Archive for the ‘Skills’ Category

EP56: New business leadership | Claire Humphris | Iris

September 6th, 2021

Earlier this year, Claire Humphris was named CEO at Iris, the agency she co-founded with five other colleagues in 1999.

Iris now numbers over 1000 people across 17 offices worldwide. As agency breakaways go, it is a perfect case study. But of course, what interests me is the new business story. Claire has spent the past 7 years leading the agency’s global new business operations, driving growth across the network and winning some of the agency’s biggest integrated pitches.

In this episode we get together to discuss new business leadership and culture, the importance of the marketing calendar, marginal gains and making your own luck.

As we shape up for the final marketing and new business push of the year and begin planning for 2022, this is just the inspiration you need.

As always we’ll be giving away a copy of Claire’s recommended read, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight listen in to find out how to win. 

EP52: Bringing in expertise | Andrew Southcott | Captivate Group

May 6th, 2021

It’s always a good day when someone gets in touch to pitch a podcast episode idea. Even better when that someone is a client.

Andrew Southcott is Managing Director at creative agency group Captivate. Andrew hired me last year to work with Captivate’s new business talent, a move that came as part of a wider initiative to bring in external expertise for advice, support or training on a range of themes across the business.

For me, this is a dream engagement. Mentoring up and coming new business talent is one of the most rewarding parts of my job, but I was interested to explore Andrew’s leadership approach – a growth mindset clearly focussed on development, improvement, and well…. marginal gains!

In this episode Andrew talks us through his experiences of the last year and how a range of experts and outsourced resource are adding value across the business. It’s a fascinating listen, jam packed with great insights and advice.

Breaking with convention, instead of a book recommendation, check out the YouTube channel Ashville Aggregates – for a example of entrepreneurship in action.

EP49: Raising your profile – part one | Sarah Paterson | CommsPeople

February 8th, 2021

Many of the conversations I’ve been having with agencies over recent months have centred around marketing and new business resource.

This is good news. It shows that we are looking forward and taking positive action to create better, more sustainable agency marketing practices. In particular, the biggest shift I have seen is agencies recognising the need to prioritise profile building activity, and in turn realising that there is a gap in their existing team skillset to provide this.

Over the coming months I’m going to be focussing on the different ways we can look at building agency profiles and the varying shapes of resource available to help us do that.

To kick us off for this episode, I invited Sarah Paterson, co-founder of CommsPeople to join me in sharing the story of her lockdown start-up; providing flexible support from a  talent pool of high calibre communications professionals.

This is an ideal solution for agencies with great ideas for connecting with prospects with relevant content, but find themselves too caught up in the day to business to make it happen.

If you need help defining your audience and content strategy then feel free to get in touch with me here or if you want to discuss a brief for support from the CommsPeople talent pool, you can reach Sarah here.

As always we are giving away a copy of Sarah’s recommended read: The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz – listen in and find out how to win.

And of course, if you have a new business or agency marketing question for us, or a top tip to share, please get in touch.

Useful links:

2021 Freelance trends

How to manage freelancers 

Lunchclub

EP46: Presentation materials | Shan Preddy | Preddy & Co

November 9th, 2020

In previous episodes we’ve tackled various aspects of pitching and presenting, specifically with Tony Spong from AAR (episode 10) and Catherine Allison at Master the Art (episodes 3 and 33). In those discussions we concentrated largely on our behaviour – our pitching processes, how we question, how we listen. But the area we didn’t really touch on is our presentation materials.

We’ve all heard the statistics about how much of our verbal vs visual communication is heard and seen, but at a time when we are mostly communicating through a Zoom window and many of the other subtle body language cues are missing, the pressure is on to make sure our presentation materials are working harder than ever.

And as a marginal gains exercise, this one is a whopper! Presentation decks are so often overlooked, either hastily rehashed or totally over engineered. Time spent rethinking how we approach this vital part of our new business armoury is undoubtedly time well spent.

So who better to unpick this than presentation expert Shan Preddy. Design Business Association members will know Shan well as a founder member of the Experts Register and trainer and advisor to swathes of organisations across the sector.

Listen in to hear Shan’s best tips and tricks for powerful presentations (and a bonus insight into the communication skills of the new US Vice President-Elect….!)

Shan’s recommended read is Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte. 

Links:

Preddy & Co

Shan Preddy

“I’m speaking…”

This is also your last chance to contribute to our new year episode about new business habits – let us know your thoughts here.

EP45: Client satisfaction | Alisha Lyndon | Momentum

October 8th, 2020

Back in April this year, Claire Beale wrote this brilliant Campaign article about the client/agency dynamic. It was a rallying cry for cultivating deeper working relationships built on partnership, trust and mutual support and a move away from the procurer/supplier mind set we know all too well.

I’ve reflected on this theme often over the intervening months. In my conversations with agency owners, account teams and new business practitioners I sensed a polarising effect of the pandemic. It has been no surprise that the stronger the partnerships with clients, the better able both parties have been to communicate and problem solve. At the very least, for agencies that communication has been vital to provide the financial visibility required for scenario planning.

Whatever lies ahead, I hope this experience galvanises more clients into investing in the process of hiring agencies, but that’s a big, thorny topic for another day. What I’m interested in right now is how agencies can fulfil our part of the bargain. How can we actively shift our existing client relationships from transactional and reactive to trusted and proactive?

In previous episodes we have discussed the process of client development planning, but this time, we’re taking it to the next level and exploring client satisfaction audits.

My guest is agency powerhouse Alisha Lyndon, founder and CEO of B2B growth consultancy Momentum. Alisha and I worked together last year to re-invigorate Momentum’s client satisfaction programme and in this episode, we discuss the process, the outcomes and share some top tips for building trust and advocacy.

As always we’ll be giving away a copy of Alisha’s recommended read Insight, by Tasha Eurich.  Listen in to find out how to win.

For details of Gunpowder’s client satisfaction audit consulting, get in touch at lucy@gunpowderconsulting.com

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.