This post and the checklist at the end of this post is primarily for smaller or start-up agencies. If you are a big, established agency then you may well run a finely tuned new business or demand generation machine already. If you are a smaller or a start-up agency and growth so far has been ‘accidental’ then where do you start with a more proactive, controlled approach to generating ‘New Biz’?
New business is, I think, is more competitive than ever and there are a few reasons:
- The sheer number of agencies of all types. There are 18, 000 or so in the UK alone (figures I have seen vary from 16-20, 000).
- Client (prospect) time is stretched thin with smaller teams and more to do. It follows that decision makers are less willing to hear you out, unless they have a burning need and you catch them at that exact time.
- An increasing understanding of all things inbound marketing means some of your competitors are already attracting more interest than you are.
- Face to face account servicing is still (to my mind) important but clients are more comfortable with their agencies being out of town, in remote rural locations even. Meaning you can’t rely on proximity as being a plus point for you.
- Everyone (minus the 14% who are either awesome or just plain complacent?) says that they'll be aggressively chasing new business next year (making it the most aggressive year since the survey started).
- A vast majority, 80% of agencies say the New Business Director lasted less than 2 years. Of those, 66% said that was because they didn’t have a methodology for new business.
The role of the Agency New Business Director
The point above tallies with my own experience over the years - the New Business Director role can be a precarious one. They can be seen as a silver bullet, shouldering all of the responsibility for magically attracting work. But without everyone's buy-in and senior team ownership, it’s a flawed appointment from the start.