JodySutter

About Jody Sutter

Jody is a business development expert who works with leadership at small marketing agencies. She helps them generate revenue by demystifying and simplifying the process of pitching new business. Her programs are easy for small agencies to embrace because they take both the agency's strengths and available resources into consideration. She started The Sutter Company after more than two decades of running business development teams for agencies, large and small and spanning a diverse list of disciplines. They’ve included R/GA, OMD, Havas Media and The VIA Agency. Jody frequently speaks at leading industry events around the world such as INBOUND, the ICA’s Agency Transformation Summit in Toronto, The Drum’s Pitch Perfect new business conference in London, and is a featured instructor in the 4As Learning & Development program. Her new book, A Small Agency’s Guide to Winning New Business: 8 Steps to Winning More of the Right Kinds of Clients, is now available on Amazon.com. More information about Jody and The Sutter Company can be found at www.thesuttercompany.com or by emailing Jody at [email protected]

Create a Captivating Agency Pitch through Storytelling

I’ll set the scene: Your agency is a finalist in an important pitch. You’ve got a presentation filled with ideas- In fact, it’s overflowing. You’ve got too much you want to say and not enough time to say it. Of greater concern, you’re not sure how compelling it is at all. Your team worked like dogs getting their sections ready, and the work is good, but when woven together, the presentation feels a little Frankenstein-esque. You take a break, leave the war room, and go for a walk to ruminate. Before you know it, you’re thinking about why you got into this business in the first place. You were planning on writing that novel and then… You think, "Whatever. I can still write that novel someday. But for now, there’s nothing better than witnessing how a germ of a creative idea can transform a business." Each day, you embrace the joys and sorrows of running an agency. Yes, joys and sorrows, because every single challenge you’ve met on the way has taught you something. Each frustrating problem you overcame shaped your values! Then you think about the client whose business you want to win. You think about the challenges they’re facing. You recognize their anxiety. They’ve got some big choices to make. Some are safe; others are riskier. That’s where you come in. And you realize that at the heart of the disjointed pitch deck pinned up on the war room wall is an idea so bold it could transform this client’s business. It’s not without its risks, of course. You’ve done the work dozens of times before—and often with stunning results. It’s why you’re in this business. It’s why you built this agency in the first [...]

By |June 10th, 2019|

The Specialist Agency: An Argument For and Against

Earlier this year I had the honor of serving as the morning keynote speaker for PRGN’s semi-annual member summit in Toronto. My topic was on the five indicators of new business success that I consistently see in the agencies I work with (and, likewise, the corresponding indicators of agencies that stay stuck in a feast-or-famine cycle). One of the indicators is a specialist mindset, as opposed to an “all things to all people” approach. This elicited a comment from one of the agency owners in the audience. They tried this specialist agency strategy at his agency and it didn’t work. It had the opposite effect; they couldn’t find enough new business opportunities to sustain the firm. What did I have to say to that? (Gulp) Before I tell you how I responded, let me explain that I’m not a specialist agency hardliner. In fact, this time last year, I wrote about this. To be sure, I see enormous benefits to specializing when it comes to new business. Pitching for new business is a big investment. The more specialized your pitch, the more efficient your investment. That’s because: Generalists seek out clients; specialists are more likely to be sought Generalists differentiate based on price; specialists can afford to charge a premium Generalists will always be tempted to reinvent themselves to suit the nature of the prospect; specialists find it easier to home in on a consistent message that’s effective for the right audience But I also don’t see it as a stark choice. In my piece, I referred to the proverb about the shoemaker’s children who wear no shoes. This is a favorite to describe agencies that can’t seem to take their own advice when it [...]

By |August 7th, 2018|

What’s Your New Business Strengths Profile?

Have you ever found yourself in a position of being forced to do something you felt you weren’t suited to do, that was a poor fit for your business strengths? My life partner has a small 4-seater airplane, a Piper Cherokee, in which we make occasional trips to Newport or Boston, or even an impromptu flight to Block Island for dinner on a summer evening. He thought it would be a great idea for me to be a pilot too, and I didn’t disagree. How cool would that be to have two pilots in the family? After my first flying lesson, the answer to that question was, “not cool at all.” I’m not afraid of flying—in fact I love being a passenger—but I was surprisingly petrified sitting in the pilot’s chair. I was overwhelmed by all the information a pilot is required to juggle and, what’s worse, I found it all pretty uninteresting. Fear and boredom – not a good combination. Some people feel the same when confronted with business development responsibilities at their agencies, and just like in life, you can't force someone to do something they don't enjoy or that don't align with their strengths. In fact, there are four distinct types of personalities that can fall into the business development category. Hunters Promoters Communicators Thinkers Hunters  Hunters have an instinct for selling among their most prominent business strengths. They’re energized by making connections with other people and feel at ease when interacting with strangers, whether on the phone or in person. Most agencies are not filled with natural-born hunters, which is why they usually fail to sustain any sort of plan that entails outbound prospecting. Neither carrots nor sticks seem to make [...]

By |March 21st, 2018|