How to Lead and Grow your Clients

Published: Friday 20th November 2020

The most effective path to growth is through client development.

Now more than ever, keeping and growing the clients you have is essential for sustainable growth. 

Your agency is at least 5 times more likely to win new business from your existing clients than new clients. And yet, most agencies fail to approach this significant area of potential growth with the same rigour and vigour as a new client opportunity.

Moreover, it’s not a choice – given the first 6-12 months of any new client revenue will be offset against the cost of winning it, you will only achieve profitable growth if you can successfully grow your new business wins into established, long-term, growing clients.

So given its importance, here are some tips if you want to engage your Client Leaders / Account Directors in growing your Agency’s existing clients:  

1 Help them recognise the importance of New Business to the Agency. Tell them if they have any aspirations to lead an agency one day, they will need to be able to grow one! It is definitely in their interest to develop these skills.

2 You need to give your client teams insights into the New Business marketplace so they understand what the Agency is up against.

3 It’s important to share your New Business plan with the agency and to make clear the role of organic growth within that plan. You need to have targets and numbers for growing your existing clients that everyone commits to.

4 Never forget you’re 5 times more likely to win new business from existing clients. Make sure that everyone knows this!

5 Tell them that client growth needs to be planned for and not prayed for. Client Plans are key tools in the pursuit of growth. 

6 Equip them with the New Business tools that you use for winning new business from new clients and apply them to winning new business from existing clients.

7 Look at your ideal client profile – are your existing clients still aligned?

8 Ask your client teams to write down their growth opportunities. You’ll have to overcome the hurdle that people are reluctant to share their ideas – as this may expose them and make them think they will be adding to their workload if asked to pursue these opportunities. Ideally, these ideas should be on 1 side of A4 and include the what, why, how and how much.

9 Give open access to your marketing plans – ask them to help you leverage its value to existing clients. This often creates buyer conversations.

10 Hold regular review meetings with the Management Team. You need to get buy-in from the start and ensure that your senior managers recognize the importance of these meetings.

11 Reward success! If someone wins a new piece of business from an existing client, make sure they are rewarded and that they are seen to be rewarded by the rest of the Agency.