Many agencies believe that the role of outbound lead generation should be undertaken in-house by a dedicated resource. That resource will probably have a job title made up of a combination of some (or even all!) of these words – new, business, account, sales, manager, development, client, lead – but let’s call them a “new business manager” to make life a little easier.
Manifest believes that there needs to be a very real involvement by everyone in the firm in the agency new business programme. Everyone from Receptionist through to the CEO and Chairperson.
I was astonished the other day when I had an email exchange with the MD of a pretty large agency who was 100% adamant that he had ‘absolutely nothing’ to do with new business. He didn’t sully his hands with it. It was someone else’s problem.
When deciding upon a new name for our new business agency, we started with a question – ‘What is it that we do?’ The answer, of course, is that we are chosen by our clients to represent them to the prospects with a view to arranging for them to meet and pitch their agency with a view to winning new business.
But is it JUST about fixing up a meeting then? No. For a meeting to be valuable, it must be with the MAN. Means, Authority and Need.
“Does one need sales targets to achieve results?” is a question I was asked a few days back and one the answer to which I thought deserved to be shared because it is one I have come across many times.
I have been managing agency new business people since 1988 and have calculated that I have been personally responsible for more than one million new business lead generation man hours. I have managed more than 300 new business people in this time.
Running a marketing firm of any size is a juggling act. Not only are you working on several different client/agency initiatives at any given time, but you’ve got projects from several different clients as well so it is important to prioritise clients.
Often competing client conflicts will drive staff and leadership crazy. Starting a new project vs. finishing another, what comes first? The clients all the while breathing down your neck claiming “I need it yesterday!”
One of the most frustrating aspects of outbound lead generation for agency new business is one of the most fundamental aspects of it. What we in the B2B sales agency world call ‘access’. That is, managing to get a CMO (for example) to take your telephone call and listen to what you have to say.
It is indeed, one of the main reasons why marketing communications firms use outsourced new business agencies.
In an F1 team there are three principal components that all play an equal part in the success of the team and it’s the same for agency new business:
The Crew – who monitor the performance of the car and driver and step in to fix any problems to keep the car on the track operating to its maximum potential and the driver safe.
- My company has an agency football team.
- The new business team are the strikers.
- Account management are the midfielders.
- Client services are the defence and keeper.
- Every month is a new game against the opposition.
- A new client won is a goal for us.
- A client lost is a goal for the opposition.
- The objective is to win each game.
The first 100 days tenure for a marketing director are so important for agency new business. According to research conducted by ICM on behalf of Oxford Strategic Marketing and Hunter Miller, where they interviewed 75 of the UK’s leading Marketing Directors, 70% either agreed or Strongly Agreed that they consider changing agencies to be one of the first things they do when taking up a new position. We’ve certainly all been there and got THAT T-Shirt haven’t we?
Like most new business agencies we are often asked about conversion rates; both our own and those of our clients. Manifest has been in business since 1992 in the UK, 2005 in the US and has also just set up in Australia. We monitor both our own and our client’s success rates, taking standard deviations into consideration.