business development

Why New Business Development Should Never Leave The Top Of Your List

Raise your hand if you’ve used one of these excuses for why you haven’t gotten around to putting a strategy in place for business development: “We grow based on referrals.” “We’re going to hire somebody.” “We’re too busy with our current clients.” You wouldn’t be alone — many agencies make the same gigantic mistake of putting off planning for the future. They run from fire to fire, putting one out just as another is starting. It’s all too easy to delay the agency’s vision for moving forward until another less hectic day. Those excuses might seem justifiable in the moment, but if your agency is going to thrive — not merely survive — you’ve got to prioritize getting a plan in place. It’s a difficult task, but the ROI is huge. Don’t Wait for Disaster. An unavoidable reality of agency life is that it ebbs and flows. New clients sign on, old ones move on, and business continues as usual. But when you have a plan in place to consistently uncover new business opportunities, the ebbs won’t hit as hard. Too many agencies only consider a new business plan when their big, gorilla clients are unhappy or threaten to leave. By that point, it may be too late. It just takes one call from that valuable client to send an agency into a tailspin. You’re left scrambling to find a major replacement for the lost revenue. This is an especially dangerous tactic in the modern business world. It’s getting tougher to find great client prospects and get them signed quickly. The time period from the initial meeting to the moment the client signs the dotted line has stretched out considerably. That process cannot begin after [...]

Business development insurance

Drew's note: I've invited John Heenan, an agency growth consultant to share a little bit of his expertise with us here at the AMI blog.  Without further ado -- here's his take on business development insurance. I’ve asked other agency owners and new business directors to talk about about their own business growth advice and as you can imagine there are as many opinions as there are agencies. But what everyone does agree on is that new business is the priority. After all, winning new business is the future of every agency. So why is it so frustrating? There are so many complicating factors that play into the client-agency mating game. A little business development insurance can help. In theory, getting a new client shouldn’t be so tough. Not so fast. LinkedIn has a little over 1 million marketers, and the government counts over 30 thousand advertising-like firms in the U.S.. That is a lot of competition for new business. If you were a brand marketer, how would you sort out the differences among the hundreds or thousands of agencies knocking on your door? How would you distinguish between all those who claim the same things; innovation, creativity, great results, cool processes, big data expertise, and the list goes on. Most marketers say they all look and sound the same. The struggle to differentiate is one of the fundamental challenges for agencies and the reason there are many resources to turn to. The challenge is further complicated by the way marketers choose their agency partners including how they go to market, what services they need, what experience they value, size, geography, resources, culture and many more. There are also many tools to help find and engage [...]

Essential Business Building Strategies You Need to Grow Your Agency with Jason Falls

As an agency owner, you know that if you're not ready to evolve your agency with business building strategies, you'd better get ready to retire. The agency business is undergoing an incredible metamorphosis and most agency owners are running at full speed to keep up. That's where my conversation with Jason Falls, Senior Vice-President, Digital Strategy at Elasticity and author of several books on social media and email marketing, started. (listen to the podcast here) From there we move to agency hierarchy and structure, the impact of millennials on current day politics and the importance of building strategic alliances. It's a whirlwind hour of debate, stories and a few good laughs.  I think you'll not only enjoy it, but you'll also get some business building strategies you can put into play right away. To listen – you can visit the Build A Better Agency site ( and grab either the iTunes or Stitcher files or just listen to it from the web. If you’d rather just read the conversation, the transcript is below. If you're going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn't you get the benefits too? Welcome to Build a Better Agency, where we show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invest in employees, and best of all, more money to the bottom line. Bringing his 25 plus years of expertise as both an agency owner and agency consultant to you, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan. Drew: Hey everybody, this is Drew McLellan, and I am really excited to be with you today. As an agency owner, I know all too well the risks we take every day. This podcast is about making sure if we're going to take [...]