Generally speaking, agencies fall woefully short when it comes to prospecting for new business.
And although there are always certain case-by-case factors at work, in our experience, agencies’ inadequacies with new business largely come down to two things: limited resources and ad hoc sales strategies.
Sound familiar? If so, we highly recommend reassessing your entire business development strategy. Also, if you are not already doing this, start supplementing reactive prospecting with proactive business development as soon as possible. Of course, this is always easier said than done, especially if you don’t have expert guidance on where to start.
We know firsthand how overwhelming this process can be for agencies. For that reason, we’ve provided a list of strategic elements our own business development advisors and agency clients have used with great success.
Make sure your agency has clearly defined and compelling positioning
Many prospects and clients operate under the perception that all agencies are alike; the only real difference being the people they will work with.
Because of this, it’s important for you to communicate differentiated value in order to position your agency as the stand out candidate in the minds of prospective customers. Also, make sure that your “elevator speech” clearly speaks to the agency’s core competencies in a few simple sentences.
Develop a consistent, ongoing prospect outreach program and stick to it
If you do this right the first time, this strategy will be a sustainable and scalable framework for proactive business development in the long-term. Many agencies don’t have anything like this, choosing instead to be reactive and wait for new business opportunities to come knocking on their door.
An effective prospect outreach program should be consistent and involve multiple strategies and a variety of touch points – i.e. e-mail marketing, event marketing, telemarketing, attending conferences and events, etc.
Only present relevant case studies to prospects
Want to know the quickest way to undermine or discount your agency’s results? Send a random case study that is completely irrelevant to a prospective client’s industry or business objectives.
Be sure that every case study presented in a sales pitch or RFP response showcases results that are relevant to that prospect’s industry, pain points and marketing goals. This will enhance your ability to engage the prospect.
Use the sales funnel as a road map for your prospecting strategy
In order to build an effective new business pipeline you have to reach out to enough prospects on the front end to give you the best chance to “win” on the back end. That way, as you nurture leads down the funnel you have a solid base of prospects to pull from at all times.
Your outreach strategy should be targeted to top prospects in priority vertical categories. Remember, only a small percentage of the prospects you reach out to will turn into meetings and clients.
Befriend the Admin!
Administrative assistants can be your best friends. If you cannot reach the top decision maker in your outreach efforts, make it a priority to reach out to the admin to develop a relationship and ask for their help in scheduling a call or meeting. Befriending the admin can lead to enhanced new business success!