Archive for the ‘Skills’ Category

EP40: Agency leadership | Sally Henderson

June 7th, 2020

Across the world, leadership is under scrutiny.  

Citizens are looking to their politicians, employees are looking to their employers. Amid continued uncertainly, everyone needs direction and reassurance. 

So what does good leadership look like? Does it change in a crisis? And how can agency leaders look after their teams, and their own wellbeing, as we move from the challenges of lockdown to this next phase of the pandemic?

In this episode we explore these questions and more with Executive Change Mentor Sally Henderson.

Sally has worked with leadership teams at some of the most influential agencies and brands across the world. She joins us to share her top tips for leading with clarity, confidence and authenticity. 

As always we’ll be giving away a copy of Sally’s recommended read: Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, also mentioned in this episode is Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

You can find details of Fearless Fuel, Sally’s peer-to-peer leadership round-tables here

EP38: The first new business hire | Dave Corlett

March 2nd, 2020

I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about small agencies. Typically, those with headcount up to 10/12 and/or annual revenues under £1m.

It’s worth pointing out that this band of agencies makes up an increasing large proportion of the UK landscape. But regardless of their specialism, at this size, effective new business resourcing is a common challenge. Whether the goal is steady growth or revenue maintenance, often the numbers simply don’t warrant a dedicated new business recruit and good external lead generation resource can be out of reach.

It was this thinking that prompted the launch of the New Business and Marketing Bootcamp – designed specifically to provide leaders and founders of this type of agency with the tools to create effective new business and marketing plans and take control of the process.

But what about when you break through that threshold and are ready to hire your first in-house new business talent? Our industry is littered with war stories of new business hires that that were at best ineffective and at worst, damaging to the agency brand. And for new business folk, there can be wildly unrealistic expectations to manage.

So how to get the balance right? For this episode I chatted to Dave Corlett from Workbrands. Having spent 12 years in new business development roles, Dave shares his insights on making new business roles stick, the importance of collaboration, communication and how to stay competitive.

If you are running an agency and considering your first new business hire or starting out on your new business career – this is the episode for you!

Listen in to find out how to win a copy of Dave’s recommended read: Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age.

Details of the New Business & Marketing Bootcamp can be found at www.smallsparktheory.com 

EP33: Listening | Catherine Allison | Master the Art

October 4th, 2019

Throughout this series we have been exploring the notion that by focusing on relationships, rather than a smash and grab for revenue, we build a more sustainable new business pipeline.

So in this episode I wanted to explore one of the most underused skills in building relationships. Listening. 

Catherine Allison, founder of Master the Art is a trained actress and new business practitioner who works with teams and individuals to help build confidence and gravitas.    

Catherine joined us back in episode three to talk more broadly about how we can hone our presentation and communication skills. In this episode we got together to talk specifically about listening – the benefits of active listening and some simple steps to make sure we are all making the most of our conversations, either with new business prospects, our existing clients, even out teams.

As always we have a giveaway for you. Listen in to find out how to win a copy of Catherine’s recommended read: Do Listen by Bobette Buster

EP31: A client perspective | Julia Howe | 20th Century Fox

August 6th, 2019

With 30 episodes under our belt if feels like the right time to get another client perspective on all things new business and the client and agency relationship.

Our guest this month is Julia Howe. Julia has enjoyed a globetrotting career on both sides of the client and agency fence, and is currently EVP and Co-Head of Global Marketing at 20th Century Fox.

Julia joins us from LA to share her first-hand experience of how agencies really can make a difference when prospecting, pitching and nurturing their client relationships.

Let us not assume that the agencies who are pitching for, or working with behemoth global accounts such as Fox are getting everything right! If ever there was an episode of Small Spark Theory to truly highlight now paying attention to the small stuff and focussing on performance improvement really counts – this is it.

As always we’ll be giving away a copy of Julia’s recommended read: Deep Work by Cal Newport. Just listen in to find out how to win.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

EP12: A client perspective | Katie Pattison | Hammerson plc

December 5th, 2017

In episode 10 we gained some fantastic insight into best pitch practice from Tony Spong at AAR. Tony’s intermediary experience – seeing the process from a client and agency perspective, got us thinking how useful it would be to involve some clients in our future episodes.

So, we finish the year with the first of our client perspective episodes. Katie Pattison has been managing marketing budgets at FTSE100 businesses for 25 years, during which time she has hired agencies of all shapes, sizes, and disciplines.

In this interview, Katie shares her experience of agency new business approaches, lasting agency relationships, and her top tips or gaining and retaining clients.

As always, we’ll be giving away a copy of Katie’s recommended read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Listen in to find out how to win.

We’ve loved producing Small Spark Theory this year and have been overwhelmed by your feedback. We’ll be back in the New Year, chatting with more clients and experts and will be unveiling details of a very special Small Spark Theory event. For more details, sign up for our newsletter here or for more information on improving your agency new businesses effectiveness, please get in touch here.

Have a wonderful festive break and see you in 2018.

EP11: Negotiation | Hilary Gallo

November 6th, 2017

Whether going into battle with procurement to defend agency day rates, or agreeing the scope of a project for the available client budget – our ability to confidently and effectively negotiate can make a tangible difference to our bottom line.

In this episode of Small Spark Theory, I’m joined by ex-corporate lawyer, author and negotiation expert Hilary Gallo. Hilary and I met earlier this year at a Business for Bohemians workshop run by the brilliant team at the Idler.  I realised that his approach, honed over 25 years of solving complex, multi-million pound corporate deals and explored in his book; The Power of Soft, was ideal for the many agency teams I have worked with who continually struggle when faced with the negotiating might of larger client organisations.

Luckily, I managed to negotiate my way into Hilary’s busy schedule to find out his top tips. So grab a cuppa and tune in – it’s easier than you think!

As always, we’ve got a competition for you and will be giving a lucky listener a copy of The Power of Soft. Listen in to find out how to win.

Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation at #smallsparktheory

For more information on improving your agency new businesses effectiveness, please get in touch.