Published: Thursday 1st March 2018

An article published in Adweek was headlined ‘What’s the Most Dangerous Job at an Agency?’ This question of course piqued my interest. So, fingers on buzzers. Let’s have your answer.

The most dangerous job at an agency is … New Business Director.

So it’s simultaneously the most dangerous job whilst arguably one of the most valuable. After all, the successful growth of the agency is largely dependent on the ability of the New Business Director to win new business.

Why is it dangerous? Partly attributable to the nature of the role which is nothing if not accountable. Sometimes due to lack of clarity around the scope of the work and responsibilities.  For some it seems that the bar is set unrealistically high by senior management and failing to live up to expectations means that ‘life expectancy’ can be short.

Managing multiple demands was always part of the job spec – from generating, qualifying and nurturing leads to managing the pitch process; owning RFI/RFPs to creating agency collateral; capitalizing on and creating PR opportunities to managing prospect meetings– as the universe expands, so does the remit of new business – and there’s more.

Rapid advances in technology have witnessed a re-engineering of new business thinking and practice. Yes, many of the strategies that have successfully fuelled new business pipelines in the past remain a constant. But now New Business Directors need to master new skills, specifically marketing skills that build their agency brand. Marketing is becoming increasingly important as a prospecting strategy.

Here are two stats worth noting:

57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer contacts a supplier


67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally


Whilst New Business Directors continue to seek out and nurture client prospects, we’re witnessing a change in the gravitational pull. These same clients are actively seeking out agencies, doing their research online, and have completed over two-thirds of their fact-finding mission before making initial contact.

So it falls to the New Business Director to build their agency’s digital presence –which covers considerable territory, not least through the creation of valuable content anchored in the agency’s expertise. The good news is this is an exciting opportunity that’s there for the taking for those who are marketing savvy.


New business can seem daunting, particularly for those new to the role. The starting point is creating a strategic new business plan, constructed within the context of the agency’s overall business objectives.

Your plan should delineate your role and responsibilities in a way that allows you to manage your time most effectively. You’ll need to be clear about the resources and budget you require to successfully meet your targets and, most importantly, you need the buy-in and support of the senior management team – including their time.

It may or may not be dangerous, and it’s certainly hard work, but for those who are up for the challenge and keen to embrace and exploit new opportunities, new business can be the most exciting and stimulating agency job.


New Business Skills Day
6th April 2018
Cost: £785 plus VAT

At our New Business Skills Day on 6th April, we’ll share our expertise and show you how to approach the business of new business, and how to create a strategic, actionable new business plan – the perfect combination of smart thinking and practice.

Our guest speaker, Poppy Butcher, will be discussing how PR makes a valuable contribution to your agency’s marketing programme, and how you can set up the function in-house.

For more information and to book your place, please contact: