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In most agencies when a brief comes through the door, processes kick in and everyone is aware of what their role is. In stark contrast, when a coffee is organised with a potential cold prospect many agencies rely on their creds to speak for them and fail to sit down and think about what an individual brand requires and how they as an agency can have the best chance of conversion.

With 25,000 agencies in the UK, lead generation has changed and having a strong pipeline has never been more important. Sitting back waiting for briefs isn’t going to give you control of growth, therefore a proactive mindset to business development is required in agencies.

Here are our top 6 tips on how to create this mindset and culture.

1. Get buy-in from your team:

New business isn’t for everyone, it is imperative to make sure that you pick a team that is motivated and driven towards the same purpose – getting leads, and converting leads.

People whose skills don’t suit it and don’t enjoy it are unlikely to be proactive. Identify key people with the right skills and then help nurture a team that can cover all bases of the process and react when necessary.

2. Understanding new business goals

The goal of every new business meeting isn’t always to get a brief. Dependant on how cold the prospect is it can take anything between 4-10 engagements with a brand before a brief comes about. The key thing is to plan the outcome and work towards something actionable in the meeting.

Example goals:
Get a second meeting with more of their team
Organise a second meeting with key members of your team
Do a brand audit and suggest a meeting to review this together
Offer a workshop around a challenge uncovered in the meeting
Ask to see an old brief and organise a time to share thoughts in person
Offer a session to co-create a brief based on their goals
Gain insight into the sector and the challenges

3. The Power of an Agenda

A brand needs to know what you are there for and what you are trying to achieve. For any meeting it’s key they buy into your agenda and agree to it so you don’t waste time. Set out the points you are looking to cover and how you would like to close the meeting. A suggestion could be:

Questions on their challenges,
How we can help and our experience,
Leave time at the end to explore how best to work together and achieve one of the goals above.

4. Plan the follow-up

If one of the goals above is a hit then that creates a clear structure on how to follow up a meeting, if not then make sure you create a plan of how you will keep in touch.

Think outside the box, are you attending any events the brand could join you at, have you seen some trade press that could be of interest to them and spark a further conversation, have you noticed something a competitor of theirs is doing, have you added them to your LinkedIn and newsletter, the list can go on but the important thing is you plan your comms and take note of when you communicate with a brand so you can review progress.

5. Measure success and experiment if needed

Most agencies say “we have a great conversion rate” but the problem is most agencies only monitor their pitch conversion rate.

Start monitoring your conversion rate of new biz meetings to brief or pitch and be ready to adjust and experiment with your processes if the figure isn’t as high as you think.

Also be patient as lead gen is a long game but as long as you have enough in the pipeline and follow a process things will convert.

6. Use a CRM or Excel to log progress

It’s amazing how many agencies don’t have a CRM or other process to track leads.

As mentioned above, the best way to grow is to have control of your pipeline and to do that you have to log actions and progress leads. There are plenty of simple CRMs out there that are cost effective for example, Highrise and Pipedrive otherwise a good old organised excel can do the trick too!

What to monitor:

  • Source of the lead
  • Owner of the lead
  • Engagements with the brand
  • Agreed next steps
  • The weighting of the lead financially if budgets have come into play

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

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