THE 2017 NEW BUSINESS BAROMETER: COMPLETE OUR SURVEY

We’re now conducting the second round of research for our New Business Barometer and would very much appreciate your input to our survey. The aim is to provide a valuable ongoing benchmarking tool for the New Business community: insights into agency new business resourcing, new business planning and performance, incentives, opportunities and challenges both now and in the future. We hope the findings will be of interest not only to those of you directly engaged in and responsible for new business delivery, but also to senior agency management. Our partner, Opinium Research, is conducting the survey on our behalf. They will be gathering the results which we’ll be sharing and debating with you later this year. We hope you’ll get involved to add value to our findings, so please contact phoebe@jfdi.uk.com and she’ll send you the link. Thanks in advance for your support.

WHAT DO A SUCCESSFUL PRIME MINISTER AND GREAT PITCH LEADER SHARE IN COMMON?

They earn respect from the masses:You don’t have to vote for your pitch leader but if you did, one who earned the respect of the team would win hands down. Pitch teams rightly expect each member of the squad to give their all, so a popular leader who can inspire, motivate and keep morale high, will make the team more successful across the piece. They can take tough (sometimes unpopular) decisions:“Are we likely to be working this weekend?” Since time began, the question most often asked and the inevitable response most feared by pitch teams. The truth is if you’re asking the question, you probably already know the answer. A good pitch leader can make the tough and sometimes unpopular decisions in the interests of winning the pitch – not just about how long and hard a team has to work, but whether the creative work is on-brief, who will be in the pitch, whether to spend £15,000 on research – and everything in between. They are expert in their field, but able to grasp new areas quickly:Whilst typical pitch leaders have years of expertise working on client business, it’s rare that they’ve encountered the very same challenge as defined…

WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND? INSIGHTS FROM OUR NEW BUSINESS SURVEY

2016 has been some kind of year. What kind of year, the choice of adjective, is down to you – so please insert as appropriate. So, how was it for you and your agency? As you write your 2017 new business plan (it’s December so I’m not jumping the gun, right?) what lessons are you drawing upon to shape the year ahead? What will success look like? Whichever way you look at it, it’s pretty much certain that 2017 will be no less challenging than 2016. What are those challenges likely to be? Our inaugural New Business Barometer, a survey conducted amongst 112 New Business Directors between February and September 2016, may provide some clues. Let’s start with an insight from that survey. Women working in new business are twice as likely not to have an incentive scheme in place compared to their male counterparts (42% versus 21% respectively). Given that gender equality continues to be right up there on the social agenda – both in terms of pay and smashing the glass ceiling – this is surprising. And particularly so given that new business is essentially a sales role where incentives are the norm not the exception: 67% of…

WHY AD AGENCIES NEED TO WORK WITH PROCUREMENT

WHY AD AGENCIES NEED TO WORK WITH PROCUREMENT Our New Business Barometer highlighted Procurement as a key challenge for agencies seeking to win new business. Here, Tina Fegent, an industry-leading Procurement Consultant, argues that engaging with Procurement early, developing a good working relationship and building trust, is a strategy all agencies are well advised to pursue. Often an agency person’s view of Procurement is based on agency hearsay and not always on fact, and that is why I started my JFDI presentation with a quote from the astronaut John Glenn ” “As I hurtled through space there was only one thought in my mind – that every part of the capsule was supplied by the lowest bidder”. Yes, procurement is there to manage the costs and all the commercial and regulatory elements of a client:agency (supplier) arrangement. But the role is varied and Procurement is a key partner that agencies have to engage with, as soon as they can, whether it be at the start of a new pitch process or when a new buyer starts in the client organization – and is therefore new to buying marketing. We can pull together the agency long and short list for a…

HOW TO GAIN AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE IN PLANNING NEW BUSINESS

HOW TO GAIN AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE IN NEW BUSINESSWe all know that New Business and Marketing is a tough job. The role has expanded exponentially over the past few years, competition is fierce, clients and procurement teams have become more demanding. And the result is ever-increasing pressure on resource and time.So where do you start and how do you deploy your time, resource and energy? How do you position your agency to win more business, more often?The answer is to gain clarity around your goals and apply a strategic framework that allows you to create the right kind of valuable pipeline opportunities. Needless to say, it’s a road well travelled by the most successful new business winning agencies. So here’s the outline approach: Start with the Agency Business PlanWork together with senior management on the detail of the agency business plan. Their growth targets and strategy (including new services, products, skills and expertise) will define yours. Make sure to agree your new business and marketing budget for the year.Work alongside agency managementIt’s important that you update senior management throughout the year (they’ll be coming to you, so don’t worry, it’ll happen). Signal any areas that will require investment (both financial…

AGENCY MARKETING: A LOAD OF OLD TOSH?

  We all know why and how marketing is changing. We have these conversations with our clients every day. The key question is – are we practising what we preach when we market our own Agencies? Given the growing importance of marketing-led prospecting to fuel our new business pipelines, we need to be sure that we’re doing everything we can to grow and leverage our Agency brands. So we’re taking ‘How Brands Grow’, arguably the most important contemporary marketing book, and will be exploring its impact and implications on the way we conduct Agency Marketing. That’s the plan for our next Early Worm Club on Thursday 22nd September. We’ve asked Paul Arnold to review the book and then run an interactive session – to see which of its key principles apply to marketing strategies that drive Agency growth. HOW BRANDS GROW: SEVEN SIMPLE RULES FOR MARKETING 1) Reach – Continuously reach ALL buyers of your category with both broad reach communications and physical distribution.   2) Make it easy – Ensure the brand is made as easy to buy as possible.   3) Get noticed – Be salient. Be distinctive. Use emotions.   4)  Build brand memory assets – We ignore things that…

HOW TO MANAGE AGENCY NEW BUSINESS AND MARKETING

NEW BUSINESS SKILLS DAY: THURSDAY 3RD NOVEMBER 2016 Are you a master juggler? Chances are if you’re reading this, it’s a safe bet that you are. Throw five balls at a New Business Director, and on a good day we’ll keep them all in motion, on a bad day? Well, we all have those. Too many balls, not enough hands, system overload – sound familiar? So, where to start and get a handle on everything? The impulse can be to leap right into the centre of the action, careering around between the conflicting demands of short-term necessity (I need to get some meetings in now) and longer term Agency brand building and prospecting. And then there’s the collateral, the website refresh, content creation, social platforms, awards strategy – roll up for the juggling masterclass. The good news is that it is possible to manage the seemingly impossible and hit (exceed) your new business targets. Successful agencies do it. What it requires is a cool head, clear thinking and a strategic approach, that starts with one simple question: what’s your goal? Your goal is, of course, to deliver Agency growth, so before you commit to anything at all, you need to…

How To Grow Your Existing Clients – And why it’s so important

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 for New Business people who want to engage their Client Leaders /Account Directors in growing their 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 market place 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…

WE NEED YOUR VALUED INPUT TO THE JFDI NEW BUSINESS SURVEY

JFDI has worked with some 350 agencies helping them to win more new business. We’ve witnessed many changes in the new business and marketing role over the years, and would like to learn more about your experiences. How does your agency structure the role, what are your challenges, how are you incentivized and how do you see the future? Opinium Research, an independent insights agency, is conducting this survey on our behalf. Over the following months, Opinium will be gathering the survey results and producing a report. With your support, we aim to collect comprehensive data that we’ll share with you later in the year. We’ll also be hosting an event – giving us all the opportunity to discuss and debate the findings, and the implications for the future.  To take part, please click on the link below. https://www.opiniumresearch.com/R.aspx?a=7764&as=cO5d39V1r3 If you have any questions or would like more information, contact: camilla@jfdi.uk.com. Thanks, and we look forward to receiving and sharing your insights.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PROSPECTING

When do we feel most loved and valued by Agency Management? I’d say when we have a burgeoning new business pipeline, when those opportunities just keep rolling in. And then we need to convert them, of course, but that’s predicated on the strength of the pipeline. No pipeline, no pitches. Fact. Which is why we need to talk about prospecting. We’ve identified 13 prospecting strategies, which fall into the short, medium and longer term – when you’re creating a pipeline, it’s important to frame expectations. If you’re embarking upon a longer-term strategy, say agency marketing, be prepared for a long haul. The road from initiating contact to conversion is a road well travelled, and often takes upwards of 2 years. That said, we know the market is driven by churn – there are key events both client and agency side that trigger reviews. So the smart agency makes sure it’s well positioned to take advantage of these unforeseen opportunities. Our advice is to balance your strategies between short, medium and longer term, because let’s face it, when the pressure is on, you need to deliver the briefs. Which is why having short-term opportunities in play is important. The bedrock of…

2016: YOUR AGENCY NEW BUSINESS TO-DO LIST

On the cusp of the New Year, I’ve drawn together a to-do list. It provides a launch pad for your 2016 activity with one simple objective: growing your agency by winning more new business. Review your agency propositionWhat do you want to be known and remembered for? Will it resonate with your prospects, influencers, industry, and talent? Review it, is it working? Are you creating interest and securing meetings with prospects? Perfect your elevator pitchIt’s a useful exercise for all the agency staff. Let’s not forget, they are your greatest advocates. I encourage those agencies I work with to articulate their agency proposition in less than 2 minutes. Often, that’s all the time you’ve got. It needs to be consistent. You’ll also find it helps build understanding and confidence, particularly with more junior staffers. Got your new business and marketing plan in place?In case you missed them, my previous New Business and Marketing blogs detailed the essential components for putting together your 2016 plan. With these in place, you have created a strategy to achieve your targets. Get everyone involved and behind it, from the agency leadership down. Create an inclusive new business cultureNew business is everybody’s business, so everyone has a part to…

TEN TIPS FOR CREATING YOUR NEW BUSINESS PLAN

The Christmas season has kicked off and rolling. Hello Man On The Moon and a beautiful re-incarnation of Mog The Cat. The hazy reality of the impending New Year is upon us, which means that you’ve either started, finished or are contemplating your 2016 New Business Plan. Either way, here are some essential tips for putting together the annual plan.  Start with the Agency Business plan Get together with senior management on the detail of the agency business plan for 2016. Their growth strategy (including new services, products, skills and expertise), and their revenue targets will define yours. Work alongside agency management It’s important that you engage with senior management throughout and signal any areas that will require investment (both financial and their time). It goes without saying that you’ll need their buy-in at the end. Review your new business performance for the current year. What was your overall conversion rate and conversion from RFIs to pitches? Where were the opportunities coming from? What was the average value of your wins? Where were your opportunities coming from? What aspects of your marketing programme worked, which didn’t? Working through this in detail will allow you set objectives for the following year…

SIR ALEX FERGUSON – A MASTERCLASS IN LEADERSHIP

“The most consistently successful leader I’ve ever seen”. Nick Robinson, ex BBC Political Editor, on Sir Alex Ferguson. Yes, I was brought up in a family where football was unequivocally a more serious matter than life or death. But it wasn’t football that piqued my interest in Robinson’s quote, a preface to his documentary on Sir Alex Ferguson. It was the fact that Robinson, my hero, believes that Sir Alex is one of our greatest leaders, and certainly the most consistently successful one. Robinson has mountains of credentials to spot greatness when he sees it. During his 10-year tenure as BBC Political Editor, he’s questioned, studied, lunched and travelled with the full rolling cast of political heavyweights. And he’s a Ferguson fan boy (and Manchester United fan). For those who don’t know, (who are you?) Sir Alex is the most successful British Football Manager of all time. Manchester United won 49 trophies under his stewardship, which lasted for over a quarter of a century. If it weren’t true, it would be almost inconceivable. I wanted to know what could be learnt from the most consistently successful leader. It’s testament to the esteem in which he’s held that he is Fellow…

KEEPING IT REAL – LET’S NOT FORGET IN-PERSON MARKETING

How valuable is virtual? How valuable is a virtual relationship? Is it possible to recreate the depth of relationship digitally that we can forge just by being together, being present?  Although a fully paid up and committed citizen of the virtual world, I sometimes wonder about the other one I also inhabit, you know, the real one. I worry that it’s being eclipsed by the mighty presence of social media and the immense importance attached to building online relationships. My preference is for dual nationality. Keeping it real with event marketing We need to keep it real recognising that face-to-face interactions strengthen relationships at an emotional level with prospects and clients. Which is why event marketing is a vital part of the new business programme. An agency event doesn’t have to be lavish affair, but it will take a fair bit of organisation. That said, it’s worth the extra hours if you consider the benefits. Starting with your purpose Events are designed to attract prospects (and engage stakeholders) by being commercially relevant and topical. You may opt for third party involvement to lend credibility, perhaps co-creating research and/or sponsoring an industry expert round table. Well designed and executed, events enhance…

THE POWER OF SIMPLICITY

I was recently re-reading ‘Eat the Big Fish’ by Adam Morgan, and was struck by a story he tells about Picasso. This is it: One day Picasso welcomes a visitor to his studio. On the floor in the middle of the studio is a large block of unhewn rock. The visitor asks Picasso what he intends to do with it. “From that rock, I will sculpt a lion,” the great artist replies. The visitor is taken aback. It’s hard for him to imagine how anyone could create anything from such a rock. In obvious awe of Picasso, he asks the master nervously what –how – where one might start the process of creating a lion from such an unpromising block of rock. “Oh, it’s very simple,” Picasso replies. “I just take a chisel and knock off all the bits that don’t look like a lion”. And there we have it, the perfect expression of the fine art of reduction, of removing all the extraneous bits that detract from a great idea, or a powerful presentation, or a strong positioning, or a honed business plan. Less is most definitely more. Single minded communication –communicating a simple idea, simply – has always…

TIPS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS – DO LESS, BETTER!

Start. Stop. Start. No, not the sad lament of my now “vintage” BMW, rather the stuttering approach many agencies ascribe to their social media activity. Believe me, I get it. We commit with the best intentions only to be submerged by the tidal waves of deadlines, pitches, RFIs – enough said. I’m not a social media expert but I do work with agencies keen to get things going, or to revive their flagging commitment. So I thought I’d share my learning with those of you keen to do the same. Three things to consider: Do less, better. Yes, you could get active on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, YouTube etc. and some agencies can and do. But many lack the time and resource and once you’ve started, you need to treat your friends and followers with respect. Don’t start a party then exit. They won’t be eager to come back again. Choose two or three platforms and be there. This means posting valuable, relevant and entertaining content – every day. Get a social team in place. A strong social media presence is a valuable agency marketing asset– building profile, reputation and relationships with the capacity to strike new business gold…

WHAT CLIENTS REALLY THINK

I recently attended a Haymarket New Business Training Day hosted by Camilla Honey and Mark Clark from jfdi. It was an educational tour de force, offering expert strategies and insights for everyone interested in honing their new business skills and helping their agencies grow. Mark Clark hosted a client panel, which discussed its views of the pitch process – the inside track on what clients really think and value, and what they expect of pitch teams. I thought I’d share some of their views with you (and maybe you’d like to offer your own). On the panel were: Alison Williams, Head of Events for L’Oréal Professional Products Kelly Phillips, Senior Events Manager for EE Tina Fegent, Director, Tina Fegent Consulting (Procurement) Here are the headline discussion topics and a summation of the panel’s responses. How the role and value of marketing has changed over the last 5 -10 years. No surprises here methinks. The shift from pushing messages to engaging with consumers represents a seismic shift in approach, together with the need to develop the requisite skills to feed consumer demand across a plethora of existing and evolving platforms. The primary challenge was pinpointed as accelerated knowledge – the need to…

IF YOU DO ONE THING THIS MONTH… ENTER THE UK AGENCY AWARDS

Deadline for entries – 19th June 2015 Camilla Honey launched JFDI eleven years ago. Passionate about new business, the engine of agency growth, she spotted an opportunity. At that time, there was precious little resource available when agencies needed new business support. Sure, there were organisations and sources of advice for the big agency issues like creativity or managing client relationships. What was absent was specialist counsel on just how to win new business. Fast forward and today, together with her company partner Mark Clark, JFDI has worked with hundreds of agencies, from global giants to start ups and everything in between – leading, sharing and implementing new business best practice. Which suggests, of course, that agencies need and value specialist expertise. As the beating pulse of any agency, new business and agency growth are always pretty much top of the management agenda. They’re certainly top of ours. To be successful, to convert new business, as we know from experience, is no easy task. In an over-supplied, competitive market that’s experiencing seismic changes, it’s tough to leave any kind of imprint on a client’s consciousness. And when we make that painstaking journey from initial contact to pitch success, we should…

THE TOOLS OF PERSUASION – Part Two

The Six Principles of Influence My last blog (Part One) explored the seminal book written by Dale Carnegie on how to communicate more persuasively and win people over to your way of thinking. Another valuable resource is the work by Robert Cialdini, Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University.                                                 In his acclaimed book published in 1984 entitled ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,’ he draws upon a series of experimental studies conducted on those whom he termed ‘compliance professionals’ – those skilled in the art of influencing and convincing people, including salespeople, advertisers and marketers. These six principles for convincing others to say ‘yes’ are: Reciprocity – As humans, we are inclined to return favours – we feel that one good act deserves another. The key here is to identify your objectives and how you can support others with theirs. This can be used to encourage referrals, for instance, or to manage teams with their working processes. Commitment (and consistency) – Consistency is embedded in the human psyche, Cialdini argues. Once we have committed to something,…

THE TOOLS OF PERSUASION – Part One

Winning Friends & Influencing People Perhaps the most valuable tool in our new business repertoire is the ability to persuade and influence people – clients, prospects and teams. Understanding and finessing the art of persuasion has spawned a veritable literary tsunami.  The book regarded by many as the seminal work on the subject is ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People,’ authored by Dale Carnegie in 1936.     Carnegie dedicates a chapter to ‘How To Win People To Your Way Of Thinking’ – now who amongst us isn’t a little intrigued to find out more? For the purposes of this blog, a snapshot of the principles he advocates is as follows: You can’t win an argument. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. Telling people directly that they’re wrong is a direct strike at their intelligence and self-respect. It’s far more effective to admit that you may be wrong, and that further investigation of the facts is necessary. If indeed you are wrong, admit it. Immediately. Start with praise and show appreciation. Begin your conversation in a constructive and friendly manner. At the outset, find commonality in the opposing views rather than emphasising…