With the rise of in-house agencies and management consultancies, your prospects have more options as an agency, and you have to work harder than ever to prove your value proposition. Without a process in place that is solely focused on developing new client relationships, how can you best forecast a positive revenue trajectory? Sure, you may get that occasional referral here and there, but other than that, you are just blending in with the crowd.
In 2019, your agency needs to get aggressive with winning the clients you were made to work with! So if you are ready to start going after those clients, the first thing you need to do, after you hire a dedicated person to manage the workload, is identify your agency’s right to win business.
What Is “Right To Win” Business?
Right-to-win business refers to prospects that should have been clients yesterday. They check every box in your list of an ideal client and your agency can confidently say “We are the best at solving your particular problem”. RTWB Is an extrapolation of the client successes that you’ve had within unique segments. These are segments that you can explicitly convey a measure of impact through the SOW and deliverable for your client.
If we can say that we have a “right to win” to your business, then we need to be able to prove it through case studies and past work that is directly applicable to those right to win prospects.
Naturally, there are challenges of accessing the information needed to develop a case study or show success metrics. But this is an essential part of the process and should be built into the program and agreed upon by all controllers of information before the assignment is started. Your ability to prove success is imperative to retaining the client you’re engaged with as well as proving to new prospects that you’re able to deliver.
How You Identify Your Agency’s RTWB
RTWB may be based on a specific industry, like adult beverages, or it could be tied to a niche audience, like moms. The important consideration is to be as specific as possible and thoroughly evaluate how and why your team has expertise and impact with your RTW target. At Catapult, we often concentrate on a specific problem that we solve for our clients better than anyone else, which in turn can be applied across verticals. Understanding your clients’ and prospects’ problems shows that you understand more about them than just what vertical they operate in.
Many agencies believe they know their key categories, but as they begin to do the work, they are unable to clearly convey how or why their smattering of clients fit the definition of RTWB. This is often due to the nature of network-related business or assignments that fall in their lap, dismissing the agency from establishing and investing in a specific expertise, like category.
Yes, there are exceptions, but the majority of marketers want to understand and see evidence of your ability to “be successful” in their category. For a CMO, whose job is on the line based on the partners they select, they need to feel fully confident that you can understand and deliver on their objectives. However, success is a very subjective idea, and you need to make sure it is clearly defined by your prospect, so you and your team can understand and appropriately set expectations.
Need Help Getting Started?
As you begin identifying your RTWB, find answers to these three questions:
- Who have I had the most success with in the past?
- Who do I want to work within the future?
- Where can I honestly say that our agency is superior to other agencies?
If you need a second set of eyes on your agency to help establish your right to win business, contact Catapult. Identifying RTWB for our clients has helped our firm generate over $1B in new business opportunities. We would happy to provide you with any additional value that will make your agency more successful.
Are your business development reps spending the right amount of time on the right targets for agency new business? At many agencies, those tasked with prospecting struggle with how much time to put into email personalization and which prospects are worth the effort. They may also struggle with where to go to get the best information about their prospects.
You need a clear process that focuses your time where it’s most likely to pay off. Sales reps need access to resources and data that will enable their personalization efforts to have the best chance of success.
What can you gain? By personalizing with relevant information and sharing valuable content, your outreach will receive higher open rates, more responses, and position your agency as an expert.
Here’s a closer look at the Three R’s to email personalization at scale.
Step 1: Rank Your Prospects
As seen in this recent piece, ranking your prospects is a crucial element to any agency new business strategy. Ranking lets you focus your efforts proportionally.
Ranking puts your prospects into tiers based on their fit and value to your agency. Each tier gets a different level of research and personalization. Here’s a common approach to tiers:
- Tier 1: Your top ten to twenty most ideal targets accounts for fit and value land here.
- Tier 2: You have a right to win these prospects, but their fit or value is not as strong as the Tier 1 group.
- Tier 3: These prospects generally fall at the edges of your ideal client profile.
Once your ranking work is completed, you have a much clearer perspective on what work needs to be done for which prospects. Your biz dev team will thrive with the clarity and context.
Step 2: Research Your Prospects
Knowing what to research can be challenging, but this can be broken into two components: Information and Resources.
The information you’re looking for are the news, characteristics, or connections that allow you to demonstrate your relevance to the prospect. Here are a few examples of insights to consider in your research:
- Trigger Events– Look for recent happenings with the company or prospect that often bring about change. Examples include a decision-maker who’s on the move, a successful funding round, acquisition, new office opening or relocation, awards, new business win, industry recognition, or a promotion.
- Market Dynamics– These factors consider conditions and forces that are at play for the company, including size, growth, maturity, disruption, competitors.
- Company– Corporate fundamentals are important, so be sure to know the size, revenue, profitability, growth, market share, stock performance, outlook, history, and job postings.
- People– This category goes beyond leadership profiles, but also looks at the stability tenure, attitudes and preferences of those leaders, along with corporate culture and values.
- Strategy– What is the company’s business model? Look at strategic initiatives, priorities, successes, and failures.
- Agency Relationships– Which agencies, if any, does the company have relationships? What are the type, size, and locations of those agencies? Are they working with independent or networked agencies? How long have they had these relationships?
There’s another set of information that’s much more personal for the sales rep and the company:
- Connections– Know if there are any links from your company into theirs via past employment, association memberships or mutual LinkedIn connections.
- History– Understand the complete interaction history with the prospect, including emails, meetings, deals and outcomes.
- Door Openers– Look at personal connections such as university ties, shared hometowns, conference attendance. The connection may be a common one (fan of the same sports teams or bands) or an uncommon one that’s dug up.
This information, when used strategically, will help get the email read and lead to more responses. The question is where to get that information. Here are the resources to consider:
- Company website
- Annual reports
- SEC filings
- Analyst reports
- Investor relations
- Press releases
- Product and technical literature
- Speeches and conferences
- Blog posts
- Industry publications and websites
- Financial press
- Influencers and bloggers
- Social media
- WinmoEdge, which provides industry insights and news
Now that you have your information secured, it’s time to make the pitch.
Step 3: Write to Your Prospects
Armed with your information, the writing needs to be done for each tier. Here are some suggestions:
Tier 1: You need to approach this writing with the mindset that it’s your right to the prospect’s business and your job to figure out how to get it. The content should be highly personalized and creative so it grabs your prospect’s attention.
Meet with your team and create an account plan that examines their business, identifies ways you can impact their company and what content (case study, white paper, video, work examples) will be most relevant.
It’s interesting to note that Hubspot research confirms that email personalization leads to better response rates … to a point. After more than 50 percent of the template is changed, the impact on response rates is negligible. As such, group prospects around a shared attribute so templates can be created as starting points.
Tier 2: Personalization still matters in this tier, but you don’t need to do as much, generally spending about 5 minutes per account. Each of these prospects also receives personalization but not to the same degree as Tier 1 prospects. Less research is sufficient and should be embedded at the beginning and end of the email with the remainder of content templated.
A little can go a long way. A SalesLoft study of 6 million sales emails showed that personalizing just 20 percent of email content increased open rates by more than 40 percent and reply rates by 112 percent compared to those with no email personalization.
Tier 3: You will not provide the same level of personalization but use templated content that’s customized to the prospect’s industry, persona or problem/challenge the industry typically faces. Include basic email personalization such as name and company. This catch-all approach does not require or merit high touch and personalization.
Maximizing Agency New Business with Email Personalization
Whatever the level of personalization or customization, every touchpoint should add value back to the prospect. The content you share needs to be so valuable that a dream client should want to pay for it. It needs to play off of the challenges you identify and tie them to your agency’s unique point of view.
The Three R’s (Rank, Research, Write) help to optimize your prospecting by providing the appropriate levels of research, personalization, and scale. Your prospecting volume will be balanced, and your work focused proportionally. What’s more, your sales reps will feel empowered and be more successful.
The Three R’s are powerful for your agency not just in the business they’ll help you win. They also empower your business development reps to create compelling, relevant messages. By scaling your email personalization, your agency gets more meetings, more opportunities and more business won from your most sought-after clients.
As a new business professional, success lies in taking action, doing more than presiding, and empowering others around you to work as effective teams. Each week is an opportunity to make progress and build lasting relationships with prospects, clients, and partners while finding transformative business opportunities for your clients.
This insightful webinar lead by the Managing Director of Huge, Matt Weiss, explains the journey to success within the new business space is not one that comes free of many challenges both professionally and mentally. There is a reason that only 21% of New Business Directors last with a company for three or more years.
After watching the webinar, I have learned that if you seek to pursue a long, impactful and successful career in agency new business, you should direct your focus towards these four tactics:
- Find the center of the organization- Within any large organization, there are all kinds of people at all different levels, and each of them has a different agenda. Your job in business development is to find the center of your prospects organizations. Why? Because the center is what drives direction.There are two types of centers to identify, one being the leadership center and the other being the cultural center. At the center of leadership, you will be able to clearly identify the organization’s vision and overall mission. At the center of culture, you will be able to understand the atmosphere and the people who make up the organization as a whole.
If you find these two elements before pitching to a company, you will be able to appeal to the decision makers and their agendas, in which they are actually trying to accomplish, whether they verbally mentioned it to you or not.
- Develop true grit- New business is one of the most difficult and grueling positions to hold within the agency sphere. Typically, the teams aren’t large, and they are a cost center for the company. The expectations are high, and the pressure is on at all times. You will have many moments in which you feel you can’t get the job done.In those moments, you must think of people like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood in just about every movie they’ve ever been in. No matter who they were playing, they demonstrated the ability to get the job done, regardless of the odds. In those moments where you feel overwhelmed, remember to breath, prioritize and know confidently that you will get through the day.
Also keep in mind that new business is a long-distance race, not a sprint. Those who try to sprint through it will burn out in a few months, and those who treat it like a long distance race see substantial success and build stamina along the way.
- Stop selling, start helping- The first deadly sin of new business is selling. Your instincts naturally compel you to sell your agency’s services because, well, it’s your job! But the truth is everyone HATES sales. Think about the last time you visited a car dealership. If your experiences have been anything like mine, you were immediately swarmed by salespeople, and the one you landed with was extra pushy. So pushy that you left because you were incredibly uncomfortable.Your sales tactics shouldn’t repel your prospects, but rather, attract them and add tremendous value to them. So change your mindset from selling to helping. Change your pitch to show how your agency will help the company grow, transform their offerings, master a skill set they don’t have, solve a problem, or even beat the competition. How does working with you solve their problems? Agencies who can answer this question, without selling the answer, win.
- Make the pitch process fun- The decision makers you are meeting with at the pitch have day jobs, and they are attending the pitch as their night job. To them, while the pitch is necessary, it’s also taking time from other, more pressing matters. What they are not expecting from you is a fun experience. So make one. Keep it light, make everyone in the room feel good about themselves, bring your culture with you, and most importantly, add value. At the end of the day, people work with those who they want to be around.New business is a tough business. Our job is to be coaches and help our teams and clients be as good as they can possibly be. There is no way to avoid the blood, sweat, and tears that come with the profession. However, if you start each of your prospecting efforts by identifying both the of the organization’s leadership and cultural centers, have grit, offer continuous value, and make the pitch process fun for your audiences, you will have a long and fulfilling existence career-wise.
If your agency lacks the bandwidth, resources, or knowledge that is required for a sustainable new business process, Catapult can help. Having generated over $1 billion in new business opportunities for our clients, we provide you with the proper training, tools, and resources that deliver revenue growth. Give us a call today for more information.
It’s Q4, and many agencies are strategically trying to plan out their new business efforts for 2019 while brands are thinking about their marketing plans. This year, like every year before, we have seen massive changes across the entire marcom industry. From rapid technology advancements shaping the digital landscape to consumers taking more and more control over user experience, we all stuck asking “what’s next?”
Are you finding lead generation to be a frustrating part of your work as an agency principal? If so, you’re not alone. Many agencies are struggling to find enough leads to fill their pipelines. What’s more, many of those leads – especially from inbound marketing efforts – are unqualified. Agency new business is critical to success, yet without strategic approaches, your bottom line suffers.
For you and your business development team, the lack of leads and the poor quality of those leads can result in desperation and frustration. If there’s no consistent methodology and strategy in place for outbound sales leads, your agency will flounder.
However, agencies can take a cue from a time-honored activity to develop a new, balanced and strategic tack when it comes to outbound: fishing.
For centuries, fishermen have understood that you need different types of approaches to be successful. Each method has its advantages and challenges. There’s no one best method for landing a catch. In some cases, hand-to-hand spearfishing is the smart choice. At other times, trawling – casting a big net – will get you the best results.
To be a successful fisherman, you need to identify the types of fish, quantities of fish, and approaches that are going to secure the haul you’re seeking. You need to know which method works best and create a plan for the fish you want to bring in. The same is true in your approach to agency new business.
Using Account-Based Sales for Agency New Business
Your sales reps are likely struggling to find the balance between scale and personalization in their outbound approaches. Do they spend their time crafting highly personalized emails or should they rely on more general templated emails that can reach more prospects?
Account-Based Sales (ABS) takes a strategic approach to how your team spends their time. It’s a sophisticated, strategic approach to agency new business that uses a combination of outbound activities that include personalized, multi-channel, and multi-threaded messages.
ABS creates a layered approach to your fishing activities that results in reps spending their time on activities that are designed to target different types of accounts.
At its heart, ABS uses tiers that each have their own outreach strategy. Not all accounts are the same. Organizing them into tiers, based on how valuable and viable they are to your firm, helps determine how much research to do and how much personalization each account gets.
Build the Tiers that Drive Agency New Business Success
When fishing, you need to understand the type of catch you’re after, how long you’ll be out on the water and how much gear you have to get the job done. You’ll also need to base your decisions on how successful you’ve been in catching a particular kind of fish in the past and, finally, how much attention and commitment you have to the type of fishing you’ve decided to take on.
Ranking your accounts is very similar. To determine how many accounts you want to target for each tier within your ABS strategy, you need to have a clear understanding of the following:
- Your expected deal sizes
- The length of the sales cycle
- Your available sales resources
- Your current level of engagement with significant prospects
- The intensiveness of your account-based strategy
Here is a closer look at the tiers you should be using for your agency business development.
Tier 1: Highly Personalized
Your most ideal target prospects belong in this tier. These are the accounts where the opportunity is greatest, and you have a strong right to win the business.
Think of tackling these accounts like spearfishing, which uses sophisticated diving equipment and is often favored for fishermen wanting to zero in on a particular species. Spearfishing is usually most effective in clear water that makes the targets easy to see and follow. It also takes patience, specialized training and equipment, and deep knowledge of the species you’re after.
In ABS, Tier 1 accounts are often considered a “market of one,” and require deep research and planning. With clear insights about the target’s business and needs, your interactions can be personalized and customized for the account and, ideally, the person being approached.
Tier 2: Personalized
While requiring a lighter approach to research than Tier 1 accounts, the goal is still to ensure that each outreach is personalized or customized. This is the tier where most of your prospects will fall, where you have a right to win the account.
With a Tier 2 approach, sales reps spend time researching ‘3 things in 3 minutes,’ where they find facts or insights about the industry, company, persona or contact. Sales reps then use those data points in a 10/80/10 approach to emails (10 percent personalization in opening, 80 percent templated content, and 10 percent closing personalization).
Rod-and-reel fishing, known as angling, uses the same approach. Sports fishermen try to find the hook that can be attached to a line and baited in an attempt to lure fish. All these tools are controlled by the fishing rod and reel (akin to the lightly personalized research and emails) that add more line as necessary. While you may not know what kind of fish you’ll catch, you’ll catch more of them than spearfishing with less personalization.
Tier 3: Customized
When fishermen want to cast the widest net, they call it trawling. Boats pull large nets (trawls) through the water. Dragging these nets lets a fishing vessel catch a large number of fish quickly. However, there’s not as much art as in rod-and-reel or spearfishing. You don’t know what you’re going to get and you’re likely to entangle some sea turtles and spare tires along the way.
In Tier 3, the messaging is templated and targeted to the industry or persona. It’s a catch-all approach to see what’s out there. These may be possible clients in the same or similar category as your ideal prospects, but you have less of a right to win the business.
Cast a wide net and see what gets caught. While this may unearth some potentially good clients, it is not typically where you will catch a prize fish and thus not an area where you want to spend much time.
The Impact of ABS on Agency New Business
ABS is all about optimization. You’ll be applying an appropriate level of personalization to the accounts that will have the most impact on your agency. Your sales reps will be able to spend the right time on the right accounts at an appropriate level of engagement.
Your fishing for new business requires the use of multiple techniques to find the right range of accounts, discover what works best, and make adjustments accordingly. Doing so will give you a healthy balance of the types and quality of new accounts.
ABS is a strategic approach that will lead to more clarity of the work that needs to be done, better systems and processes for approaching outbound work, and more confidence and success throughout the agency.
The next step is to plan for your next outbound round. Rank your target prospects and place them into the right tiers. That work will help guide what messages are personalized and customized for each potential account. Decide what fish you’re going for and use the right gear to haul ’em in.
Did you know that almost 50% of all new business efforts fail within the first six months of the year? That is a pretty terrifying statistic, and the truth is, the agencies who make up this number have typically never dedicated the time to create a new business development strategy.
As a marketing agency, you understand how marketing and sales work, but why don’t you apply the same techniques you are using for your clients to fuel your own agency’s growth? Until recently, business development has never received much attention from the agency world. Without a dedicated focus comes a lack of investment in the time and resources needed to build a scalable new business process. Today, we find that many agencies are relying on referrals and are unable to predict revenue growth accurately.
So, if you are like most agencies and have found yourself here, how can you start moving forward and avoid falling back into the statistic above? Having a successful business development strategy starts with having a strong culture that makes new business, everyone’s business.
Here are 5 factors that are crucial for building a culture that promotes new business growth on all fronts.
- Find the right new business person– While every agency requires a specific personality type to mesh with their culture, there are several qualifications you must search for when filling this role. First, they must be a high energy person who can sustain a high outreach plan. Second, they have to be a strong communicator that can adjust their messaging in a moments notice depending on their prospects needs. Finally, this person needs to be process-driven to ensure your new business machine is scalable, repeatable and will never stop running.
- Start from the top– Designate your C-suite with the responsibility of encouraging each team member, at every level, to contribute ideas about what will bring the agency new opportunities. It has to feel like a team sport in the sense that your new business cannot be an individual pursuit. In addition, encourage your C-suite to build a strong network. If they aren’t actively attending events, meeting other industry professionals and referring trusted partners in an effort to pursue new business, your agency is missing out on opportunities.
- Rally the troops– Whether you host a weekly meeting or have a YouTube channel, make sure your entire agency is up-to-speed with what’s happening on the new business front. When your business development rep or pitch team goes off to pursue a new opportunity, wave them out the door with words of affirmation and encouragement. When they return, greet them with excitement and applaud them for their efforts. If they win a new opportunity, make sure the whole agency feels involved and celebrated. If you don’t, you risk losing the opportunity for cultural growth and leave your new business stuck inside its current box.
- React appropriately to wins and losses– For your new business lead, winning is the best feeling in the world. On the flip side, losing is the absolute worst. In the case of a loss, most agency executives focus on picking out what’s wrong with the individuals on the new business team. I challenge you to change this behavior and instead focus on building a culture that says “winning or losing, we are all in this together.”
- Leave a legacy– As an executive, how are you leaving a legacy for your agency? I guarantee that there are people at your agency right now who don’t like sales and want nothing to do with it. They also don’t feel that new business falls on their shoulders. Your culture allows them to think that this is attitude is okay and even assures them that the task isn’t on them. Start building a legacy that puts the weight of new business on every team members shoulders. Whether we are talking about the C-suite, account managers or the pitch team, everyone can be playing an active part in using their network to expand the growth of the agency.
Embedding new business into the culture and DNA of your agency is crucial to your success, and it can only happen if you hire a dedicated person who can make it their sole focus. But as mentioned, you cannot allow this enormous task to fall on this one person’s shoulders alone. As an agency executive, you must hold your entire agency accountable for generating new business, starting with yourself.
From hiring a New Business Director who fits your culture to actually sitting down and thrashing out your business development strategy, there is a lot of work to be done. At Catapult, we understand the incredible impact an agency’s culture can have on the organization as a whole. That’s why when you partner with us, our first step is to explore your exact requirements and provide you with a Sales Director who replicates your ideal characteristics. From there, we build a new business plan and go to market.
If you are ready to embed new business into the fundamental core of your agency, give us a call today to see how we can help get you on the right track.
Any agency owner that has gone through the task of hiring a New Business Director has surely come across the new business pro that touts their “huge” network of opportunities. They claim to have worked with everyone and can easily get your agency in the door with the brands you want just through their sheer charm and extensive array of friends and ex-colleagues.
If you want to use a network to win new business, every agency should start by actually mining their own network first. Most agencies I speak with have a huge cache of network connections that they have not even begun to take advantage of.
Stop scratching the surface of your contacts, stop depending on an outside rainmaker, and start mining away at the connections that have been sitting in front of you the whole time. Here are a few tips to get started
1. Create your Core 100 Network- Sit down and go through a list of every past client, every current client, vendors, industry colleagues, and people from school. It only takes a few minutes to build up to 100 people that can absolutely begin making a difference in the number of referrals you receive over the coming months. Those 100 people need to be put into a personalized communication cadence where you reach out to each person at least once a month, even if just to say “hi”. Sound like a lot? 100 people in 20 days, that’s 5 emails a day…or 15 minutes if it takes 3 minutes per email. Not a lot of time at all.
2. Don’t only track your prospects, track your clients- Set alerts in LinkedIn, Google, and Winmo for all of your current clients. In Winmo’s database, they see one-third of their data points change every 6 months. This means that your current client’s teams are constantly turning over, especially in the lower ranks. Get to know those people and track them. They will eventually leave your current client and land somewhere else, and that’s a much easy intro to that new brand when they have already worked with you.
3. Have a real conversation with your network- This means you don’t just send a monthly newsletter telling everyone about what has happened at your agency. Take the time to reach out to each contact in your Core 100 with a personalized message. It may be as simple as a “hello, how are things”, to a more involved request of an introduction to someone that they know. The idea is though that we are producing real conversations with these contacts by talking to them, rather than talking at them.
To keep your pipeline full of qualified, referral-driven leads, continually stay top of mind with your tightest contacts that have seen and been beneficiaries of your great work.
When it comes to cold calling, the most significant aspect is to be unique. Decision makers get spammed all day with calls and emails. To effectively break through the monotony, you can’t sound like a robot, and you must sound unconventional from the competition. When I write and edit sales scripts these are five steps I begin with to help ensure success:
1. Thank them for picking up.
This step goes a long way to separate you from the pack. People like to feel in control, and when you thank someone, you make them feel the illusion of control without actually giving it up; like pumping their ego. The key with cold calling is you need to be in control. You have very little time, so you need to be steering the direction of the conversation.
In addition, you want to respect or honor their time, so get directly down to business. Regardless of the buying style of your target prospect, you want to prime them to be more open to your request. Thanking them, saying respect/honor or words like that can cause them to want to be more polite and accessible to you on the phone.
2. Avoid hesitation and get to the point.
Decision makers are busy people. Getting to the point keeps you looking professional and once again, indicates that you are respectful of their time. You’re asking for time on their calendar, NOT a sale. That’s key. The first step is to sell the meeting, not your product or services. To do this effectively, avoiding using filler words such as “um” or “like”. These words will only hurt your credibility and show a lack of confidence.
You also have to control your body language. I know what you’re thinking, “this is a phone call, how are they going to see my body language?” The posture you choose while talking on the phone influences the tone of voice that you use while talking on it. Sit up, smile, and act like that person is right in front of you.
3. I always provide a response to their objection.
More times than not, the decision maker will always have some sort of objection, and this is where you have to be on your toes. The key is to fully agree with them. Do NOT say “I understand.” That will spell D-E-A-T-H for your sale.
In this day and age of sales, decision-makers are waiting for you to “understand and deflect.” Agreeing with what they are saying (and if they ask about your competitor, even bring out some of the good parts of their product) shakes everything up and helps to bring the prospect’s guard down by making you look more human and trustworthy. They will not be expecting you to agree with what they are saying.
4. I relate their current problem to one we are solving for an existing client.
Ensure your prospect that they are not the only one facing their current challenge; it will bring them a sigh of relief. Imagine you are struggling with a huge problem, and you don’t know who to talk to, then you talk to a rep, and you are reassured that you’re not the first to have that same issue. There’s a weight that is lifted off your shoulder as you not only realize that your concern is valid, but it is solvable.
Furthermore, you play into their incidental similarities, and they begin to see that they are similar to your clients. These similarities build a solid rapport and can lead your prospect to feel much more comfortable with you.
5. I directly ask for the meeting.
Again, you want control of the situation. Directly asking for a second meeting is a great way to take control of the phone call. It’s also the hardest part for a lot of reps.
Directly asking for the meeting is also a great way to get the prospect to engage with you on further objections they might have. And let me be clear: objections are a good thing. Objections mean that the prospect is engaged and they are thinking about what you are saying; further separating you from the rest of the pack.
Before I end, I want to make one thing clear: When it comes to cold calling, especially the first conversation with a prospect, you are selling the meeting, not the product. Answer the objections and don’t be rude, but always continue to try and move the prospect down the funnel toward a second meeting. Here you will have more time to dive deeper into their objections and how you differentiate yourself from the competition.
Of course, cold calling is just the beginning of the sales process. From the initial call, follow up meetings and the final pitch, many steps go into closing the deal. At Catapult New Business, we manage the entire new business development process on behalf of marketing agencies. If your agency is ready to build a sustainable business development process and see aggressive revenue growth, contact us today.
“We’ve recruited agency new business people for years with limited degrees of success.”
Here at Catapult, we hear this statement more times than not. As the agency owner, naturally you are determined to ensure your business reaches revenue goals and brings in new clients consistently but do you have the right person overseeing your new business efforts? We often find that this critical role is passed to whoever has the extra bandwidth at the time, often your creatives.
Personally, I speak from experience. Straight out of college and having just landed my first job at a full-service marketing firm, I was deemed with the enormous responsibility of handling the marketing for the agency, assisting with the marketing for clients, and managing all of the agency’s new business. Can you see where a problem or two may have occurred with this model?
What I realized first-hand, and what many agency principals are starting to recognize more, is that you can’t put the job of three different roles on one person. If you want to grow your agency’s revenue and enable a successful new business process, don’t let your creatives get overwhelmed with trying to be someone they’re not- a salesperson.
Here are 3 key reasons why you shouldn’t make a creative responsible for new business:
- Business Development requires a particular type of person:
The function of agency new business has been called the “most dangerous job in an agency,” due to the stress and pressure appointed to this critical role. Like any sales role, the job is mentally and emotionally draining, and finding someone who can handle the ups and downs is challenging. When looking for someone to successfully fill this position, search for a hunter- someone who is self-motivated, resilient and quota driven.Creatives, however, don’t develop as much joy from extrinsic motivators such as money, recognition or other rewards. Creatives are driven by intrinsic motivators, meaning they work out of sheer passion regardless of the prize. Placing your creatives in a business development role not only takes away their excitement but keeps them from producing their best possible work for your agency. It’s truly a lose-lose situation for everyone.
- Marketing and business development go hand-in-hand, but they are different.
The most successful agencies are able to understand the difference between sales and marketing, and most importantly, the significant results created when they are combined. In fact, organizations with proper alignment between sales and marketing teams achieve 20% revenue growth on average annually.Your agency’s creatives can play a significant role in the business development process. Creatives can create targeted lead generation campaigns that produce qualified inquiries for your agency. Leveraging channels like PPC, social media, email marketing and direct mail can deliver leads that can then be passed to your new business team to pitch and close.
- There are only so many hours in a day
To my example above, if you have one person managing the marketing for the agency, assisting with the marketing for clients, and managing all of the agency’s new business efforts, there isn’t enough time in a day for these areas to each be executed well. In addition, switching between complex tasks can cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time.Time is money, and if you’re looking to build a successful new business program, you need to have someone 100% dedicated to business development, not someone who can only give it ⅓ of their focus.
While creatives shouldn’t be running your new business program, they can absolutely contribute in their own way. Creatives are on the front lines of your agency work every day; let them help explain the value. Pull them in on prospect calls occasionally to help win over prospects farther in the funnel. Aside from the occasional tag-team, understand that creative work is what they know and love. Keep them in their lane – creating phenomenal campaigns for your clients.
Are you throwing new business work on the shoulders of your creatives? Learn more about how you can put your creatives back to doing what they do best while Catapult New Business builds and maintain a consistent new business program for your agency.
Your agency’s new business program needs a repeatable, scalable, and importantly, personalized, prospecting process to keep the pipeline full of meetings with dream clients. Without the right sales tools, your outbound efforts will not reach their full potential.
One new sales tool to emerge over the last few years is the sales engagement platform. While SaaS companies have been early adopters of these platforms, agencies have been laggards. If your agency is serious about its business development, it will invest in this tool. I believe it is the third leg of the tech stack stool along with a CRM and list provider.
What is a sales engagement platform? Think of it as a marketing automation program built for sales, designed to reach prospects more efficiently, while gathering data that can be used to optimize outreach. It allows you to create workflows and sync with your CRM and email. When used correctly, it makes you faster and your cold emails more effective at making connections with prospects.
Missing with Mass Email
Sales engagement platforms replace the tired strategy of mass email, which is largely ineffective in reaching senior-level decision-makers.
Firewalls and spam blockers make it difficult to even get a mass email into the inbox of a prospect. The sheer volume of email that most senior leaders receive compounds the issue. Marketers can spot a mass marketing email in their inbox and often delete without even opening. To get their attention, you need highly personalized messages that are sent on a one-on-one basis to a targeted prospect list, not through a mass email provider.
Without a sales engagement platform, you’re apt to use multiple sales tools: email, a spreadsheet program, your CRM, calendar program and tracking plugins. There are complicated and error-prone data pulls and merges.
The process is cumbersome and difficult to scale, track and follow-up on leads. The lack of integration means that you have few insights, if any, including basics such as whether your prospect even opened your mail.
If you’re going to get more meetings with dream clients, you need a better solution.
Transformation through Integration and Data
At Catapult New Business, I was skeptical when the sales engagement platform was introduced. “Great. Another sales tool to learn,” I thought. “Is this really going to help me?’
I had been in a slump and was juggling multiple agency clients. I gave it a shot.
From Day One, I was a believer. I immediately saw my outreach volume increase. Email opens, clicks and replies skyrocketed and I had better insights into what was working and what wasn’t. The platform helped me develop good prospecting habits that led to consistent and predictable results.
Top Features for Sales Development Platforms
These are the top 7 features in a sales development platform that I find most useful and impactful.
- Create Multi-Touch / Multi-Channel Sales Cadences
The platform should allow you to orchestrate a strategic targeted sales correspondence plan, injected with personalization. The sales cadences can be deployed to create multichannel touch point models catered to your buyer personas. Plan in advance the number of emails and phone calls each prospect will receive and at what intervals. With these preset activities baked into the platform, you’ll never miss reaching out to your prospects. These communication sequences optimize opportunity to engage each prospect for that persona’s pain points and patterns.
- Real, Human Email from Any Platform
You’ll want integration with your agency’s email provider which ensures greater deliverability. Your emails will be sent from you, one to one, and carry your agency’s domain.
- Real-Time Alerts
Get real-time alerts on every prospect action, from email opens to clicks to replies (some even include website tracking). Look for IP geo-location features and browser type detection so you not only understand when they’re opening your message but where and how it’s being read. A live feed feature will let you monitor activity and respond faster.
- Automated Activity Logging
The best platforms will automatically capture activity, including email responses and successful or unsuccessful calls, and populate the activity in your CRM. Your reps will not have to undertake mundane manual entries. Instead, they can focus on personalization and increasing the volume of outreach. You want reps focused on selling, not data entry.
- Personalized Email Automation
Whether you’re sending 1, 10, or 100 emails, you want the capability to customize email templates to create hyper-personalized emails. Which templates are the best? Through the platforms built-in analytics, you’ll have the insights to better understand which get the highest open, click and reply rates.
- Email Scheduling
To be most effective, you need the ability to schedule emails for future delivery, based on the expected availability of your dream clients. Each prospect’s location is identified in the sales tool, providing the ability to schedule emails to be delivered at the time of your choosing based on the prospect’s time zone.
Your sales activity generates a remarkable amount of data. Your sales engagement platform should report on email, template and cadence analytics (open, click and reply rates). The built-in analytics should also help pinpoint the best days of the week and local times that are most effective for engagement. The platform should also have A/B testing capabilities to help you decide which templates perform best.
How to Get Started with the Sales Tool
SalesLoft, Outreach, and Inside Sales Box are among the top three sales engagement platforms on the market. Ask for a demo and experiment with each provider, being sure to zero in on each platform’s capabilities from the list above.
Making an Impact
Once you secure and implement a sales engagement platform, you’re apt to feel more control, which will lead to a more predictable pipeline. The sales tool will increase your outreach volume while making it more efficient and effective. Prospecting activity will be better organized and will generate more meetings with your dream clients, leading to more agency revenue