This is Part 7 of a 17 chapter eBook, “Agency New Business: Put On That Damn Sales Hat,” which you can download at no cost here.

The eBook covers everything from pre-prospecting preparation to working opportunities to close. 

The majority of the eBook focuses on elements that agencies either often overlook, are too busy to consider, or are simply too lazy to pursue.

The agency landscape is changing rapidly and daily, not only for agencies, but for clients: doing things the same way won’t cut it.

We released “Put On That Damn Sales Hat” as an overall agency new business primer for marketing services firms, so they can put on their sales hat with purpose and confidence.

That Damn Sales Hat

Chapter 7: The Agency Principal Can’t, And Shouldn’t, Do It All

I see it all too often…agency new business driven by one individual.

In small and mid-size agencies it’s often the principal.

No question that the principal is going to know the agency better than anyone else.

The problem is, the principal is the person in the agency with the least amount of time.

A principal making decisions on her/his own isn’t always best for the agency – specifically when it comes to new business, because just like many small business owners, they tend to work in a vacuum.

They think they know what makes their agency different, but the reality is, what they think is different, often isn’t.

Being more strategic, being fun to work with, being hands-on, having clients that have lasted decades is just like many other firms.

The other problem with principals trying to do it all on their own is it simply requires too much time.  No single individual can do an effective job preparing for meetings or pitches or following up after an initial meeting or a pitch.

A team is needed on all fronts.

At RSW/US we push our clients to partner with us and use us to explore different strategies to push the selling process.

If you don’t have an RSW/US to work with, you do have people internally you can tap into.

So just like you might brainstorm for a client program, do a bit of brainstorming on how to best prepare for a pitch or meeting – or how to carry a prospect forward after an initial meeting.

We would also suggest assigning somebody to the task that we at RSW/US take on for our clients:   “Head Taskmaster”.

agency principal

Have someone push you…watch over you…make sure you’re doing what you should be doing to keep things moving forward.

As an example, if you’ve just had a meeting or just pitched a new piece of business, we suggest you map out some different paths, or different tactics to use for follow-up.

Assign different people in your agency different follow-up tasks.

Create a timeline and stick to it.

Assign your own “Head Taskmaster” who can keep watch over the process.

As you’re doing your follow-up,  a few things you can consider doing/using to stay in touch:

-Create blog posts on topics central to the prospect and send them to him/her as a thoughtful, value added way of showing some love.

-Have team members keep a look out for news about the prospect and their competition.  Send it to the prospect to show them you care about what’s going on in their world.

We followed these paths recently for a client at RSW/US.

They had a meeting with a major hospital system in the Midwest and were the first of 6 agencies to present….and we didn’t want them to be forgotten.

Not only did we do the pre-meeting planning to help them best prepare for their conversation with the prospect, but we re-grouped post-meeting to discuss specific steps we felt necessary to keep the agency top of mind and relevant as the prospect worked their way through the other five agencies.

To-date, they remain in the consideration set and are on track with their value-added follow-up efforts.

The bottom line in all of this is…while you might think you’re a great sales person (and you might very well be), there are plenty of others in your agency with the same (or better) ideas that can bring value to your effort to win new business…so use them!

Don’t turn yourself into a one-man band because in the end it will fail you – or at the very least, limit your potential to truly succeed.
The Agency Principal Can’t, And Shouldn’t, Do It All

Mark Sneider
Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.