Posts Tagged ‘lead gen’

Recap of Strategies from the Mirren New Business Conference

Recap of Strategies from the Mirren New Business Conference

We heard a lot of things this year at the Mirren New Business Conference. Aside from all of the excitement and thankful words about being at a conference in person, there were some very consistent (and important!) messages being sent from the myriad of expert speakers about new business strategies to grow your revenue this year. 

Here were some of the key new business strategies we enjoyed this year:

Pacing outbound sales efforts

Outbound sales takes time. If you want to build a proactive pipeline of opportunities that you have the highest likelihood to win you’ll need to treat this like a marathon, not a sprint. If you are looking at new business in 3-month segments, you aren’t ready for a new business program. You should be viewing new business in 18-month plans. Agencies that have been really successful have built their process and plans around this 18-month timeframe. Remember, planting a garden on Monday doesn’t feed your family on Tuesday, so continue to tend your garden, expand it, and in time you will reap the rewards.

Recruiting top talent

New Business is key to retaining and recruiting talent. During the Great Resignation, what could be more important than finding great talent to work at your firm?  Driving positive, exciting new business will not only help your revenue and bottom line, but it will help ensure that people actually want to build their careers with your team.

Diversifying your client base

Q1 and Q2 have been slower for many, and you are not alone in feeling like inbound pitches have slowed from what we all saw in 2021. While we have seen reports that brands continue to plan to spend more in the 2nd half of 2022, many have felt the crunch of stalled projects and reduced scopes. It’s time to further diversify your client base to protect against these forces.

Expanding work with your current client base

Organic growth can be proactive as well. You don’t have to wait until a client tells you they need more, you can help them find new solutions that expand on your scope of work. The agencies that really separate themselves from the pack are the ones that not only win a piece of business, but they consistently grow that piece of business throughout the years.

Staying in front of your prospects

“Brands are always looking, but you never know when they are actually looking”. A confusing sentence to be sure, but the point is, you always have to be there if you want a brand to find you. There are no days off when it comes to new business and keeping your agency in front of the brands that you most want to connect with.

Building your lead gen engine

There are a lot of channels for growth, outbound does not work alone. Inbound can define who you are because in order to have an effective inbound program you have to create specific, valuable, expert content that will attract the exact types of prospects that you want to work with.

Acing the discovery call

The objective of your new business call is not to sell your prospects, but simply to learn enough to get to the next meeting. People want to work with people they like, and what people like are people who listen to them and understand their problems.  Two ears – one mouth…use that ratio when deciding whether you talk or listen at that first new business call.

Taking on project work

Be willing to earn the right to the retainer…many agencies want to jump right into the marriage, they want the Agency of Record (AOR) and retainer relationships, but there are many brands that just don’t have those needs immediately. Allow yourself to be open to projects that can organically grow into those retainers in the future.

 

These are just some of the highlights from Mirren Live in Kansas City this year. While Catapult has always been at the forefront of proactive new business strategies, it was exciting to hear agency experts of all sizes continue to reinforce the value that proactive sales can offer to agencies. Want to continue learning more about proactive new business development? Join Catapult’s email subscription Insights with Catapult to receive monthly content like this one. 

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It All Starts With The Target List: Steps To Efficient Proactive Prospecting

When embarking on a proactive prospecting program, there are some core steps that can’t be skipped over on the road to success. And the foundation is developing a solid, well researched target list.  Below are the steps we recommend to clients to set that foundation.

1. Focus On A Vertical

Catapult programs are designed around core verticals or segments. Most often we build out lists with our agency clients by selecting target verticals they are best suited for, where they have subject matter expertise and case studies to provide credibility to prospects. A narrow focus enables you to curate and create outbound messaging to all companies within each selected vertical with a high level of relevance, leading to stronger engagement faster than a general message across verticals typically does.

2. Identify Your Right-To-Win Brands

…and research them well. For each vertical selected, the company list can be narrowed by such criteria as revenue, media spend and location. By targeting the companies that you can build credibility with, you’re able to laser-focus sales efforts around their unique needs. Don’t just rely on lists pulled from your criteria. Review top business rankings lists within specific verticals we are targeting to ensure we have all relevant companies included on the lists for our agency clients.

When researching each company to determine if it fits note challenges the company and/or industry is facing. These insights are later converted into talking points for email and phone outreach. 

3. Uncover Key Decision Makers

When the list is narrowed down to the top companies in a vertical, find the key decision makers within each based on job function and rank. Who the right contacts are will vary depending on your agency’s services. For example, a social media agency surely will want to connect with a social media director. However a branding agency likely would not.

Focus on C-suite, VP and director-level marketing professionals; depending on your agency, you may also want to target manager-level contacts. What’s important is that you’re only targeting decision-makers or influencers. Pro Tip: try to find at least 5 – 7 contacts per company/brand. Experience tells us that there is rarely just one decision maker, and it’s not always the obvious one that will respond and champion engagement with your agency.

It’s also helpful to scour the web for financial statements, press releases and trade articles for mentions of other relevant contacts at the company.

And, once you’ve completed the list, make sure to import it to a CRM database so you can effectively track your outreach. A few that our clients have used Salesforce, Pipedrive, and Hubspot to name a few.

4. Dig Deeper for 1:one or 1:few personalization

Uncovering information on your contact list through LinkedIn helps confirm the employee is still with the company and remains in the appropriate role. LinkedIn is also useful for mining additional contacts in the company – you may find additional relevant prospects you have not found previously.

During this process make sure to take notes of mutual contacts, past employers, links to presentations, schools attended or other points of connection that you can use in your outreach to that contact. You will need the email address information for these contacts found outside of the database. Try looking at the email naming conventions of the other contacts in the company; 90 percent of the time the naming convention will hold for the missing emails. If all else fails, there are a number of online tools available to help find alternative email address suggestions like Clearbit, Hunter.io, or RocketReach.

At this point, you may be asking yourself how to do all this with the resources you have.

At Catapult, we’ve heard, and done, it all to try to crack the code on list building. Calling the company’s main line, filling out a web form, or hoping you have a mutual connection in your core network are not efficient or effective ways to connect with senior decision makers.

And getting the decision maker information is not an easy task. All too often, agencies rely on new business people or account people to track down prospect contact information on their own. If the contact data is even found, it’s often inaccurate and incomplete. This process eats up your team’s time and takes them away from more important business activities.  

To solve this dilemma, many agencies subscribe to database services that provide accurate, direct contact information on prospects. And they supplement this data with their own due diligence to gain information that is relevant, current and provides insights for smarter prospecting messages.

There are a number of database providers available online, such as Winmo, our sister company, which offers vetted and current prospect contact information for relevant to ad agencies, marketing firms and creative agencies. A sophisticated database and intelligence service provides much more than contact information. It also can offer company financial data, existing agency relationships and recent news articles to help you better identify your best prospects.

When selecting a database provider, look for one that employs teams of researchers to validate and refresh the data on a regular basis, at least every 3-6 months. It’s also important that company specializes in advertising and marketing contacts so the prospects align with your target audience. 

 

Your prospect data list is the most important part in agency new business outreach. If you don’t have a relevant and accurate list of prospects and an efficient way to get this data, even the best messaging will fall on deaf ears. Using the steps outlined above, supported by a database platform for efficiency and speed, makes this scalable so business development folks can spend more time on outreach, engagement and conversion to new business…and less time trying to track down contact information!

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5 Tips for Quickly Building a Targeted Prospect List

You’ve written a great introduction email and have prepared an inspiring cold-call pitch, but how do you actually get in touch with and make contact with the prospect? Calling the company’s switchboard or filling out their website “contact us” form are not efficient or effective ways to connect with senior marketing decision-makers for new business for your agency.

All too often, companies require sales reps to try to track down their prospect’s contact information on their own. If the contact data is ever even found, it is often inaccurate and incomplete. This process eats up the seller’s time and limits their sales potential. But there’s a better way.

Top agencies subscribe to database services that provide accurate, direct contact information on prospects. They build targeted lists and supplement this data with their own due diligence. This process results in richer information that is relevant, current and provides insights that can be used in prospecting email and call messaging.

Below are five important steps to build a scalable, repeatable and efficient prospecting process. Following each step of these steps on a consistent basis will result in thorough and targeted prospect lists:

1. Get A Good Database Provider

There are number of database providers available online, such as Winmo, that offer vetted and current prospect contact information for ad agencies, marketing firms and creative agencies. These sophisticated database and intelligence services often provide much more than contact information. They also can offer company financial data, agency relationships and recent news articles to help you better identify your best prospects.

When selecting a database provider, it is important to find one that employs teams of researchers to validate and refresh the data on a regular basis, at least every 3-6 months. It’s also important that the company specializes in advertising and marketing agencies so the prospects align with your target audience.

2. Focus On A Vertical

As a consultant and sales director at Catapult New Business, I pull prospect data lists on behalf of agencies multiple times each week. I typically begin by selecting a target business vertical, such as insurance companies. By being narrowly focused, the outbound messaging can be similar across all companies within the vertical, leading to more efficiency in your outreach program. Top sellers will focus on 1-3 verticals per quarter, depending on the final size of the prospect lists.

3. Identify the Best-Fit Companies

Once the vertical is selected, the company list can be narrowed by such criteria as revenue, media spend and location. By targeting only the companies that fit your buyer persona, you’re able to laser-focus sales efforts to the best-suited companies. Although the database provider I use has extensive lists of companies, I also review top business rankings lists within that vertical to ensure that I have all relevant companies included on my list.

When researching each company to determine if it fits our buyer persona, I take notes on the challenges the company is facing. These insights are later converted into talking points for email and phone outreach. If I am unable to identify challenges that we can realistically solve, I believe I have no valid reason to reach out to the prospect and remove them from the company list.

4. Identify the Best-Fit Contacts

Once I have narrowed the list down to the top 10-20 companies, I use the database to find the most relevant contacts within the companies, based on job function and rank.

Who the right contacts are will vary depending on your agency’s services. For example, a social media agency surely will want to connect with a social media director. However a branding agency likely would not.

I like to focus on C-suite, VP and director-level marketing professionals, but depending on your agency, you may also target manager-level contacts. What’s important is that you’re only targeting decision-makers or influencers. I focus on finding about 10 contacts per company, depending on the size of the prospect company and your agency’s specialty.

At this point, I download the information from the database provider into an Excel or CSV file to upload to a CRM program such as Salesforce.

But the work is not over.

5. Uncover Even More Best-Fit Contacts

Unearthing information on LinkedIn is a powerful way to gain even more contacts. By reviewing the LinkedIn profile of each contact, you can confirm that the employee is still with the company and remains in the appropriate role.

LinkedIn is also useful for mining additional contacts in the company. By reviewing the “People Also Viewed” box on a contact’s LinkedIn profile, you may find additional relevant prospects you have not found previously.

During this process I also make notes of mutual contacts, past employers, links to presentations, schools attended or other points of connection that I will use in my outreach to that contact.

You will need the email address information for these contacts found outside of the database. You can solve this by looking at the email naming conventions of the other contacts in the company; 90 percent of the time the naming convention will hold for the missing prospects. If all else fails, there are a number of online tools available to help find alternative email suggestions.

Lastly I will scour Google reading financial statements, press releases and trade articles for mentions of other relevant contacts at the companies.

Key Takeaways

Your prospect data list is the most important part in agency new business outreach. If you do not have a relevant and accurate list of prospects and an efficient way to get this data, even the best messaging will fail. If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, did it really fall? Using a database platform makes this scalable so business development reps can spend more time on outreach and less time trying to track down contact information. Following each step on a consistent basis will lay the critical foundation for an effective outreach program.


Author Bio

Christian Banach is an advertising agency new business consultant and sales director at Catapult New Business. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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