Here are a few observations to help you optimise your approach to business development in the current climate.
Firstly, it’s really important that we all adhere to government advice and avoid unnecessary face to face contact as a priority. One obvious solution to this is to set up video calls, Zoom meetings etc.
An approach that is working particularly well at the moment is offering to look at a recent or current (but shelved) brief and offering to work on it. This means that prospects can properly assess what you can do in a real situation, which, in turn, means that any follow up call will be much more productive. It also means that you should be near the front of the queue as soon as that brief is live.
Another interesting point is that we haven’t experienced any decline in access rates (the proportion of senior decision makers we speak to from the number of calls made) or conversion rates (the proportion of meetings set from the numbers we’ve spoken to) over the last 4 weeks. March 2020 numbers are pretty much like for like compared with March 2019 – this means that we are still able to get through to people and that they’re still interested in talking to new agencies. So, if you thought outbound calling might not work in this climate, think again…
A positive impact has been that we’re managing to get through to more senior people than we would normally expect to – mainly due to access to mobile numbers. It’s really important to approach these calls sensitively, ensuring that they are happy to have a conversation at home, for example.
We are also having longer conversations than we would normally expect, probably because there are less distractions whilst working from home. This allows you to dig deeper into their current challenges than you would normally be able to, subsequently ensuring that future communication is more effective.
We are generally finding that there is high level of goodwill amongst decision makers. This is exemplified by prospects asking for a call back when we’re out of the woods, if they’re not in a position to set up a meeting right now. It’s obviously really important to track these carefully.
In summary, there still appears to be an appetite amongst marketing decision makers to reassess current relationships and ways of working and, in fact, an increased appetite in how to do things smarter and more cost effectively. Prospects are also saying that as their current plans have been shelved, they will be keen to move very quickly on new work once it’s been approved. A good strong pipeline will stand you in good stead in the coming months.
We find ourselves helping our clients in all kinds of ways at the moment, whether it’s advising them on how to make the most of a phone based meeting, helping to develop a Corona busting proposition, realigning a targeting strategy or how to keep existing clients.
If you would like to talk through any of your new business challenges, please get in touch.