Much has been written about new business generation in this recession and, in the main, concluding that selling cycles are longer, budgets are tighter and client expectations are higher, so nothing new there. However, the fact remains that agencies of any size have needed and will continue to need a proactive new business strategy in order to survive and grow. It is a necessary evil and requires investment in finances and time. For many, that investment has been in a new business agency, such as Alchemis.
There is no doubt that signs have been much more positive over the past three months. For Alchemis, this has been highlighted in opportunities and wins for our clients. However, whether you feel it will be a “V”,”U” or “W” shaped recession, my advice to anyone using a new business agency is to look at all the resources available and ask yourself the question,
“Am I maximising my investment in that agency?”
At Alchemis, we understand that employing the services of a new business agency is a significant outlay, and as a result, genuinely strive to do the best job possible in order to generate an ROI as quickly as possible, and that means sharing information and ensuring a holistic new business program, based on a combination of our and your resources.
The new business agency model has always been to provide a high quality caller with dedicated time, data and a structured, purpose built database, from which, we get good results. However, this is one part of the story. You have engaged a new business agency, so you need to work with them to best achieve the desired results. This means discussing and sharing all potential areas of new business, e.g.:
- Ex-clients and contacts
- Internal databases or lists you may have purchased
- Leads from a lead forwarding service
Re-engaging old clients is as important in the business development process as generating a pipeline of new contacts. The difference being that in a number of instances, the introductions are out of the way and the end goal that much closer. They just need warming up!
There is often a barrier to utilising your new business agency to do this. Common objections are:
- “That is not what I am paying them to do. I want my new business agency to chase fresh opportunities”
- “Why should my new business agency benefit from my data?”
- “I have the relationship, so I should call them”
- “It is an easy lead”
- “If I give the lead to my new business agency, any of their clients may use it”
These are totally understandable, but we are all working towards the same objective – business generation and ROI.
It is likely you engaged with that new business agency in the first instance due to your lack of time/internal skills/systems/appetite to pick up the phone. Can you honestly say, that hand on heart, you will ensure that you will speak to all your old contacts if they don’t answer the phone on that first call? We will make sure it happens. One thing you can guarantee is that all the time you are out of the office or doing something else, your competitors will be calling them.
By allowing your new business agency access to this information, you are potentially increasing your short-term opportunities and often the most successful campaigns will have a proportion of re-engagement as well as cold activity. This collaborative approach tends to deliver. Clarity of your key prospect market is vital during an economic downturn. You certainly don’t wish to be wasting your time or money on chasing leads with little or no potential. On the cold calling side, an agency will generate a list of qualified prospects, right for you either now or in the future. At the same time, you need to re-ignite old prospects and contacts.
We can ascertain quickly:
- If an old contact, would work with you again and if so, if and when they may have suitable work coming up. Or,
- If they will provide no future opportunity. If that is the case, we will find out why, which is valuable information, but more importantly, move on to one who might.
If you had someone in-house, you would ensure that they did this, so why not your agency?
Maximise any internal data or resources. Data loses value in a short space of time. The benefit of providing your new business agency with this data is that it will get validated, qualified and graded very quickly, whilst your database is increased with fresh prospects from cold calling. I totally understand the security issue, but at Alchemis, our database is set up to ensure that any client data we receive can and will be used solely for that client’s campaign.
An article recently described new business as the “ultimate conquest”. It really is and more than ever, we need to work smartly, maximising all available resources. Your new business agency is a big part of that resource, so use it to the full.