Panic is Not a Strategy for Ad Agency New Business
How to implement sales intelligence for agency growth.
No one opens an advertising agency because they have a passion for sales. That’s why many agencies only have one dedicated new business specialist or include it in the laundry list of owner responsibilities. By not prioritizing additional revenue opportunities, it only gets done when work is slow or the worst happens.
Maybe your biggest client leaves and now a significant chunk of your annual revenue is gone. What now? The owner calls a panic-inducing all-hands meeting and breaks the news. Then, everyone is given their marching orders to help bring in new business, while simultaneously keeping the chaos hidden from remaining clients.
Creatives scramble to shift their writing, design, and social media skills to internal promotion; account managers brainstorm agency advertising strategies with the same vigor they would a paying client; and execs suddenly become sales reps, calling and emailing brands in search of projects.
Even if the team pulls it off and signs a new client, proactive outreach slows down when work gets busy again.
With the help of a sales intelligence platform, agencies don’t have to stretch their staff thin or hire a new business director costing upwards of $170k per year.
Here are four ways agencies of all sizes and specialties can use sales intelligence to bring in new business, increase the size of their client accounts, and retain clients for longer:
1. Don’t go after just anyone
A common mistake agencies make is the belief that their target audience could be literally anyone. Understand what, specifically, you do well and then identify brands with a need for those services. Evaluate their current marketing strategy, campaigns, target demographics, and spending to see if your offering aligns.
Don’t waste time going after brands that don’t require your niche talents just because they’re vetting new agencies. You’ll not only scramble to craft a pitch that doesn’t tell the whole story but if you do get the business, it’s on your account and creative teams to learn new skills under fire.
2. Read industry news
If a brand just hired a new AOR, now is not the time to pitch them. Efficiency involves targeting brands who will be receptive to your outreach. But how do you know who those brands are? Those who have recently hired a new CMO are at the top of the list, but there are other subtle triggers, too. Winmo’s prospecting publication, WinmoEdge, factors in triggers like marketing leadership changes, existing agency tenure, funding, public filings, and more in order to determine who is pitch-worthy now?
If you’re an agency, you can use WinmoEdge’s daily articles plus sales intelligence to efficiently target accounts that are showing signs of needing agency services. Customize your daily alerts so that each morning, you receive a personalized email with leads that pertain to you. The better you can cut down on time-wasters (e.g. leads who are not ready or willing to work with you) the more you can focus on accounts likely to convert.
3. Prospect one hour per day for two weeks
Whether you knock it out as soon as you start your workday or make it the last item on your to-do list before closing your laptop for the evening, putting in the time now when things are good sets up a pipeline for growth. One hour is enough time to skim through some industry articles, define your niche, and start building prospecting lists. By the end of the two weeks, you will have (at least) dozens of viable brands and contacts to reach out to — and we bet you’ll keep business development a part of your daily routine.
4. Get comfortable being uncomfortable (to start)
Especially if your primary function is not new business, you hate cold outreach. But there are sales intelligence tools that can help you find an “in” with decision-makers to make the process less excruciating. First, don’t pretend that you’re not prospecting for your agency. You are. Instead, personalize your pitch to the recipient. Some people prefer you to get down to business with your introduction and offer. While others want to connect on a more personal level first, bond-building early to make a sale.
Knowing who to talk to is half the battle, but it takes the right message to express the right way to get the attention of a busy CMO or marketing director. Crystal Knows’ “eerily accurate” personality assessments, available on Winmo contact profiles, provide cues on how to connect to prospects on an individual level. Learn how they prefer to communicate, the right tone to take, and the type of language that will turn them off.
Even small agencies can use sales intelligence to make a big impact on their business development pipeline. Click here to learn how.
This is a guest post written by Samantha Stallard who is a digital marketer, writer, and content/branding expert. She is the content marketing manager at Winmo which delivers sales intel that identifies opportunities for advertising, digital, media, and PR agencies. You can connect with Samantha via Twitter and/or LinkedIn.
photo credit: shixart1985 Beautiful blond girl with red lipstick in suit and tie screaming and holding her head, black and white via photopin (license)