Seek…don’t wait to be found
Regardless of size, no creative agency can afford to let the pipeline of future business run dry. In an ever-increasingly crowded market it’s very difficult to find a way to stand out, but it can be done.
If industry awards and word of mouth aren’t bringing prospective clients knocking you need to fall back on your core skill – creativity.
Approach your wish-list targets with inspiring concepts that grab their attention. Keep an eye on future trends in the sector and go to them with innovative solutions to help them keep pace. Be prepared to put in the hours to refine ideas that could win you valuable business. According to the Institute of Practitioners, consultancies typically only spend around 1.5 per cent of their income on new-business development; this is a huge oversight, as investing sensibly in the drive for new business can ultimately result in the biggest payouts.
Chemistry is everything
Devote time and energy into determining your ideal client profile – those that would be a perfect fit for your services and sector experience. Start with clients that you’d be excited to work with and aim high. Look for commonalities between them that would inform your marketing efforts and put content out there that matters to them. Don’t be disheartened by knockbacks and keep momentum and energy levels high when targeting.
When it comes to finding potential customers that fit, contacts generally come through hard work, forward thinking and planning. At Equator Design, we are constantly working with people across the business to research and engage brands that we’d like to work with and show them how we can be part of their structure. It can take us up to over a year’s worth of research, engagement and communication before we secure a piece of work with a desired brand. Be persistent!
Involve the team
Your internal culture influences how your company is perceived externally. A thriving culture also keeps your employees engaged, motivated and inclined to contribute to the greater good of the business. They are the best ambassadors you have in your arsenal and are invaluable in identifying new clients, maximising the potential of existing connections, networking and coming up with pitch inspiration.
Offering rewards for new business leads, and involving each and every team member in the process and being constantly on the lookout for new prospects are all equally important. Make it a team-wide philosophy that individual job security and future growth cannot rely solely on what comes through the door.
Be the best at what you do
Too many businesses try to be a jack of all trades and only succeed at being a master of none. It’s not possible to maintain high standards of customer service or take control of the direction of your agency if you adopt this haphazard approach to future growth.
We developed an ‘under one roof’ proposition which allows us to combine talented teams across all packaging design and production disciplines within a single business. This ideas exchange and consistent service delivery at all stages of the packaging design process has resulted in award-winning campaigns which raise our profile and help establish Equator Design’s reputation as the go to agency for game-changing packaging design.
The likeability factor
Companies choose to work with agencies filled with the type of people they like. A likeable team is the foundation for building a strong, long term working relationship – after all, there’s little point in winning new business if friction with the client and incompatible viewpoints cause you to lose it soon after. Your team must be perceived as being innovative, trustworthy and devoted to keeping their clients happy. This will in turn result in clear communication, realistic expectations and a collaborative approach that delivers the best outcomes.
So, by being the best, being likeable and being persistent you can keep that new business pipeline flowing. It’s important not to let the initial excitement of a client win to fade as client retention is just as critical to growth. All successful agencies must continually review their client processes to ensure that all the hard work taken getting the business in the first place bears fruit in the long term.