Some agencies decide they want to land that big client and go prospecting for whales, focusing their new business strategy solely on 5 to 10 of those in the hopes of landing just one.

Aspirational prospects should be included in your new business plan, but this 25th episode of 3 Takeaways explains why it’s not worth the risk to limit your strategy this way.

And what are those risks?

Prospecting for whales risk 1: The Roadblocks are bigger when you hunt whales:

Depending on how large the whale, the chances of Procurement involvement increases. And then be prepared for long, frustrating hours of staring at your screen.

And the size of the whale is certainly relative, so procurement may not be involved, but by definition, this is a whale, so at the very least, you’re likely to jump over multiple hurdles, involving more people that have to be keyed in to the decision making process on the prospect’s side.

Prospecting for whales risk 2: You will have zero pipeline (Or close to it) when you hunt whales:

Although, you will have those other four whales that are taking up all your time, so you have a pipeline of 5. In all seriousness, your pipeline will shrink, and if you have a solid referral network, that’s going to help, but it’s a scary proposition for long-term health.

Prospecting for whales risk 3: Hunting whales is a Time-Suck:

In the time it takes to land that one whale, because it takes time-you could have landed 3-5 smaller, and when I say smaller, I’m talking mid-tier, worthy additions to your bottom line.

If you’re considering a strategy like this, a question for you-

Do you really even want the whale?

Let’s say you do land it.  Whales eat a lot and inevitably become 50%, 60% or more of your business.

What else will you deal with?

A bigger risk of turnover within that company, more handholding (OK, I’m being too nice, I mean more headaches) and more politics.

Here’s what I would recommend instead: Focus in on a manageable number of prospects every month, start with 30-40 companies and add another 40 every month.

And if that’s too much, then start with 20 and repeat every month, and sure, include a few whales if that’s your dream, but balance is everything.

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Lee McKnight Jr
VP of Sales at RSW/US
I'm the VP of Sales at RSW/US. We specialize in working with services firms to help drive and close new business-if you need help with that, email me at lee@rswus.com. What I actually do: drive sales efforts to bring ad agencies and services firms on board with RSW, create content around successful new business tactics and help drive RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. Dig it.