Now is always an interesting time of the year for RSW/US as agencies look to 2014 and get knee-deep in planning for the new year.
I say interesting because agency new business is typically part of that plan (if not, it should be!) and agencies are asking a lot of good questions about new business-should they keep it internal or outsource, should this be the year they really push inbound as part of the strategy or how can they finally put a strategy together that is realistic and they can stick to-to name a few.
A recent article appeared in the Executive Street blog called 5 Questions CEOs Should Ask to Energize the Next Staff Meeting and several of these questions actually apply directly to agency new business.
So all due credit to Richard Browne who wrote the article, as I’m taking a few of these questions directly from there, and altering others.
So below, the 5 agency new business questions agency principals need to ask their team now:
1) Why aren’t we winning more business?
(Have participants write down their top three reasons, then share). And if price is a top reason, it’s time to rethink your sales approach-or your team.
The old sales axiom is true-price should never be the objection.
Granted, sometimes the price question is unavoidable, but if it’s consistently given as the reason that you weren’t hired, you’re not showing your value as an agency up front.
2) Who are our most profitable customers and do the companies/prospects we’re going after resemble them?
Take it a step further and ask your team what your current most profitable customers have in common. (And rule out reasons like they’re easy to work with.)
What challenges are we helping them with now?
Take the answers and apply them to your sales strategy-make it a goal to go after those right-fit prospects that share the same traits as your most profitable customers and as you formulate that group of prospects, keep in mind that their challenges will, generally, be very similar-use those challenges to break through to your prospect.
3) Are any of our value propositions interchangeable with our competitors?
Invariably, that answer is probably yes.
So probe further with your team and ask: If so, where is our unique value and are we communicating that clearly?
Are we trying to be all things to all prospects?
Should we expand our range of services (if possible) or conversely, pare them down?
4) Is there a clear owner of our new business process?
This is a question the principal/principals should actually ask themselves first and take a hard, objective look.
Is new business being stalled or even ground to a halt because too many people are involved?
Or is the opposite happening-no one really owns the process and so nothing’s happening?
5) Why aren’t we actively seeking out new business?
If the answer is –”we’re so slammed” or “we’re just too busy,” well-that can’t be the answer.
You simply cannot be too busy for new business.
And along those lines-procrastination is right up there as agency new business enemy #1 as well.
As you and your team are planning for 2014, take the time to ask these questions and make new business a top priority for 2014, however you accomplish it.