new business model

How to Win More Agency New Business and Start Driving Business Growth with John Heenan

If there’s any one “system or process” that agencies really struggle to put into place and consistently execute on – it’s agency new business development. You know you need to do it. You know your business literally depends on it. And yet, you let client work and other fires steal your attention from this mission critical aspect of owning an agency. My podcast guest John Heenan and I had an amazing conversation about getting back on track and making sure that new business is no longer an afterthought. He has spent time on both sides of the aisle, on the client side with Sony, and Philips and Uniden and on the agency side as CMO and new business leader. He can show you how to find those great clients and make your process work much more efficiently and effectively so you can implement your agency new business plan both consistently and well. Let John and I help you flesh out an agency new business plan of attack that you can stick to with:   The experiences John had on the client side that led him to working on matching up agencies and clients Why cohesive culture throughout the agency matters for clients Why you must treat your agency as your #1 client Crafting the first impression that leads will have of your agency The importance of getting crystal clear on what your agency is selling Director of Delivery: an important role inside modern agencies to make sure agencies deliver to clients Why agency owners need to get out of the day-to-day and focus on new business What John does differently to help agencies with new business Why your agency needs to be rapidly changing John [...]

New Business Prospecting & Making Your Agency Attractive to Prospects with Chuck Meyst

As agency owners, the topic of new business prospecting is one that’s always on your mind. How do you do it in a way that’s different from every other agency out there? Is there a better way?  Can you truly differentiate yourself?  Who is your right fit client? The value in finding the right prospects for your agency is invaluable, both in terms of time and money. Chuck Meyst understands the importance of finding that match and has spent the past 20 years perfecting the matchmaking sales connection between agencies and clients, which is why I was eager to get him on our Build A Better Agency podcast. Chuck shared his expertise that comes from years of experience working with agencies and their clients. Some highlights include: how a clear focus of your goals and priorities can create something of value for your client and create a better match between you and your client how the word “sales” is not something to fear, but something to embrace, and how to create maximum impact from it how agencies make themselves valuable and different by being good listeners and asking pertinent questions to their clients how to make your agency available for potential matches at his online tool, AgencyFinder without adding extra work. Chuck Meyst has been in sales all his life, from his childhood bike route to CEO and founder of AgencyFinder.com, a matchmaking service for agencies. To listen – you can visit the Build A Better Agency site (https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/chuck-meyst/) 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 [...]

Agency owners: Isn’t it time to get a real agency new business program?

Most agencies believe they don’t have an agency new business program. They say that they their business development strategy just relies on referrals and growing their current clients. And it’s working great. But they’re wrong. They do have one. Here’s how it works. Big client either fires them or notifies them that the account is going up for review. Agency owner wets himself and goes into either a full-blown panic attack or into a catatonic stupor. There’s usually a drink or three consumed. The next day the owner pulls together the leadership team and there’s a flurry of activity to drum up some money. The owner sits in her dark office, putting together “the list” of who will be laid off if the revenue can’t be replaced. The creatives come up with a direct mail campaign and the account service team is tasked with creating or updating the cobweb covered prospect list of about 300 companies. The agency does the new business mad scramble until they either have to lay off some people or score a new account. All of a sudden, they get so busy servicing the clients they have that they don’t have time to keep up whatever new business activity they’d been pursuing. And so the cycle begins again. Want to finally break the chain reaction? Want a business development strategy that you can actually deploy and implement no matter how busy your agency is? You need to create a macro – micro – nano agency new business program. Macro: The macro portion of your agency new business program is aimed at people who have never heard of you or your agency before. There are multiple research studies done with decision makers that hire [...]

Ad Agency Principals: Tired of being treated like a vendor?

<A guest post by Rosemary Breehl> Smart Ad Agency principals are getting a seat at the CEO’s table and they’re doing it by building client relationships. It’s a new day out there for all of us. Competition is tougher. There are now “ten marketing dogs chasing that one corporate car.” CEO’s today are under terrible pressure to deliver revenues, so the last thing they want is another marketing firm trying to ‘sell’ them something. In their mind, marketing is an expense and the ad agency/marketing firm is just another vendor. Agency principals have been trying to change that perception for years. Interestingly enough, now is the perfect time to do it … with a new client or even better yet, with an existing one. When times are tough, CEO’s are looking for ‘game changers’. So they are more willing to listen. In a recent interview Jim Perdue, CEO of Perdue Farms said his expectations of marketing were: “First and foremost, marketing is the keeper of the brand’s health” … he goes on to say that “the health of the brand is critical to the success of the company and … marketing expenditures are not viewed simply as an expense but rather as an investment requiring a measurable rate of return.” And yet, you’re still doing brochures for your client. You need to up your game and start thinking strategically when building client relationships. You need to become a strategic partner and trusted advisor to your client … and not an expense. As long as you are still only delivering tactics, you don’t have a chance. You must act and sound different than your competitors. So, how do you get out of that rut and position yourself [...]

The One-Time-Only Rule (OTO)

I have never met an agency owner who believes they don't leave money on the table when it comes to a change order request.  No agency is great at change orders and most -- are abismal. You have to get a mindset when you are working with changes. When the work has been approved by the client and he/she has signed off, you can move to the next step. Inevitably, somewhere along the way, there will be changes which impact the budget, the amount of time/effort put into the work, potentially out of pocket costs like printing, and the delivery timeframe. The only way -- let me repeat that -- the only way to maintain the same level of profit that you budgeted for at the outset is to create a change order request. If the client wants to change the work, you need to prepare a change order that is the authorization to modify the budget (and potentially the timeline)  for the change/work. Once the work is approved, going back and re-doing the work is a billable situation. Imagine that you are remodeling your bathroom. The original plan that you signed calls for one sink. After you see the single-sink you decide you’d really like two sinks. Does the contractor say, “Hey! No problem. We’ll get right at that and put in the second sink”? Well, partially correct. He will agree to make the change, but you’re going to have to pay additional dollars to take out the new-old single sink and install a new countertop with two sinks. And, you can bet your life on it, a good contractor will have you sign for the additional work and funds required before he resumes [...]

Do your AEs bristle at the word sales?

Be honest agency owner, you know that your account executive team is great. But sometimes they struggle when it comes to actual sales. Enter our account executive sales training workshop. 67% of an agency's new business revenue comes from existing clients (on average).  The people who are (or sadly -- are not) going to bring in those additional dollars are your account executive team.  They interact with their clients every day.  They propose new work, they know when the client has hit a barrier (and maybe needs some marketing help to leap over it) and they drive that client's activity. Sounds like sales to me.  But if your AEs think and behave more like relationship managers, you're not alone.  When surveyed, agency owners had these frustrations about the people on their account team: Sometimes they behave like they work for the client, not the agency They don't know how to listen for problems we can help solve They don't understand the business of owning or running a business They don't think new business or sales within our existing clients They let the client lead too much Sound familiar?  That's why we developed our Account Service Advanced Training workshop.  We spend two days teaching GOOD account service people how to really help grow their agency's AGI, reputation, new business (both from existing clients and brand new) and their network.  We talk numbers.  We talk strategy.  And we talk sales. When the participants leave the executive sales training workshop, sales is no longer a dirty or scary word.  They come back fired up and excited to stretch their wings. But don't take our word for it.  Here's what some past participants have had to say: “My AE [...]

Do you know your agency’s sales life cycle?

Every business has a sales life cycle and communications agencies (whether you're an ad agency, digital, PR, etc.) are no exception.  It used to be pretty straightforward -- you either chased after a prospect or met them at some networking event or got a referral but the face to face happened early on.  Today, an agency's sales cycle is 70+% done before the prospect ever reaches and even has an email interaction with the agency. Every agency needs to map out their sales funnel, understanding that the first three-quarters of it happens prior to contact.  The visual shown here is my agency's (MMG) sales funnel. (If you click here, you can see it full sized). The left side of our sales life cycle shows the prospect's relationship to the agency at the time.  It flows from I've never heard of you to I'm a customer.  The question is how do you move a potential client through the funnel when you don't even know they're out there? You use your content marketing, social media, SEO and active prospecting to capture their fleeting attention and then you begin to serve up content that demonstrates that your expertise could help them achieve their business goals. Once they're paying attention to your smarts, you also need to give them a chance to get to know your agency's culture, values and what it's like to do business with you. Now, they start to like you. That's usually when they actually initiate contact and you have a shot at actively pursuing their account. As you can see by the bottom of the diagram -- you shouldn't leave current clients out of the equation. You need to be re-earning their business every [...]

Dear Agency Owner – no one reads your agency blog because it sucks

There have been a lot of articles, blog posts, tweets and speeches of late that are all lamenting that many agencies are closing their blogs because no one reads them.  Most tiptoe around the "why" suggesting that people are getting more visual (so have a Pinterest board or have your agency get active on Instagram) or we don't read content online etc.  But what no one is saying is the actual truth: No one reads your blog because it sucks. Agencies are out there selling social media strategies to clients and embarrassing themselves back on their own website with blogs that are: Updated once or twice a month Usually about some award or client they won Breaking all of the blogging rules (no visuals, too long, badly written) Only using your own work as examples (again...beating your own drum) I think a lot of agencies jumped on the social media bandwagon (started a Twitter account, FB fan page, blog, etc.) just because it was expected but just like many of their clients -- because the barriers to entry were so low, they didn't bother to think it through or create a strategy.  And now, their Facebook page, blog or Twitter feed is like a ghost town. Here's why your agency blog isn't working: You have no strategy - you just write when you have time on whatever topic is top of mind You haven't allotted resources (time, money, staff) to sustain it You haven't built a community that will share your content You aren't looking at your blog as an opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader/expert You don't actually believe it can be a valuable asset to your business The sad thing is [...]

What’s your new business model?

Every advertising agency says they have a new business program.  Most, I've discovered... have the "oh crap, billings are slow, we need to work the phones, networking events and call some dormant clients" model of prospecting.  Over the next month, we're going to delve into advertising and marketing agency new business efforts in a much deeper way.  But on this Friday afternoon, I just want to share with you this infographic created by the folks at The List. Do you recognize your agency in one of these seven new business models?  If so -- is it the model you think is most effective for your agency or is it just the model you've fallen into our of habit, lack of planning/time etc. Bottom line -- take a look at your pipeline right now.  Is it filled with the right prospects?  Enough of them?  (click here to download PDF of infographic)