Our sister company, agency finding businesses FindGood, has recently published the results of their client agency survey. As a new business agency, we use these insights or incites to guide our approach and to make it more effective. So what were the main findings and what can conclusions can we draw from them for the initial stages of the new business process.
Firstly it was a pretty meaty study – 500 clients and agencies submitted responses to the questionnaire, so we can use these findings with some confidence in the agency new business process.
Word of Mouth (WOM) is, and probably will always be king.
Referrals and recommendations, are behind around 80% of decisions of who should be on a pitch list. So stick to the basics. Produce great work. Be nice. Give great service.
That said, there are things you can do from a new business strategy to influence WOM particularly in our ultra-connected world. Revisit lapsed but happy clients. Review your clients’ first and second degree connections. Go old school and take them out for a hot or cold beverage and ask them to recommend you.
The direct approach works
Clients pay attention to direct approaches. They are prevalent in 25% of decisions on who to put on a pitch list. So phone them and email them to introduce yourself.
Love me tender
Clients put work out in fairly open tenders. Evidence of the increasing role of procurement. But you need to contact them to secure a tender or be ‘visible’ via reputation to get noticed. Many agencies are tender-phobic, finding them impersonal and time consuming, preferring to meet and come up with solutions. Unfortunately the times are changing and more businesses are buying agencies in a more fixed and formal way, so it’s vital you get a process and the right info in place. As they are time consuming make sure you only go for the ones you are in with a realistic chance of wining. Though these are supposed to be ‘open’ your brand profile before and during the process will help.
Don’t forget inbound
Clients look for info on agencies online and in the trade press, consuming content and thought leadership. As well as news and gossip. Make sure you are appearing! A third of clients are looking for agencies in the press and via search engines.
So if the insights from incite are to be believed, the four fairly simple steps to build a solid multi-channel agency new business approach are:
1) Accelerate WOM
2) Approach clients with calls, emails, letters, tweets, carrier pigeons who you want to work with and have a good shout of doing so at some point
3) Ask for tenders and issue dates, but be selective
4) Publish and be published
Good luck out there.