Posts Tagged ‘lead generation’

Better Predict Your Future New Business Success

Better Predict Your Future New Business Success

2020 has taught us many things, but one of the biggest learnings has been around most of our agencies’ need to better understand and predict where their future new business will come from. Last March, just about all of us received phone calls from our clients cutting our budgets in half or changing our scope of works (for the worse).  This meant a renewed interest in our new business efforts and trying desperately to fill a funnel with clients that could make up those gaps created by reduced scopes.  

Understand Your Baseline Metrics

The trouble for many agencies is they never established any sort of baseline understanding of their new business process.  Without a baseline understanding of the metrics that get you from a cold call to a signed service agreement, how do you know which levers to pull to make new business happen?

Lag Measures

Many agencies I review find themselves looking and evaluating new business through Lag Measures.  Lag measures indicate the current or past state of the business.  These are measures like revenue, net profit, or annual contract value.  The problem with looking at these numbers to predict future success is that they are all in the rearview mirror of your new business journey and don’t really predict what is going to happen next.  It’s important to know these values to evaluate where you’ve been, but predicting where you’re going is our aim here. I think we can all agree that our April 2019 revenue numbers didn’t exactly properly predict our April 2020 revenue numbers.  For most, your ACV reduced in 2020 vs previous years, so how do we estimate how many new clients we should or will be winning?

Lead Measures

When creating a repeatable new business process, we need to be focusing on Lead measures.  Lead measures are those that predict future results.  In terms of new business development, this means looking at actions and events that most agencies aren’t typically used to tracking.  Marketing Qualified Leads, Needs Analysis Calls, Number of Pitches are just a few lead measures that can better predict exactly what may be coming in the future months.  

Below is an example of a potential sales funnel.  If you understand the metrics and percentage chances to move from one level of the funnel to the next, then you can better predict and (importantly) ramp up your new business efforts when you hit the hard times or the times of needed new revenue growth.

 

If you don’t have a baseline already of the numbers above to move from level to level in your funnel, take a small sample of the last three months and begin to track this every month moving forward.  Even an imperfect funnel will give you a better idea and the ability to more accurately predict exactly what is coming down the line in the future.  

Better Predictions Means Faster Growth

Better predictions of your new business mean you are able to grow faster, more profitably, and provide an overall better service by being staffed properly at all times for your new clients.

If you need help figuring out your funnel and which metrics you should be tracking in your lead stages, give us a call.  At Catapult, we use these every day to ensure we are growing our own and our agencies’ new business efforts in the most efficient way possible.

 

 

 

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How to: Use a niche when your agency is full service

How to use a niche when your agency is full service

Agency Type

Full-Service Creative

Target

Consumer Goods

The Process

Many agencies that have broad skill sets find themselves in a position of trying to drive a conversation with a new prospect but lack a real specific door opener. There are so many problems that your full-service shop can solve, so where do you begin a conversation? It’s important to us a niche when your agency is full service.

Our client was facing just such a problem in that they don’t niche down on either an industry or a service. We looked at their past experience and decided consumer goods was a great place for us to start based on the current market and what they can offer in terms of insights. We also decided that the best place to start was a conversation around digital that could then branch into a more holistic strategy. Our team decided to create a “digital audit” that we would only offer to specific brands based on their size, region, and current interest level.

In order to create such a tight list of prospects, our team utilized both Winmo and Bombora to trim a list of consumer goods companies down to less than 100 companies. Once we had an initial set of right-sized companies from Winmo, Bombora was used to determine current intent by searching for those that have “digital strategy” high on their intent radar.

We also simplified our email approach with a quick note and then some bullet points on what the audit may provide. Below is a generalized version, but will give an idea on the overall structure.

Jim,

As experts in Consumer Goods, my team reviewed your site and we’d like to offer a complimentary Digital Audit. This would include:

  • Website Design + UX Flow
  • Technical SEO Review
  • Load speeds, Page Speeds
  • Analytics Review
    ….

This email was NOT the first email that we had sent this prospect, it was actually in the middle of an 11 touchpoint cadence. They had seen our name and agency brand before through our emails, so the digital audit approach allowed them to focus strictly on this one area of opportunity.

The email was received by the Global Integrated Marketing Manager, who oversees many brands across their portfolio. The response was that they did have one brand that was struggling in comparison to others and they were interested in our team doing a quick digital audit on it. This opened the door not only to a project for the brand that needed immediate help, but then a review of all the other brands under their portfolio.

The key is, if you aren’t niched down in your agency’s structure, then you at least need to niche down your prospecting efforts in terms of language. Prospects have specific needs and so we need to approach them with that same level of specificity.

This success for our agency partner was made possible by:

 

Derry B
Business Development Director at Catapult

 

 

 

 

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How to: Find a meeting in the financial sector

How to find a meeting in a financial sector

Agency Type

Brand and Customer Experience

Target

Finance & Professional Services

The Process

New business efforts are all about being highly targeted with your data and messaging.  Very often an Account-Based Marketing approach, rather than a mass outreach effort, means that your total quantity of outreach is reduced, but your level of meetings in both interest and opportunity increases.

Jim found himself in the position of working on behalf of an agency that has specialized within the Financial sector, one that has certainly been a challenge these last few months of the Covid with, seemingly, fewer agency shifts in that industry during the pandemic.  With less movement happening and overall freeze happening, Jim needed to find not only a brand that was actively open to speak, but also who within that brand would be the right person to take interest in his client’s capabilities.

The first step of this focusing process was to take the larger finance list and run it through Bombora’s purchase intent software.  He looked for Finance companies that had surging interest and searches along with the categories of “Brand Affinity and Financial Banking”.  This reduced his overall list of prospects from hundreds to 30(ish) companies.

Once we had those main 30 companies, it was time to append marketing contacts from Winmo into those main companies and prioritize based on the job titles that we have had the most success in getting in contact with.  During the pandemic, we have seen a lot of activity with Director and VP level, who both understand the need to pull on purse strings AND are also bogged down with the day to day execution of marketing plans.

With the now smaller list, Jim has the ability to do a deeper dive into those individuals and companies and make sure that any messaging can now be tailored to each one.  The message that hit first was finding a company that was written about in Forbes, which he mentioned immediately and linked back to in his email.  He then shares a similar past client to show expertise in their field, which is always on a marketer’s mind.

(edited for privacy’s sake, but the simplicity is in tact)

I’ve been reading about ABC and your recognition in Forbes. We’ve developed fresh insights, for clients like XXX, into some new challenges their small business clients and prospects are facing in today’s environment. We’d be glad to share our presentation  where we dive into post-COVID changing beliefs, behaviors, and needs of the small to mid-sized business audience. (link was included)

Would you be free to connect on Thursday?

Those quick first sentences give his email a step above others in a few ways.  First, he’s obviously not a bot sending mass mail, because he is linking to an article that would only make sense for this person.  Second, everyone loves the extra recognition and little ego boost by acknowledging and recognizing their public accomplishments, in this case, the article in Forbes.  He has also shown expertise without having to go into a 3-page long diatribe explaining all that they do.  He uses the mention of past work to prove his expertise.

Lastly, Jim kept the messaging SIMPLE.  This was short and sweet and allowed the prospect to breathe.  That simplicity in email communication allows for a prospect to believe that an interaction and discussion may be simple as well.

This success for our agency partner was made possible by:

 

 

Jim O.
Business Development Director at Catapult

 

 

 

 

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How to: Create a New Business Opportunity in 11 Days

How to create a new business opportunity in 11 days

Agency Type

Creative Production Agency

Target

Food & Bev, Small-Mid Size Companies

The Process

Utilizing Winmo’s Intent Insights powered by Bombora, our team began their search by filtering companies within the Food & Bev category that were small to mid-sized businesses based on revenues and media spend ranges that were within our agency’s desired range.  Once we had that list built out of right-sized companies, we ran this list through Bombora’s purchase intent software to determine if any of these companies had recent surges around the terms “Creative” “Social” and “Production”.  There were 15-20 companies that all showed scores over 80, which tells us they are currently evaluating Creative and Social options.  

By focusing on this reduced number of smaller companies, our percentage of finding the right person within the company is massively increased.  These small to mid-sized companies have fewer marketing decision-makers, allowing us to focus more on custom messaging in a true Account-Based Marketing approach.  Smarter messaging to a focused group makes for more intelligent and interesting first meetings.

For this group, Jake created a 6 step email and phone cadence that covered 11 days, as laid out below:

These emails all have the same base structure and where they begin to diverge is in small customizations between each individual decision-maker when they hit step 2 in custom emails and the phone voicemail left.  

Voicemail is a key ingredient in that it puts a human voice to every interaction.  It’s important to separate yourself from the mass of others sending mass spam emails hoping for a bite, by ensuring that you are taking a multi-touchpoint approach with phone and email.  

In the end, the email that drives conversion to a meeting may be the simplest messaging.  Jake’s success came from email number six on day eleven with a call to action as simple as:

“What would be the downside of receiving a unique perspective for any upcoming creative work? “

The reply was as simple as

“Great timing, we are actually reviewing now…”

Agency new business (and business development) almost always hinges on timing.

Tools like Winmo’s intent data from Bombora, LinkedIn, and Salesloft can ensure that your chances of starting a conversation at the right time are higher than your competitors.

This success for our agency partner was made possible by:

 

Jake
Business Development Director at Catapult

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The tech stack you need for proper agency new business development

Every year the tech stack available for agency new business pros changes exponentially it seems.  The image above is the Martech 5000 and I think it is safe to say that navigating that thing is a nightmare!  There’s always a new CRM, data source, or automation software that is promising a shortcut to immediately generating more meetings and winning more business.  In my experience, technology doesn’t provide a shortcut, but more a roadmap of exactly where you should go.

At Catapult, we believe in intelligent, timely, and personalized communications in order to best drive the right types of conversations for new business development.  This means we don’t believe in mass blasts, but an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) approach.  For an ABM approach, technology and research are massively important because it means that we know more about our prospects, we can pick the right times to do outreach, and we can use the right type of language for each individual.  All this adds up to better meetings and, in turn, more wins.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the main parts of our tech stack:

Winmo – Now we here at Catapult are a little biased (Winmo is our sister company), but in our opinion, there is no better collection of information about marketing decision makers than what you get from Winmo.  The contact information is the cleanest in the industry.  They also have all the contextual information you would want around those people to understand their agency relationships, media spend habits, personalities, and more.  Most importantly though, for any business agency person, is that they have a host of alerts that will let you know when information changes that may be important to be acted upon.  Those alerts are a game-changer for ensuring that your timing is better than your competitors.

WinmoEdge – Where there’s smoke there’s fire, right?  WinmoEdge is the key to finding that smoke super early in order to help you get in front of a new business opportunity before that opportunity has even had a chance to build up.  Edge’s proprietary scoring system takes a brand’s behavior and performance and translates that into a score that predicts the likelihood of going into an agency review.  Let us fill you in on a little secret though, most companies that use Edge start at the highest scoring (most likely to review) companies and then work their way down…but not us at Catapult.  We understand that new business is a long game and we want to get on the radar of those brands that are just beginning to run into issues that may call for a review.  This way, we dictate the RFP, rather than it being dictated to us.

Salesloft – Gone are the days of one size fits all mass emails.  Or at least those days SHOULD be gone.  In today’s environment, it’s all about putting the right message in front of the individual, which means the mass email campaigns of yesteryear are gone.  At Catapult, we have stopped using Marketing Automation and solely use Sales Automation with Salesloft now.  This allows us to send customized emails, to individuals, at scale.  If you’re a sole new business person and you are still trying to send prospecting emails or networking emails through your gmail alone, then you need to investigate the switch to Salesloft.  This will help you automate and manage each touchpoint in your prospecting efforts and sales funnel in a way that will make you 50x faster than trying to just use Gmail alone.  It also has the added benefit of using your email server for each send, so the likelihood of getting caught up in a spam filter because of a Marketing Automation’s bad IP address is reduced greatly.  More sends, better sends, what’s not to love?

 

 

Bombora – What if you knew when a prospect was looking for your exact service before they ever reached out?  That’s exactly what Bombora does.  They track a company’s interest level in specific services or keywords.  So if you’re a creative agency, you can track all company URLs within whatever industry you love and see which company is “surging” in interest around the keyword “Creative Agency”.  If they are reading content about creative agencies, searching creative agencies, then that’s probably a pretty good indication that you should reach out and say hello.  You don’t have to tell them you’ve been stalking their content consumption behavior, but don’t be surprised when you start seeing responses like “wow, crazy timing, I was just beginning a search…”.

Crystal – People are all different.  Obvious right?  Then why, oh why, do we see companies sending out messaging that is the same for 1,000 people?  Some people like humor in an email, some like detail, some want it to be short and sweet (me for instance).  The point is, Crystal evaluates the attitudes and personalities of each prospect and gives you suggestions on how to best approach them based on those personalities.  Throw in an emoji for Jim, but make sure you use bullet points for Jill.  It’s not perfrect, but damn if it isn’t close to perfect.  If nothing else, it gives you a great playbook for how to approach and navigate a sales or discovery call with one or more personalities.  It attaches directly to your Google Chrome or LinkedIn and gives you that info in real time.  Super powerful stuff.

Kantar – Media spend info can be grabbed from different places, but here at Catapult we have used Kantar for years.  The way that we use it is to simply have additional criteria when we are looking at what makes a good sized prospect for our agency client.  Many times it’s easiest to purely build backwards from your best performing client and find other prospects that have a similar spend track to them.  

Pathmatics – Similar to how we use Kantar, we use Pathmatics to get deeper information about digital advertising performance for any brand that we are interested in approaching.  We use it both at the beginning of the process to narrow down companies that spend more or less in certain areas, and we also use it when we are doing a deeper dive into a specific prospect.  Often this may come around a 4th or 5th touchpoint when we are looking for something that may help us stand out in our outreach efforts and pull an insight that potentially no other competitors have thought about talking to them about.  

Statsocial – Understanding the social audience of a brand can give you another quick opportunity to connect on a different level with your prospect.  Statsocial is our go-to tool to understand the audience demographics of the companies and brands that we are prospecting.  It also helps in comparing your prospect with another company.  Very often it’s good to show how a challenger brand stacks up against the leader in the space.  This isn’t information that the prospective brand doesn’t have, of course, but it does show that YOU understand their brand and their space, allowing for more trust and better conversations.

 

There are a host of other tech and research tools we use from DRTV info, online publications, and simple Google alerts, but these are the ones that we lean on the most.  Business Development is never simple, but if you want to truly do a comprehensive job of Account Based Marketing it’s our recommendation that your tech stack looks similar to the one above. 

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How to Accelerate Your Agency’s Lead Generation During a Market Shift

How to Accelerate Your Agency's Lead Generation During a Market Shift

Given the market shift the last 12 weeks, everyone’s asking themselves, “How do we get incremental new revenue coming into the agency given our new uncertain environment?” The key to accelerating your agency’s lead generation is through proactive prospecting. It’s understandable that clients won’t be increasing total spend until they feel somewhat confident again. However, what is already happening as people have come out of the initial shock of the downturn, is they are starting to reallocate and optimize budgets. Identifying and predicting these shifting budgets before they happen is the goal of an agency new business person right now.

During budget shifts and rebuilding of brands, our goal needs to be reaching out with the right message, to the right prospect, at the right time. You can no longer put one message out in front of the masses and hope it works.  All your outreach must be tailored to the specific individual and brand.

In order to find success during this time, you will have to drop your old, tired concept of sales. Rather, embrace sales as the idea of lead generation and lead conversion. Sales is not a dirty word, particularly if you approach it from the perspective of helping your prospects. It’s not about selling the great new services or strategic tools you have – that would mean you’re selling your features rather than your benefits and not leading with the prospect’s needs or helpful insights. Sales, now more than ever, is about being active and leaning in.

What can your agency do to accelerate your lead generation during a market shift?

  1. Identify shifting budgets.
  2. Predict where those new budgets will fall.
  3. Most importantly, retire your old view of sales to an Account-Based Marketing approach.

Imagine if you could accelerate your pipeline and shorten your sales cycles. Or what if you were able to focus on just those high-value prospects and the ones that are already predisposed to your agency. Think less waste on leads that are ultimately just going to fall flat. ABM is more strategic and more efficient while being hyper-focused and hyper-personalized in sales and marketing to a smaller number of better prospects. The ABM approach allows you to target only your most qualified prospects much harder with personalized messaging and content. 

In our opinion, ABM is more focused and faster while consuming fewer resources. For agencies at Catapult, this is the approach we use for the majority of our proactive prospecting efforts. One way you can think of Account-Based Marketing is the 80/20 rule. 20% of your effort yields 80% of your results. Most likely, if you did an analysis of your prospecting list you will find that a small percentage of prospects were actually worth all the effort you put against your proactive efforts.  With ABM, you can ensure you are leveraging your limited resources and applying them to a smaller number of better prospects that are more likely to work with your agency.

80/20 ABM approach

When it comes to ABM, qualification is key. We often see qualifications at most agencies happening too late in the pipeline. This means agencies are doing a ton of work trying to get in the door only to find out the prospect isn’t really a good fit for the agency overall. So how do you start qualifying prospects much earlier in your process? Hone in on prospects with an urgent need that your agency has a right to win and can credibly fulfill. Most agencies can’t be everything to everyone, so you want to be pre-qualifying your leads much earlier in the process and targeting them with more personalized content. We find that most agencies are spreading themselves too thin across too many unqualified prospects with generic messaging and then finding themselves in an uphill battle during the pitch process. 

Here’s how you can start shifting from the typical agency prospecting method to an Account-Based Marketing approach and get better results.

1. Start all your outreach plans with the accounts, not the offer. Who needs help that your agency can successfully support?

2. Then think through the insight against those accounts. What is their specific urgent need based on the research and insights you have into their brands?

3. After you have your insights, start curating your sales content. How can we help them?

Keep in mind, you aren’t creating content with the intent of just making them a client, but rather how can you provide value through your sales and marketing messaging. This actually marries a little bit of inbound marketing with ABM and can be very powerful.

4. Once you have curated your content, now you start thinking about channels. How should you best communicate this content in a way that the prospect can take your insights and learn from them, regardless if they are ready to have a discussion with you?

Consider if social, email, or phone is the right way to deliver your value-added message based on the insights you are providing.  Each communication channel provides value in their own unique ways.

This approach is more powerful than the typical agency prospecting. Gone are the days where you tell a prospect why you’re a great agency because you’re really creative, you’re nimble, have a great culture and you’re a “one-stop-shop”. Blending in with the other tens of thousands of marketing services firms during your prospecting efforts is a huge mistake. There is also a notion that you have to start a relationship with a prospect and after a while, they will become a client. That is not the case anymore. Relationships play a role in new business, but they are not the defining factor that will close the deal anymore. Yes, relationships will help get you in the door quicker, but they won’t necessarily help convert the business. 

ABM is also far more methodical. Ideally, you will have multiple categories, but you will be targeting them one at a time with segmented messaging. Then you confirm the organizations within the target category, and then the individual people. You really want to infiltrate the organization you are targeting. The biggest shift will be reaching out from one to many to now one to one. 

Once you have your highly targeted group of individuals you are then identifying the urgent need, developing your sales call-to-action and messaging strategy, then curating your content for the “hook” to open the door for your lead generation and conversion process. At the same time, you have articulated and optimized your pipeline and will monitor which messaging, which insight, which needs, which prospects you’re having more success with. And then you must optimize on an ongoing basis with ABM technology.

As far as ABM technologies, here are a few software platforms we recommend. Make sure you confirm the tools you need to be the most effective and keep it simple by sticking to the basics. Keep in mind most of these technologies are used throughout our partnerships with agencies.

In short, here are the 8 steps needed to shift your prospecting program:

  1. Identify high-value prospects: Leads with an urgent need that your agency can credibly fill from a category, company, and individual level.
  2. Identify urgent needs: Identify the most urgent category needs that your agency can support. Think of what is holding organizations back the most, what are their biggest constraints and opportunities that you can help them capitalize on?
  3. Sales CTA: Based on the need, what is your messaging strategy?
  4. Sales and marketing content: This is directed by your sales strategy and you’re creating insight0rich content that you are distributing through very specific channels to surround the individuals on your highly targeted pipeline.
  5. Lead generation: Once you start pushing your content you are now trying to generate a response from an individual.
  6. Lead conversion: You nurture each active lead with the goal of confirming an opportunity to work with them.
  7. Pipeline optimization: Based on your funnel, you are evaluating the performance. 
  8. ABM technology: Implement marketing technologies to increase the scale and effectiveness of your program. 

 

Being more targeted and more specific against more qualified leads will increase your lead generation and lead conversion. Right now prospects are not going to increase total spend, but they are reallocating and optimizing during this time. We encourage you to make the shift in your prospecting efforts, get organized, and start your ABM outreach to get the most effective results.

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