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Archive for the ‘Painful observations’ Category

When an agency embarks on New Business Development they address their business plan, look over their target forecasts, discuss their ideal position in the market then implement the appropriate strategy to achieve those targets. It’s a lengthy process and requires commitment from not just the Managing Director but the whole team to ensure the business plan is clear and that everybody is aiming for the same goals. NBD is a rewarding part of your business, or so it should be.

Once you’ve committed you’re in it for the long haul to essentially ensure the success of your agency. Prospecting and insight gathering is a lengthy process. The problem is that everybody is desperate for new business, which means clients side marketers are inundated by cold calls, emails and direct mail, most of which are impersonal, arrogant and irrelevant, making it harder than ever before to get through to the decision makers. They’re crying out for specialist understanding of their business, personalised emails that go further than ‘Hi Steve’ and the all-important WIIFM (what’s in it for me) rule.

The Golden Rule: Remember it’s the person you’re talking to that’s important. Not you.

Sadly agencies seem to be looking for a quick fix. They don’t seem to realise how much work is required in-house to provide the right level of engagement that the prospects are waiting for. Why don’t they want to spend time building and nurturing relationships that will eventually lead to fruitful new business?

It comes down to ROI, time is money. NBD is time-consuming and to win new business you need the time to complete the in-house production that’s required, which means taking staff off client work or hiring new staff to focus on growth. So initially a lot of spending without any guaranteed return, but that’s the reality. What may seem like a financial risk in the first instance will more than pay off, if you prioritise and devote the time needed to convert opportunities.

We all know agencies that are great at winning new business but don’t spend the time nurturing the relationship in order to keep that business. In the same breath we all know agencies that have long-lasting relationships with clients but aren’t getting much in the way of new business. How do you devote your time to keep the balance right between them both?

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Being at the hard face of winning new business can be very hard work. And it can be wonderful! And its these extremes of emotion that makes it an appealing career choice for me. That and my over-riding passion for effective communication and relationship building. I have decided to start to study psychology and counselling too, so that my innate abilities can be underpinned by qualifications, and I can help to legitimately resolve internal disputes and breakdowns in communication that all too often are the root cause of why a business is not as successful as it could be.

I came across David Hyner recently, an internationally renowned motivational speaker, and he has developed something called “the  massive goal principle”. I met with him to discuss his Sales and Marketing, so part of my “getting under the skin” of what he does, he gave me his CD.  I would urge anybody who needs a good old kick up the arse into action to buy this. Already it has changed Stefan and I – we are in the process of putting his philosophy into action and we are already more effective.  I have been putting off blogging for a while now due to our focus on delivering for our clients, and also our website has been “in development” for months while I “perfect” our proposition and content.  Well, I am pleased to say that both of these tasks are getting underway this week – thanks to David Hyner.

One of my first tasks was to write 2 blog posts this week, so I dug out an old post that I’d had in my drafts for quite some time… It was a response to a post by Carl Hopkins Agony Uncle at The Drum, talking about how agency business developers are shit. I wanted to post a link to this blog post but unfortunately Carl seems to have taken his blog down from The Drum website.

I have to say, I agree with a lot of what he says.. which may come a surprise as I am one of said Agency Business Developers.
There are so many bullshitters and sleazy salespeople out there that haven’t a clue about our industry or how to provide honest and effective support to the agencies they work in or with, or how to approach potential clients in the right way, that it gives the good ones a bad name.

I particularly agree with the following, “No one understands the capabilities of your business and its people better than you; no one knows the collective experience of your business better than you. No one can listen to a client’s issues and reply in a manner that is believable and deliverable better than, you”

I don’t want this to turn into a plug for my own business, but it’s because I believe in these sentiments that I set Acquire up – in order to help agency owners to create and deliver their Business Development strategy – affordably. I agree that to hire someone to do it for you and then leave them to it is mental. But it happens. And maybe because that person is shit, or more likely because they are not given any support, collateral or guidance, the new business doesn’t come in, and they get fired and then it’s on to the next costly BDM, or BDD or even worse, a telemarketing agency that (in order to meet the targets you set them) send you half way across the country to pointless meetings.

The following point I don’t fully agree with, “No one has more chances of getting to see a prospect or a client of a competitor than the owner of the agency, that’s you.” Some agency owners fear initiating the relationship with someone they really want to work with or simply don’t have the time to knock on doors, network and get out there and meet as many people as possible who will be able to help their business to grow. They may need someone to open the doors for them. Agreed that once a meeting has been set, that the agency owner or someone senior should definitely attend. Most people are comfortable with this aspect of New Business, but not the “approaching people they don’t know” bit.

Successful business development is a mixture of intelligent prospecting, a keen eye for opportunities and fantastic relationship building, in addition to excellent organisational skills, persistence, hard graft, good humour and resilience. I doubt that most agency MD’s or senior management teams have the time needed to dedicate to doing it properly and consistently once the daily pressures of simply running the business take hold.

My final point is in relation to the title of his post – we need to stop giving business developers a hard time – we’re not all lazy, money grabbing and untrustworthy. Most of us work bloody hard and are dedicated to getting results for our employers or our clients. More often than not, we’re not given the support we need. You only need to look at the amount of sales training and development given in any other industry. Compare this to our own and it’s not difficult to see why we have problems.  This is one of my missions – improving the support and development that business developers in our industry are given. But for now, I’m concentrating on one massive goal at a time…
As a parting comment, I highly recommend these blog posts (from Tom Knutson, founder of New Business Intel in Atlanta) to any agency owners who are embarking on a new business development drive:

Creating an ad agency new business plan step 1

Creating an ad agency new business plan step 2

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http://news.uk.msn.com/odd-news/article.aspx?cp-documentid=11333607#toolbar

Dog shoots man in freak accident

A hunter was shot in the bottom by his dog when it jumped into his boat and landed on his gun’s trigger.

Matthew Marcum was preparing to set out on an expedition in Portland, Oregan, when the accident happened.

Recovering after hospital treatment Mr Marcum said he held no grudge against three-year-old Labrador, Drake, who he described as “a good dog”.

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Ok, slightly overdramatic title (but hey- thats me!) but thats how I feel right now.   Seriously, I have been through so much change over the past couple of months its amazing!  I have been seeing a therapist to get my head around why I jilted the man I once loved who I was engaged to, and as a result of that, it feels as though I know who I am now, I have a better sense of self, and starting to become more aware of the world around me, and how I am perceived.  Maybe its a combination of that and getting older – one more year to go and then I hit the big 30.  Its a fantastic life changing experience, that I would recommend to anyone..  although at times its very hard, and you wish you could go back to blissful ignorance, but on the whole.. bring it on!

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Scary stuff.. I was out last night for a New Business debate at the Circle and was really scared walking to and from my car – never seen or heard anything like it..

Here is an extract from an email I just received from a friend of mine who works in Manchester

Oh my dear god..  who knows what will happen AFTER the match!To give you an idea of what town is like today – see the attached!

Its insane – I work x10 steps away from St Peters Square and its just as
mad, if not worse (the little streets around it are rammed too)!!!

The streets between exchange square, st peters sq and picadilly gardens
are filled with VERY drunkered rangers fans…its a sea of blue fans,
broken glass, vodka bottles and beer cans!

I was v late this morning simply because there was a swarm of thousands
of plastered fans staggering the streets!

I’m actually scared to leave my building…when I popped out for lunch,
I struggled to get back and I couldn’t get through the barrier (the area
is sectioned off just by my works door) – saw blokes weeing everywhere,
fans passed out, had to step over cans and bottles in my new shoeshies &
thought I was going to get trampled on! “

Update – they are now turning the streets of Manchester into rivers of piss..turning the streets of Manchester into one big urinal

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The longer I work in this industry, the more I come across successful business people, who don’t seem to have a clue!! I make simple observations, that seem like common sense to me, but often go completely overlooked.

I really believe that the most important traits in business are to be open and honest and admit to being human. People relate to people who display human traits, who mess up every once in a while, who are passionate, who take risks, who trust their staff. Life is built upon a network of relationships, the same for your professional life as your personal. So few people recognise that. The better the relationship, (with suppliers, clients, staff etc) the better your business. Yet why is it that most businesses completely overlook internal comms? They keep their staff in the dark about changes and then wonder why they have an unmotivated workforce and poor output.

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