Here are the 10 most important actions that an ad agency must do to build a killer new business program:
- Have a business development plan. The plan could be a one-pager but it must include objectives, target criteria for categories and individual clients, strategies and actions.
- Treat your agency’s new business program like a client job. Have timetables, crystal clear internal staff assignments and responsibilities. A business development calendar with deadlines will help with planning and implementation.
- Put a senior manager in charge. Give this person the time to do the job. Consider a way to get past the billable hours issue. This job is too important to the health of your P&L.
- Think really hard about how to use and manage the power of social media for inbound marketing. The key here is to have a sub-plan for your social media efforts. This is how I rank the value of social media on a need to have basis: search engine optimized blog posts (and agency website copy), then Twitter and LinkedIn (both tied to broadcast your blogs), YouTube, Pinterest, SlideShare and then Facebook.
- Build a client prospect database (Excel works. Salesforce works even better — if someone has been assigned to manage it) and, most importantly, track all in and outbound marketing activities. Data is good.
- Be consistant. Don’t wait until you lose business to ramp up your new business program. Here is a guarantee – you will eventually lose business so keep filling the pipeline.
- Hold periodic status meetings. But, not too many.
- Track all activities. Data and analytics are your best friend. Do what works over and over. Kill what dosen’t.
- Make sure your CEO is involved. Hungry CEO’s are a very good thing. In my experience, No CEO attention = No ACTIVE business development program.
- Stay hungry. Be audacious. Kick ass. This is your chance to look and sound different from the other 3,999 advertising agencies and to drive awareness of a unique door opening message. Need some idea stimulation? Take a look at how London’s Joint uses humor to drive home the idea that they have a few open client categories.
If you need some help developing your program, building your lists or managing your process give me a call.