sales

How to End the ‘Feast or Famine’ New Business Cycle

Making mistakes is completely normal and expected. However, the issue becomes more serious when the source of those mistakes is the agency's overarching strategy. If this is flawed, then the business is at risk. One of these common issues is what I call the “feast or famine” mentality. It happens when you hunt down as much new business as you can find, then get so busy servicing clients that you stop seeking new business. All resources go to urgent matters like hitting deadlines, and meanwhile, blog posts don't get written and your monthly newsletter becomes a quarterly one. As new business activity peters out, you start to realize that some clients aren’t happy or have left you completely. So you get the blog back on track, produce webinars, prioritize conferences, and go back the other way -- to the extreme. This back and forth between extremes simply isn’t stable for three reasons: Desperation leads to bad choices. When you’re in famine mode, you have to take whatever business you can get. You need money, so you take any client willing to work with you. Working with someone when it’s a bad fit never ends well. Bad experiences hurt your long game. When you try to make it work with clients who don’t naturally fit, they leave with a bad taste in their mouths. Too many bad encounters with your agency will scare clients away who may have been good fits. It makes your team miserable. Dramatic ebbs and flows in business are stressful on your staff. Not only does working with bad clients drag down morale, but the frequent famine times also make your company a risky place to work. If people think their jobs will be more secure elsewhere, [...]

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 [...]