EP29: Fear | Hilary Gallo

June 2nd, 2019

This may not seem like the most obvious episode for what, to all intents and purposes is a podcast providing practical tips for making marginal gains in agency new business and marketing.

However, when we consider many of the activities involved in attracting and winning new clients – the outreach to new prospects, networking, hosting events, speaking engagements, let alone pitching and negotiating – so many, for many of us, induce fear.

And left unchecked, these fears can either disrupt our performance, or worse, stop us doing the things we need to do to keep our businesses thriving.

We first met  Hilary Gallo back in episode eleven when we discussed negotiation. Since then Hilary has been studying the subject of fear, and more importantly, how we can hack fear to our advantage.

Listen in to find out how to win a signed copy of Hilary’s latest book Fear Hack.

EP28: Client Development Part Two | Jim Hawker | Threepipe

May 1st, 2019

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about client relationships recently.

Generally speaking our growth objectives will start with the financials – the revenue goals, the profit margin targets and the scale those numbers will then afford us – the extra bodies, extra offices, extra services – or even exit!

This focus on the numbers is essential but we should quickly translate these targets into the kinds of relationships we need to add into the business. Adding lots of clients who deliver short term revenue is what keeps us on the hamster wheel, whereas building strategic relationships, allows us to build not only sustainable revenue but that holy grail that comes with true advocacy – referrals!

We talked a lot about the theory of client development with Iain Johnston in episode 26 of Small Spark Theory, and in this episode we return to the subject with Jim Hawker from Threepipe.

An independent, owner-managed digital agency of 90 people delivering SEO, PR, social, search, display and creative, Threepipe are hot property. At the time of writing, they have been shortlisted for the Holmes Report Digital Consultancy of the year and have achieved 20% growth for the third consecutive year, with 20% margins. Impressive stuff.

Jim and I discuss the practical implications of client development planning, relationship building, client satisfaction, motivation and much, much more.

Listen in to win a copy of Jim’s recommended read The Four by Scott Galloway.

Pivot, Scott’s podcast with Kara Swisher can be found here .

EP27: LinkedIn | Alex Low | Digital Leadership Associates

April 3rd, 2019

“Whatever you do from here, even if you choose to ignore everything I’m about to tell you, please be good at LinkedIn.”

 

This is a phrase I have repeated many times during my engagements with agencies over the years, and one I stand by now more than ever.

 

LinkedIn has become an incredible tool to support new business, but in many cases, agencies are only just scratching the surface of how they can leverage the platform to expand and engage their networks, whilst showcasing expertise.

 

And since the introduction of Sales Navigator, I’ve been searching for a true ‘super-user’ to join me on the podcast and really get to grips with the functionality on offer. So it was fitting that through LinkedIn, I found the brilliant Alex Low, Head of Social Selling at Digital Leadership Associates.

 

Having spent many years working in property, recruitment, management consultancy and law, Alex now advises a wide range of professional services businesses, empowering fee earners, business development and marketing teams to leverage the power of their networks to drive better, more relevant business conversations through social.

 

So if you’ve been wondering how to get started with LinkedIn, or how to unlock the next level of network engagement – this episode is for you.

 

We’ll be giving away a copy of Alex’s recommended read: Technology vs. Humanity: The coming clash between man and machine by Gerd Leonhard just listen in to find out how to win.

 

Also recommended in this episode are:

 

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark 

 

Salim Ismail on Exponential Organizations

 

 

For more information on how to make the most of LinkedIn you can see the full collection of Alex’s guides here.

 

EP26: Client Development Part One | Iain Johnston | Hill Dickinson

March 4th, 2019

It’s easy to think that the secret to agency growth is cracking the holy grail of new business acquisition, but in most cases there are untapped opportunities for growth much closer to home, within our existing client relationships.

 

Over the years I have met many, many agency owners, who have a nagging suspicion that they could be doing more for their current clients, but feel unable to move the relationship from supplier, to trusted partner, and thereby unlocking not only greater revenue potential, but that magical fairy dust we know as referrals.

 

This is a big subject that I’m going to come back to over future podcast episodes, but to kick us off I wanted to track down the person who has been the most influential in helping me understand not only the skills required for client development, but how embedding process is the ultimate game-changer.

 

Iain Johnston has more than 25 years of experience in marketing services and business development, and has founded, developed and sold or floated several technology firms.

 

Iain spent 11 years running GB Group, was deputy chairman at Alterian, CEO of the Loewy Group and has spent 18 years as chairman of Event Marketing Solutions. Now COO of international law firm Hill Dickinson, I travelled to Liverpool to chat to Iain and find out more about his approach, and how everyone can harness marginal gains in client development.

 

EP25: Agency Thought Leadership | Pip Stocks | Brandhook

February 15th, 2019

I’m calling this episode ‘thought leadership’ for the sake of brevity, and SEO but in reality this is about so much more.

 

Pip Stocks runs Brandhook, a Melbourne-based brand and customer experience consultancy.

 

Over the last four years Pip, and Brandhook, have owned the conversation around “Closing the Gap”, understanding how brands can get closer to their customers in an era of increasing digital disruption.

 

I’ve followed the progress of Closing the Gap, as a series of presentations, blog posts, editorials, a podcast, numerous speaking engagements and a book. It has been a masterclass in agency thought leadership campaigning I have referenced to my clients again and again.

 

Pip joins me to talk agency positioning, service innovation, thought leadership campaigning and dodgy nineties fashion.

 

You can see more about Brandhook and check out the new platform, Hearsay.

 

Kara Swisher’s podcast is Recode Decode

 

As always we’ve giving away a copy of Pip’s recommended read, Small Data by Martin Lindstrom. Listen in to find out how to win.

 

EP24: The new business email | Kimi Gilbert | The Future Factory

January 7th, 2019

Dear prospect, my name is Lucy, I’m writing to introduce…….

 

And so it goes, the new business email, putting the fear into agency folk across the land.

 

It’s no surprise. For many people, selling isn’t something that comes naturally. And trying to sell yourself, or your agency, in a blank email window while the cursor blinks impatiently back at you, is no mean feat. In my experience, many best laid plans to contact a painstakingly researched list of prospects stall at this point, or we manage to email a few, wring our hands, get no response, swear a bit and then give up.

 

Sound familiar? Then this episode is for you. Kimi Gilbert is Director of Training & Development at new business agency The Future Factory and trains her team, and agencies of all disciplines, in the art of writing new business emails that work.

 

Kimi joins me to share her top tips for getting email cut-through, based on years of data and client feedback. If you’re looking for a way to make marginal gains into your new business performance then this is the perfect place to start.

 

As always we have a competition for you, we’ll be giving away a copy of Kimi’s recommended book: You Are a Message: Meditations for the Creative Entrepreneur by Guillaume Wolf  – simply listen in to find out how to win.

 

The next Winning New Business via Email course takes place in March, places are limited but you can find out more information or book tickets here.

 

EP23: The Christmas Cracker

December 13th, 2018

Just in time for Christmas, we bring you a very special episode of Small Spark Theory.

 

Across the series, we have asked all of our contributors to share the best piece of advice they’ve been given in their career, so we thought we’d take a wander through the last two years of episodes and pick some of our favourites.

 

So grab a cuppa and a mince pie, and tune in to hear from Felix Velarde, Hilary Gallo, Katz Kiely, Sara Stark, David C Baker, Alex Blyth, Robert Kelsey, Tony Spong, Jemima Monies, Dan Sudron, Katie Pattison and Blair Enns.

 

If you fancy a little more inspiration, check out David’s book The Business of Expertise, Hilary’s new book Fear Hackand Blair’s practical guide to Pricing Creativity.

 

As always, we have a competition prize. We’ll be giving away a 15 minute timer from The School of Life, simply listen in to find out how to win.

 

Merry Christmas, we’ll be back in January with more guests and more news!

 

EP22: Rethinking Client Experience | Nick Phipps | Rawnet

November 5th, 2018

I’ll admit it, I’m slightly obsessed about the experience that clients and prospects have when they work with (or are considering working with) an agency.

 

Just as customer and user experience is now paramount for consumer brands, of course the the same rules apply for B2B. There will always be other agencies who can deliver a comparable service for a comparable price, but it is the experience of working with an agency which will influence selection, keep clients coming back for more and generate referrals. But hang on a minute – isn’t that where chemistry comes in? Well yes it is, but chemistry isn’t scalable, or reliable for that matter. What I’m really talking about is the end to end experience and the processes we can put in place to truly delight clients and prospects, beyond the delivery of great work.

 

And yet rarely do we take the opportunity to truly put ourselves in our clients or prospects shoes, to understand just how user friendly we really are. Our reporting, meetings, emails, websites, project management processes and more are all fertile ground for identifying marginal gains.  

 

This is an episode I’ve been wanting to make for a while so I was delighted when Nick Phipps got in touch from Rawnet. In true, “physician heal thyself” style, Rawnet are in the process of applying the customer centric principles and strategies they use for their clients’ businesses, to their own agency. We got together to chat about how it’s working out.

 

And we have another competition for you. You can win a copy of Nick’s recommended read:  The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences by Matt Watkinson – just listen in for more details.

 

EP21: The New Business Leader | Jemima Monies | adam&eveDDB

October 11th, 2018

Earlier this summer, Jemima Monies, Head of New Business & PR at adam&eveDDB wrote an article in Campaign about why new business leaders need to fight harder to be heard.

 

She closed the piece with a rallying cry to the industry to “value new business people’s opinions, invite them to speak out and elevate them within your agency management teams”.

 

Reading this, I realised that so far in the Small Spark Theory series, whilst we’ve been speaking to a range of industry experts about elements of new business process and agency growth challenges, we have yet to give a voice to any new business practitioners.

 

So I’m delighted that Jemima could spare the time between pitches to come and chat. In this episode we discuss the importance of new business culture, what makes a great new business person, the power of momentum and ice cream.

 

With an enviable new business record, adam&eveDDB has now clocked up four years as Campaign Agency of the Year. Since recording this episode, I visited my local cinema and between trailers, the agency’s John Lewis / Waitrose “Bohemian Rhapsody” ad  finished to spontaneous applause from the audience. By my reckoning they’ll be holding that top spot for a while yet.

 

As always you can join in the conversation on twitter @gunpowdertweets #smallsparktheory.

EP20: Agency Revenue Models | Erica Wolfe-Murray | Lola Media

September 2nd, 2018

Finding an alternative revenue model to the billable hour, is a topic we touched on with Erica Wolfe-Murray of Lola Media, back in Episode 14, as we explored the subject of an agency’s intellectual assets, and returned to in our episode on pricing creativity with Blair Enns.

 

And as we head into what is arguably the most important three months of the year for agency new business, we are delighted to welcome Erica back to Small Spark Theory, for a dedicated episode on agency revenue models. Based on her experience across multiple industries, Erica takes us through how we can think more creatively about what we sell and and how we sell it, and how to create multiple, and more importantly, scalable revenue streams.

 

All this and more is available in Erica’s brand new book, Simple Tips, Smart Ideas: Easy to Use Advice for Business Growth, which will be available from January 2019, and get this… you can win a copy too! Listen to this episode to find out how.

 

We’ve been getting a lot of love for Small Spark Theory over recent months, which is heartening indeed. If you’ve been listening in and enjoying what you hear, please do leave a review on iTunes, it’s really quick to do and would make our day.