I was privileged to be a part of a series of new business roundtables recently, and the topic that came up more than any other was the struggle agencies have in breaking through to prospects.

Not a new thing-in our 2017 Agency-Marketer New Business Report, 69% of agencies told us breaking through to prospects was their biggest new business challenge.

Without a doubt, it is a formidable challenge, but at the very start, quite a few agencies buy into convenient fallacies that undermine their prospecting efforts.

I want to dig into several of these:

-We’re amazing, prospects should inherently understand that

A little over the top, I know, but far too many agencies have this mindset, and so they think they don’t need case studies, content or a site built for potential clients. Doesn’t work that way. You can be the most amazing agency in the world, but-

New business osmosis is not a thing. 

You need to lay it all out on the table for prospects to see.

-We’ll start prospecting when we have all the tools we need

This one may sound odd, but my point is, stop waiting for all the things you need and just get started.  Yes, you need the right tools and content to prospect effectively, but it also takes time to and money to acquire all you need.

In the meantime, that simply becomes an excuse to avoid the work you need to do.  Work on those tools and your content and case studies, and while you’re doing that, find a convincing third-party article akin to your vertical/verticals and get it out to your prospects.

-Phone/email/social/mail are no longer effective channels/tools.

Wrong. I always find it amusing when we get pushback that mail is no longer a viable prospecting tool, or calling a prospect no longer works.  You have to use every channel.  Period.  Because one prospect, fair enough, may be virtually unreachable by phone.  So send a letter, use LinkedIn, send an email.

Agencies give up too easily.

That’s really what it comes down to.  It’s a not a knock, to be fair, it’s generally not in the DNA. However, the sales axiom that it takes 6-8 touches rings true today.  And we’ve done internal number-crunching on all our verticals, sometimes it takes as many as 12 touches to break through.

Another reason why you have to use every channel available to you.  12 phone calls will just annoy your prospect.

-Creating content is a waste-prospects don’t read it

Don’t buy into that.  From our own research: 57% of marketers read agency newsletters and 43% read agency blogs.

It is disheartening when you work on a piece of content and you initially hear crickets.

But that’s why you minimally have to use a piece of content at least 5 different ways.  You have to milk it.

And I’ll leave you with this: the roundtables I mentioned at the beginning of this post occurred at an AMI network conference, and during a presentation, Robert Rose, from The Content Advisory, said at one point (and I paraphrase):

The Cobbler’s Children can’t be a thing anymore. It just can’t.

The opportunities are out there, but you have to put the consistent work behind it.  Simple but true.

Lee McKnight Jr on EmailLee McKnight Jr on LinkedinLee McKnight Jr on TwitterLee McKnight Jr on Youtube
Lee McKnight Jr
VP of Sales
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.