Why August is a critical time for Business Development

With decision makers on summer holidays and difficult to reach, August can often be perceived as a write off for Business Development. Many fall into the trap of not maximizing this time and being poorly prepared as you approach one of the most important periods of the year.

On the 5th September, when the children are back at school and everyone swings back into action, you want to make sure you are on the front foot. Your prospects will expect you to be and won’t wait around.

The period from September through to the end of the year is a vital time of year across many sectors, as brand planning commences for the year ahead. Key sectors to focus on are FMCG, Travel, Leisure and B2B – and we’ve generated opportunities for each across content, experiential, brand marketing, digital and mobile.

This is the key period to be getting back in touch with those existing contacts as well as starting conversations with the brands you want to be working with next year. Many decision makers may have unspent budget that they will allocate before the end of the year so it’s a good opportunity to gain those initial ‘test’ projects to develop into long term clients next year.

Meanwhile, other sectors – such as Retail – will already be set for their upcoming Christmas campaigns, but is still good practice to be knowledgeable of that and begin establishing opportunities for 2017. Many of the relationships you begin in this critical period will ensure that you get off to a great start next year.

In order to make sure you are on the front foot, here are 5 tips to make the most of this remaining year and lead you into a successful 2017:

  • Keep existing contacts warm – revisit all your existing contacts and drop them a more personalised and warm message to ask them about their summer plans – and crucially, establish when they will be back!
  • Rethink your targeting – prioritise key sectors and take learnings of the year so far, establish the types of companies you’ve had success with, research and gather insights of companies you may be able to answer business challenges for. Make sure you have your database clearly defined and ready to go for new campaigns in early September.
  • Prepare content – this is great time to allocate time to plan and develop your content plan and assets. Come September you should have all the key pieces of content ready to help keep you top of mind and making insightful approaches to your prospects. Again, think of the challenges you’ve been able to answer this year so far and keep your messaging clear and topical. Remember to host as much of this on your website as possible, gated content can help to harvest new leads.
  • Put together an events calendar – Events are a successful way to meet prospects face to face and gain exposure to a captive audience. Whether it’s networking and speaker opportunities, or hosting your own – if it’s the latter, now it the time to start planning! This allows you to maximise contact over a key period of the year and begin building new relationships en masse.
  • Review your proposition – The challenge will be cutting through the noise and having something interesting to offer to your prospects. You can achieve this through research, talking to connections and social networks to find out what are the hot topics. You can even ask industry expert contacts to review and help define your proposition and make sure this is relevant.

All of these tips should work together. A great example of this is that last year we helped Maynard Malone to re-engage with FMCG contacts and target new clients by undertaking a survey on the Future of FMCG. This helped sharpen our proposition and fed into content such as an industry report and a creative infographic. We then co-hosted an event in September with over 100 brands in attendance. This provided the perfect opportunity to meet a number of new brands, including Yoplait; who went on to become a six-figure client at the beginning of the following year. This was only all possible by the planning and activity we undertook in August.

So don’t look at August as a lost month, now is your chance to finish the year on a high and be ahead of the game for 2017.

Written by Cat Hartland, Business Development Director, Upfront Business Development.

Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss how you can make sure August is a big month for you.

 

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