In a former life, I worked for a very traditional advertising agency in New York. This place was so old school that the office manager took attendance every morning at 9am sharp and we logged our billable hours with the proficiency of a high-powered law firm. We presented storyboards in tailored suits or dresses with heels, crafting detailed notes for the client communication portal. There was a fully stocked bar. It was, dare I say, Mad Men come to life.
Yet, there was no strategy for growth at all.
Our business development philosophy was, occasionally panic, but quickly forget about it because you’re so stressed about existing projects. Then, it happened — our largest client, responsible for 60% of our annual revenue, decided to take advertising and creative in-house. Three months of financial panic, scrambling, and frantic RFPs later, the agency closed for good.
It sounds like an urban legend, but the longer you’re in the industry, the more stories like this you’ll hear. Agencies often spend all their time hyper-focused on projects to the point where they have no marketing or sales strategies in place. Yet, profitable agencies require a predictable and sustainable pipeline of new clients and relationships to survive.
Today, many agencies are scrappy and hyper-specialized. It’s a big ask to seek someone who’s both a master virtual event producer and business development whiz. With tight budgets and even tighter timelines, agencies are infamous for funneling all of their creativity and work ethic into their clients’ needs instead of their own.
With the help of a sales intelligence platform, agencies don’t have to stretch their staff thin or hire a new business director costing upwards of $170k per year. Here are four ways agencies of all sizes and specialties can use sales intelligence to bring in new business, increase the size of their client accounts, and retain clients for longer:
1) Prospect one hour per day for two weeks.
Whether you knock it out as soon as you start your work day or make it the last item on your to do list before closing your laptop for the evening, putting in the time early sets up a pipeline for growth. One hour is enough time to explore the platform, scan through some industry articles, and start building prospecting lists. By the end of the two weeks, you will have (at least) dozens of viable brands and contacts to reach out to — and we bet you’ll keep daily business development apart of your daily routine.
2) Approach marketers who need you.
If a brand just hired a new media agency, now is probably not the best time to approach them for media services. Efficiency involves targeting brands who will be receptive to your outreach. But how do you know who those brands are? Those who have recently hired a new CMO are at the top of the list, but there are other subtle triggers, too. Winmo’s prospecting publication, WinmoEdge, factors in triggers like marketing leadership changes, existing agency tenure, funding, public filings, and more in order to determine who is pitch-worthy now?
If you’re an agency, you can use WinmoEdge’s daily articles plus sales intelligence to efficiently target accounts that are showing signs of needing agency services. Ask your account manager how to customize your daily alerts so that each morning, you receive a custom email with leads that pertain to you. The better you can cut down on time-wasters (e.g. leads who are not ready or willing to work with you) the more you can focus on accounts likely to convert.
3) Know your strengths.
A common mistake we see agencies make is the belief that their target audience could be literally anyone. Understand what, specifically, you do well and then identify brands with a need for those strengths and services. Evaluate their current marketing strategy, campaigns, target demographics, and spending to see if your offering aligns. Don’t waste time going after brands that don’t require your services just because they’re vetting new agencies. You’ll not only scramble to craft a pitch that doesn’t tell the whole story, but if you do get the business, it will be hell on your account and creative teams to learn new skills under pressure.
4) Warm up your cold outreach skills.
Especially if your primary function is not new business, you hate cold outreach. But there are sales intelligence tools that can help you find an “in” with decision-makers to make cold outreach less excruciating. First, don’t pretend that you’re not prospecting for your agency. You are. Instead, personalize your pitch to the recipient. Some people prefer you get down to business with your introduction and offer. While others want to connect on a more personal level first, bond-building early to make a sale.
Knowing who to talk to is half the battle, but it takes the right message expressed the right way to get the attention of a busy CMO or marketing director. Crystal Know’s “eerily accurate” personality assessments, available on Winmo contact profiles, provide cues on how to connect to prospects on an individual level. Learn how they prefer to communicate, the right tone to take, and even the type of language that will turn them off.