Most agencies struggle with sales. Honestly, I think one of the challenges of business development is that many agencies blur the lines between marketing and sales. Many agencies are getting better at marketing. Technology and social media, and all of that make it easier for you to create content or do an e-newsletter, or have a Facebook page.
The challenge with that is — it’s not sales, it’s marketing. It feels like you have a new business program when really you have marketing activity. In some ways, the fact that agencies are better at marketing makes some even worse at sales. All of that marketing “stuff” makes them feel as though they can check the box of new business activity. But really that’s just erroneously putting two things in the same box that should be in separate boxes.
Many agency owners say to me, “If we can get across the table from someone, we can make the sale.” And what that says to me is:
A) they’re probably punching below their weight class because nobody wins all the time.
B) they’re waiting for opportunities to present themselves as opposed to going out and creating an opportunity that really is the right kind of client, the right fit, the right industry, and the right size.
Take a good look at your business development efforts. Do you really have a sales program or are all of your marketing activities blurring your vision? If you’re waiting for luck and referrals to completely fill your pipeline — is that helping you grow the agency you actually want to build?