Published: Monday 1st February 2016

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 the short-term more often than not is the Management’s network, easily mobilised through LinkedIn. Yet we should always be mindful that existing clients offer the greatest opportunity for high gain profitable growth. You’re 5 times more likely to grow their business, and the payback versus new, new business is faster (take note if you need to get invoices paid within 6 months).

Within the medium term, there’s now significant Agency interest in pursuing what we call a Caterpillar strategy:  identifying emerging businesses with growth potential. Knowing how to spot, win and grow these Caterpillars can result not only in incremental revenue streams, but also significant creative freedom and kudos for the agency. Think Fever Tree and Cobra Beer.

Marketing sits in the longer term, serving to build the Agency’s profile, reputation and prospect relationships. It needs to be anchored to your Agency’s new business proposition and aligned to your ideal prospects. Although much of this activity tends to centre on in-bound marketing strategies, there’s significant valuable territory to cover including PR, awards, networking and events.

Successful prospecting is reliant upon a sound strategy, then building and sustaining momentum: engaging the right prospects, piquing their interest, re-engaging. Your pipeline is a hungry beast.

Need to learn more?

Book your place on our Prospecting and Marketing Skills Day

7th April at Wallacespace, WC2

This blog provides a brief snapshot of our approach. We’ll be providing the fuller, bigger picture in detail at our Prospecting and Marketing Skills Day, designed to equip you with proven strategies, insights and practical tools to create and manage your new business pipeline. Topics include:

  • Marketplace overview: the stats
  • Setting new business targets
  • Creating pipelines:  development and triggers
  • Filling pipelines:  prospecting strategies
  • Managing pipelines:  weighting/building prospect profiles/CRM
  • Formulating marketing plans: content strategy/in and outbound
  • Evaluation and measurement

Our Guest Speaker is Adam Gordon, MD of Social Media Search. Adam will be revealing how to use LinkedIn as a strategic prospecting and networking tool.

To book your place, please email phoebe@jfdi.uk.com