Archive for the ‘Audit’ Category

The perfect agency new business team

March 27th, 2014

Making the decision to hire dedicated new business resource often marks a tipping point in an agency’s development.

 

But making the right hire isn’t easy. Many times over the years have I heard variations on the sentiment: “Ah yes, we’ve had new business people in the past, they come in, play around with some lists and case studies and are gone again six months later”. Now, whether it is sales people selling themselves into the wrong role or agencies with unrealistic expectations, it is clear that finding the right match is a challenge.

 

So what is the answer?

 

Well, the chances are that we are asking the wrong question. Instead of thinking “Who can we hire to sell more?” we should be asking how our current clients buy from us already and work back from there.

 

For most agencies, current revenue is made up from retained or repeat business from existing clients, referrals from existing clients and network and a slice of ‘new’ new business. And in most cases, those clients have bought services from the senior team. An MD, client lead, creative lead or strategist. They have bought into the people at the heart of the agency and the relationships have grown from there.

 

So, to add more business, it may well be that you don’t need a ‘closer’ at all, because the best people to close a deal are those who are already in the business delivering the work. Perhaps you just need a ‘sweeper’, someone who can free up the time of the senior team by managing the process around pitching or RFIs, or even simply managing the database of contacts.

 

Or, if your pipeline is thin and it is leads you need, then think about specific lead generation resource, either external or in-house and marketing resource to ensure that your website is updated and optimized, your social channels are up to scratch and any content and collateral is doing its job. Some of this resource may even be in the business already.

 

Whoever you hire, make sure there’s a plan, a process and measure as you go. For help with new business planning get in touch.

 

2012: Learning from success and failure

December 12th, 2012

It’s December. The media – social, broadcast, even the printed stuff, is awash with reviews of 2012 and predictions for 2013. We are shortly to be drowning in a sea of lists.

 

So in the spirit of the season, before you make your new business predictions for 2013, it’s worth taking a really long and hard look at this year’s performance. Because the clues lie, not in the numbers of pitches undertaken, not in the cold hard revenue line of business won, but hidden somewhat further from view. So, if you want to improve on this year’s win tally in 2013, here are just a couple of things to consider:

 

  • Win/loss analysis. Sounds straightforward. What did we do right in the pitches we won? What did we do wrong in those we lost? An excellent place to start but with hindsight it is often difficult to be brutally honest about the losses, and sometimes the wins too. The chances are that those pitches weren’t won or lost in the room, on that particular day, but in the preceding days, weeks and months. Ask yourself these questions – did we know there was a budget signed off for this activity? Were we fully aware of the decision making process – did we meet all of the decision makers? Did we fully interrogate and understand the issues facing that client’s business? Not just the ones discussed in the brief, but any other market forces that will have an impact? And here’s a thorny one. By the time we were in the room, did we actually still want to win that business? By thinking of the successes and failures in these terms, the patterns will begin to emerge and provide the qualification criteria for pitching in the year ahead.

 

  • Marketing activity. What are you measuring? Activity or just results? If you didn’t make it to as many pitches as you needed this year, the likelihood is there wasn’t enough marketing and new business activity to fill the pipeline with qualified leads. As discussed previously, consistency is key to new business success and if the engine slows down or stops, so will the results. And how do you make sure the activity is consistent? You have a well thought out plan, spread the load of implementation and get it done. Measure your activity, set and stick to deadlines and monitor your results.

 

For more information on new business planning, contact Lucy Mann.