Posts Tagged ‘business development skills’

Introducing the Small Spark Theory Institute

November 4th, 2019

Over the last three years we have received so much wonderful feedback from Small Spark Theory listeners, telling us how they have been putting the advice from the podcast into practice and seeing marginal gains improvements in new business performance. 

In response to this, we have created the Small Spark Theory Institute, providing mentored, online new business and marketing courses. 

Our first course – a New Business & Marketing Bootcamp, is designed specifically for founders of 2-10 person agencies, who want to build workable strategies and plans whilst optimising their results. Over 60 individual lessons and 4 x one-to-one video calls with me, Lucy Mann, we guide participants through setting objectives and a strategy, creating a workable plan, then optimising performance. 

Check out the course dates at www.smallsparktheory.com and take advantage of special 15% discount for enrolments before 31st December by using the code PODCAST at the checkout. 

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.

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.