. But if you’re like many of our clients, you wear multiple hats, and you don’t have the same amount of time as a dedicated new business director to craft personalized emails for each individual on your prospect list.

There are still effective approaches to sending mass, cold emails that receive engagement and responses from your prospects, saving you time and getting you one step closer to winning new business. We send thousands of emails through multiple marketing and sales automation platforms from SalesLoft to Act-On and HubSpot. If you’d like to add outbound as part of your new business mix, having a partner who understands the nuances of running this program can help you succeed.

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