At last count, there were over 38,000 marketing agencies in the UK. How do you make your agency one of the few on the client shopping list, when businesses are reviewing their roster or looking to place a project?
Here are our 5 top tips for success in a brutal battlefield that is new business development...
Tips on driving new business
- Socially stalk before communicating
I think businesses like to work with other businesses who 'talk the same language' and who 'get them', and the goals they are trying to achieve. So, I like to socially stalk the marketing manager across their personal social media channels, to get an understanding of how they talk, their interests, age and so on. This means that you can align the 'tone' of your sales approach, to that of the marketing manager, owner or whoever you are reaching out to.
- Give before asking
I find especially with cold approaches, that the only way to get positive traction is to help make their job easier, or to enable them to get a 'Quick Win' that they don't need to pay for. So, from a digital marketing perspective, complete some spade work before you contact them, free site health checks and sector specific Insights will help you put your best foot forwards.
It could be simply checking their robots.txt file for errors and giving them advice on how to fix it, and highlighting what positive impact it'll have. Then, when you come to pitch your services, there will be increased belief in your abilities.
- Emails are overrated, post is underrated
The average manager or business owner will get hundreds of emails every week. Emails are easy to send, but just as easy to ignore. Conversely, the average business has never had so little post. So, breaking the mould will enable your prospect to pay attention to you; make it fun, tailored, unique, but end with an informative note. And always follow each one up personally within the working week whilst your trojan horse is fresh in the prospect's mind.
- Endorse the skills of your staff, as much as your business
Agencies hire staff because they are specialists and great at what they do. The business is just a brand, name, building or a shell. People buy people. So, don't just talk about what your business has done for clients - personalise it, and explain what outstanding results your team has delivered. Get as much positive publicity as possible and use the editorial links to help market your business and your credibility in the form of emails and social media posts.
- Get exposure at industry events and look for positive PR at every opportunity
Most industry professionals, especially in marketing (and even more especially in digital marketing), are more than happy to support and advocate other people in the industry who share their point of view on marketing activity. There are no shortages of industry events, and while many events are perused by fellow industry folk (and competitors!), there are many businesses who send their in-house expertise to marketing specific events to update their skills and learn more. This will create brand awareness for businesses that never knew you existed.
New business tips for owners/directors
As a business owner and director, there's often a few things you can do yourself to help drive new business growth:
- Know your sales pipeline. Don't assume your sales team is doing a great job - it may be helpful to book in weekly meetings to have face-to-face meetings with the team. Here, you can talk through every opportunity and try and see if we can move the prospect along the consideration phase more quickly.
- Invest in a decent CRM system to help store the data and touchpoints. This means you can always revisit any failed new business opportunities to see what you could have done better and prevent it happening again.
- Pick the phone up yourself to five cold prospects at least once a month. This will show you are willing to do the hard yards of new business yourself.
- See it as a challenge and not a chore.