By: Cat Hartland
When speaking to agencies about new business development, there are usually three common scenarios:
- The Owners / MD’s enjoy and understand business development, they’ve been responsible for the majority of their clients wins and they love using their network and hunting skills to find more. The only problem is that they don’t get enough time to do it being responsible for day-to-day responsibilities of running the business.
- The Owners / MD’s don’t understand BD and don’t enjoy it (and why should they?) Their backgrounds might sit within the creative or development teams for example, so they’ve never been exposed to the new new business development and perhaps they’ve never wanted to.
- There is a dedicated BD, usually because of the reasons above so they’ve hired an expert usually more focussed on responding to and converting inbound, referrals, RFPs and pitches than generating new, targeted opportunities.
We understand each of these situations, therefore we’re adaptable in terms of the relationship with our agency clients to make their individual business development as successful as possible. We love celebrating with the agency heads and agency BD’s when we help them new clients, and that is what BD should be about, success.
However, there is a common flaw in our industry where too much emphasis is put on short term KPI’s such as a quota of meetings per month. Of course, a good volume and consistency of prospect meetings is a key mechanism towards new business opportunities and this is a KPI we measure with our team as well as others including reach, engagement, briefs etc. but there is a problem if this is the only measured output of BD activity.
We all know that in order to win new business, there will be meetings to be had with the decision maker but over time this has often been perceived as the most important part of new business. I often receive briefs where booking meetings is the only requirement, and that’s when I like to find out what the actual agency ambition is. If your BD person or agency is only measured on how many meetings they can book per month, then that is where they will focus their efforts. But what if your BD person or agency was pointed at and incentivised towards winning business, not just meetings?
- Meetings will be a natural output instead of a forced one, meaning they will be well qualified and well timed.
- The opportunity will be well suited to you because the incentive for everyone is to win the client; therefore it’s more likely that it’s a piece of business you can win.
- A smarter and more dynamic approach will be taken to approach the prospect or company, probably based on insight and research, therefore you’ll gain a good reputation when making cold approaches.
- You will build a better relationship with them because they are as invested as you are to win business.
- They will be motivated and hungry for more, so you’ll keep them. Take it from someone who has been just a ‘meeting booker’ – it’s the shortest-lived role I’ve had.
The key to successful New Business Development is getting everyone focused on the same goal and rewarding success. And celebrating of course!
Get in touch if you’d like to celebrate new business with us…