Whilst it is possible to win significant business in a short amount of time it’s our firm belief that short term wins are generated by a long term strategy.
Being at the forefront of outsourced New Business over the last 10 years, generating over £100M GP of wins for the agencies we partner, we’ve seen many changes in approaches to new business, particularly with the recent advent of Marketing Automation software.
As the first in a series of helpful guides we’ll be looking at agency best practices and share with you what we consider to be the future model for new business.
A New Approach
Just as we do as consumers, prospects now self educate. We enter car showrooms knowing all the important information already, if we’re buying a mobile phone we’ll check out the latest handsets on-line in our own time before buying.
Increasingly over the last few years we’ve noticed that companies are researching agencies and shortlisting, without agencies even knowing they are part of the process.
Just like we do as consumers, prospects research is invariably done online (League tables, Credentials, White Papers, blogs, social media presence, online PR) to get a rounded view of the agencies strengths, personality and strategic expertise.
Just as prospects have changed how they buy, the new business process has to evolve.
The following method is something we’ve recently adopted to give the agencies we partner a competitive edge. This isn’t something new though, large organisations with vast quantities of data have been using a similar method for years: what we offer though is a model which kicks the traditional approach to agency new business into the 21st Century.
- The Traditional Pipeline
The traditional approach is often visualised as a pipeline of contacts with big numbers of cold prospects at the top which move down the funnel the hotter they become.
- The Future Pipeline
The new approach changes the look of this pipeline from a two dimensional funnel to a 3 dimensional radar encompassing all new touch points. Imagine looking down into the inside of the funnel.
Let’s look at this in more detail
Every prospects place on the radar factors in three key data points.
- What content they consume
- How much content they consume
- What we know about the prospect
For instance let’s assume that we know absolutely nothing about a prospect, theyre not on our database. We know someone from Company X is looking at our site and viewing certain pages which interest them.
We leave certain hooks on our site: white papers to download, blogs to sign up for etc so they do identify themselves by giving their email and company name. From that point onwards we can track what pages they view, what info they consume on our site and their understanding of who we are, their key areas of interest and what they’re looking for.
If you start off by having a database of prospects, the same goes for outbound communication. Opens or Click-throughs identify the prospect so when they visit our site we know what they’re looking at and when.
In the chart the size of the blip is based on how much information they consume.
Should someone enter the process at a regular time of the year then we can assume that’s when they are briefing and we are being considered.
Outbound, Inbound and what pieces it all together
What ties this all together is Marketing Automation software, in our case a partnership with Act-On. From here we track every move a prospect makes and score them on their activity from an inbound and outbound perspective changing the new business focus from a databased stand alone CRM solution to a data-based solution.
Triggers are set up to be switched once prospects reach a certain score threshold based on what content the consume (what they download, time on site, pages viewed) which automatically let you know to give them a ‘timely’ call.
Everything feeds into this system, whether it be opens or click-throughs from emails, blogs or social media – giving you a rounded knowledge of individuals who are interested in your agency. What’s also interesting from a new business perspective is that this creates self qualification and adds prospect to your pipeline which you aren’t even aware of, giving you a self sustaining addition of new leads to follow.
So, what fuels their interest?
It’s important to know that this will not work without continuous production of new content, whether this be Blogs, White Papers, Twitter, targeted emailers or indeed cold or warm calls.
A change of focus from salespeople to helpers is also needed – the sharing of knowledge. This creates an online footprint of expertise across all areas of your agency and a trail of breadcrumbs which lead prospects to your door as opposed to anyone else.
This in turn increases prospects chances of shortlisting you or calling you in to pitch. With this approach you’ll know in advance that they are looking eradicating any guesswork or chance unlike the traditional method.
Let’s be clear, We’re in no way undermining the role of business developers and salespeople. As a business our entire foundations have been built on our ability to build relationships on the phone – and this still remains a key component of our approach. However, the use of tools such as Act On helps better inform and enhance our approach, making us even more effective.
If you’d like to know more about our approach, please click here to get in touch.