Six actions you can take today to prospect and close business effectively in a chaotic economic climate without hurting your brand. This is not meant to be a cheesy, ‘glass-half-full’ platitude, but I think it’s an important question to ask genuinely: Is there a way in which this crisis could make your agency stronger? Recently at Sales Schema, an agency-specialized new business consultancy, we centered a live workshop, with around 70 agency owners, on the above question. We are not prophets, economists, or epidemiologists, but we’ve learned a lot in recent weeks, combined with many hard-won lessons from working with 50+ agencies, executing 7,000+ campaigns, and generating 3,000+ qualified brand meetings. Here are six actions your agency can take today to ensure you’re healthy and thriving in 90-180 days. 1.Deal in facts, not rumors. We are hearing a lot about spending freezes, furloughs, and firings. Sometimes the rumors are true, and the obvious cases are in-person-centric industries like restaurants, retail, and cruises. Just as often, we see agency owners making brash assumptions based on one or two data points, such as a single terse email response from a client or an ill-informed news article. For example, it’s easy to assume that interest in event marketing is fading, but we have a client in that space for whom we secured conversations with three ‘blue chip’ tech companies last week - after all, these brands are looking for leadership and ideas to move from in-person to digital, and they have more time than usual to talk to salespeople. In another case, a web services and staff-augmentation client of ours is landing renewals with clients because this crisis revealed them to be the best, fastest, cheapest option [...]
How We Won a Seven-Figure Agency Dream Client In Less Than Five Months: An Unconventional Case Study.
Want to learn how to win your top ten dream clients in just a few easy steps? Then you’re in the wrong place. One of the biggest problems with most case studies and sales tactics is that they attempt to make hard problems seem easy to solve. What nobody wants to admit is that convincing marketing leaders at mid-to-large companies to jump into bed with your agency is HARD. It takes time and effort, especially if going beyond referrals and your personal network is new for your agency. This is where we come in. But going out to the big cold world to win business is a worthwhile mission, like joining the Navy Seals or landing first chair in The National Orchestra. And what’s the alternative? If you want to grow your agency, or simply by choosier about your clients, you will have to develop a repeatable sales process to win over prospects who are problem-aware but not yet necessarily solution-aware. By the end of this unconventional case study, the journey from cold to closed business will feel a lot less murky. The agency’s situation Our client is a San Francisco-based full-service branding and creative services firm specializing in naming, audience engagement, and video storytelling. The agency’s target buyers include enterprise technology firms, e-commerce, manufacturing, and B2B technology, with a focus on companies going through mergers and acquisitions. Common to most of our clients, this agency experienced an over-reliance on referrals, overwhelm and lack of bandwidth, and not enough opportunities to sustain their growth goals. The less-than-tiny text: our client’s strengths Here’s what our client had going for them: Experience. Decades in business, 40+ marquee clients (mostly Fortune 500) prominently listed on their homepage. Positioning. [...]
When it comes to sales, marketing agencies are at least 20 years behind the most cutting-edge industries. According to a Hubspot survey, 44 percent of agencies don't use a CRM, 42 percent haven't defined their ideal client, and 90 percent describe referrals and word of mouth as their main source for new business. It’s understandable. Historically, agencies were helmed by creatives. In the agency of record era, a competent shop could forge relationships, win several lucrative accounts, and keep them for decades. Ambitious sales activity was often seen as unnecessary or even distasteful. But it’s not the 1980s anymore. Nowadays, with internet-induced competition, industry fragmentation, and low distribution costs, agencies have to hunt. Agencies would do well to heed Peter Thiel’s advice: "Look around. If you don't see any salespeople, you're the salesperson." Thiel was speaking to startup founders, but it’s just as applicable to agency owners, or anyone else in a sales position who might not know they are. Okay, so what are we supposed to do about it? Below are seven lessons that will help get you started. Think Like a Medici Not DaVinci If you know your history, you might know that The House of Medici was an Italian banking family who rose to prominence in the 15th century and created a humanist environment that empowered numerous Renaissance artists and helped them flourish. There was a dash of skullduggery along the way, but if you can factor that out and build a culture that personifies being a patron to your artists, you’ll be in good shape. However, there’s a twist here. Instead of being a creative organization that’s supported by salespeople, focus on being a sales organization that supports creative work. With [...]