Published: Monday 2nd November 2015

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 and become more discriminating in what you choose to pitch for. We would always advocate having a clear set of pitch criteria in place. 

  • Define your revenue goals (and how you’re going to achieve them)

You’ve reviewed your past performance metrics so how many pitches do you need to win to hit your revenue target? Do you need to invest more effort and sharpen your skills and performance at key stages? How do you plan to do this?

  • Build a list of your client targets

Be specific. Who are those clients you most want to work with – that meet your agency criteria? Is it particular individuals that you’re targeting? The market is driven by churn so you will need to be well positioned to take advantage of client moves.

We view marketing led prospecting as integral to building a valuable new business pipeline – a view echoed by ISBA’s Debbie Morrison at our recent Early Worm Club event. Your marketing plan should detail how you intend to engage with these prospects.

  • Examine your new business tools

Do you have the right tools in situ to achieve your goals? Is your current database sufficient for your needs or perhaps it’s time to invest in CRM? Are there other tools that you should be considering for instance marketing automation?

  • Revisit/refresh/re-write your agency collateral

Start by asking yourself whether your agency selling proposition is clear and compelling enough to be understood and remembered.

Is your narrative, as expressed in your credentials, coherent?

Do your case studies support your proposition?

Although all RFIs are individual and it’s never a good idea to cut and paste, do you have all the basics in place and are they updated?

Your website should be a selling tool. Clients, intermediaries, procurement and all interested parties should be able to access relevant information quickly. Your contact point should always be a person, never info@agency.com or similar.

Evaluate your social media activity

Review your performance and put objectives in place for the following year. Your activity should align with your new business and marketing strategy with content to support this.

Resource is often an issue, so be realistic and only commit to those platforms that you/another will regularly update and engage with.

Design a marketing and PR programme

There’s a lot of work to be done here, as you’ll need to consider the following:

  • Creating a priority list of conferences/speaker platforms
  • Ditto events, and whether to host your own
  • Awards and which ones to enter based on your new business strategy
  • Content that will build your agency’s reputation and your new business pipeline
  • Your PR strategy which should ideally extend its reach beyond the usual suspects (trade publications) into the broader news arena
  • Create an evaluation toolkit

If you’ve set tangible, clear-cut objectives you’ll want to evaluate how you’re performing against them. Not just at the end of the year, but checking your progress at regular intervals, learning and adapting along the way.


Janine Abrahams

If you’d like any further help or support relating to any items contained in this blog, please contact camilla@jfdi.uk.com