Winning like a pro

As our Paralympians continue the gold rush in Rio it seems that Team GB has managed to pull off the seemingly impossible – matching up to that glorious golden summer of London 2012. As Miranda Hart described so brilliantly in her love letter to Team GB we have been swept along in a wave of athletic prowess, mindboggling endurance and national pride. Most of all, we are doing that most un-British of things. Again, and again, we are winning.

 

And as someone who has spent their entire career focussed on winning (the business kind) I can’t help but look at this performance (the sporting kind) and wonder what we can learn from such success.

 

There is good news for those of us focused on winning new business, rather than medals. We really can apply the very same techniques used by those finely honed athletes to improve our win ratios without even breaking into a sweat. You almost certainly know about it already. It’s called marginal gains.

 

Let’s take a step back, if you haven’t yet heard about David Brailsford and the story of his success with the British cycling team then you can read about it here. Its an incredible feat – taking the cycling team from a single gold medal in 76 years to the success we see today. In short the marginal gains philosophy (also previously referred to in business circles as nudge theory) focusses on small (1%) improvements in individual elements of performance which over time positively effect the overall result. In cycling, these improvements ranged from riders’ use of antibacterial hand gel to reduce illness and increase training time, better mattresses to improve sleep quality and wind tunnel testing to improve aerodynamics.

 

In Rio this year, evidence of marginal gains was apparent in many interviews with our winning athletes, and not just in cycling. Teams of people were credited, not just coaches but nutritionists, clothing technicians and medics and more.

 

So how can we apply this theory to agency new business? Put simply we need to step back and break down the process. We need to look at the individual elements of our marketing and sales process and look for small improvements.

 

Here are just a handful of the elements I see underperform again and again:

 

  • Client and prospect data management
  • Website performance
  • LinkedIn
  • Content creation and planning
  • Credentials documents
  • Credentials meeting preparation
  • Effective post-meeting follow up
  • Client development research & planning
  • Client satisfaction measurement
  • Promoting referrals

 

And that’s without the BIG ONE – pitch planning.

 

Applying a marginal gains philosophy won’t be easy. It requires honesty, commitment and buy-in from the whole team. But imagine if you could make a 1% improvement to each of these steps. How much would that effect your win ratio and ultimately, your bottom line?

 

To find out how to improve your agency marketing and new business performance, get in touch.