The great dilemma: hire an outsourced company like RSW/US or hire an internal new business person, perhaps one who has the fabled “ultimate agency new business Rolodex”-it’s a difficult decision.

I’m not going to give you all the self-serving reasons why you should go with a company like ours, because we’re not always the right fit, and it goes both ways, some agencies aren’t the right fit for us.

I talked with an agency principal recently who fell into a particular subset-that agency who went the internal new business person route and it didn’t work.

There can be any number of reasons why that happens, but this one, in particular, was interesting.

When they initially hired her, the big draw was the giant Rolodex she brought with her.

There were assurances, and apparently all in good faith, that the Rolodex would be her key focus and underpinning of the effort.

Sounds great, right?

Not so much, at least in this case.  A couple of things didn’t work out the way she had planned.

The Ultimate Agency New Business Rolodex-Hitting up your friends. . .

Not the easiest thing to do when it comes to business.

So while there were a plethora of contacts, and they were at the right companies (and they were good companies) this particular new business person found that she was fairly close to a lot of the contacts in the Rolodex, and found it much harder than expected to approach and prospect them.

The next problem was an extension of the first: those contacts who weren’t close associates, she still couldn’t sell very well.

She was a vivacious and charismatic networker, but in this specific case, it didn’t translate to being an effective new business person.

Basket, meet all the eggs. . .

And last, it became quickly evident that the Rolodex was the new business plan.

Other than that, no comprehensive strategy, content marketing or awareness in the mix.

Agency New Business Rolodex

I can’t wrap this up without saying that, of course, internal new business people can work, and for that matter work very well.

But do be aware of the grand promise of the Rolodex.

I often say to agencies considering our services, if you have, or find, a great new business person, never let them go.

If you take the internal route, make sure you’re not hiring a myth and there’s a plan to back up that killer set of contacts.

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 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.