I was reading a post from Steve W. Martin’s Heavy Hitter Sales Blog called Top Reasons Salespeople Lose Business and reading the below quote, agency differentiation loomed large in my mind:
The vendor we chose has a group of smart, dedicated, customer-oriented people. To a great degree, I don’t think their products and services are different from their competitors’. They distinguish themselves with their people.
Think about this quote within the context of your own agency and how you view your own agency differentiation.
While you may think your agency is utterly unique, and to be fair it may be, in the prospect’s eyes, chances are you’re still lumped in with all the other agencies vying for her/his attention.
As you well know, you’ve got to differentiate yourself and one way to do it-
Utilize that amazing team you have.
You do have an amazing team, right?
It starts at the very beginning with the hire. I like 72 and Sunny’s process (similar to our own actually), in that they have multiple team members interview potential candidates.
Per Ad Age (72andSunny Is Ad Age’s Agency of the Year):
Getting a job at 72andSunny is extremely difficult. The agency maintains a rigorous hiring process that nearly guarantees the people it brings in will thrive and flourish at the agency. Candidates can go through as many as eight to 10 interviews with different folks at the agency, including junior execs, who judge whether that person is the right cultural fit.
Something else to consider: we were at a recent kickoff meeting for a new client and they mentioned, per their Google Analytics page, that right after a site visitor initially hit their home page, the greatest percentage next went to their “People” page to view employee pictures.
And finally, per our latest survey (2012 New Business Report: Client & Agency Perspective On Topics Related To Agency New Business) 60% of Marketers would like the agency’s entire team to present, even if they’re not good presenters.
As ever, you can take this overboard.
It’s not just about plastering employees faces all over the site, your presentations, etc.
You need to get them involved in a meaningful way, part personality and part thought leadership.
These are smart, creative people, so the prospect needs to see more than just their face, on Facebook, at an office happy hour.
A few ideas: have an employee sponsor Facebook for a week, get them involved in blogging for the agency, even if it’s just a few a year and take more employees to pitches where it’s feasible.
You’ve got a great team-utilize them for more than just the work.
Post by RSW/US Director Of Business Development Lee McKnight Jr