Another strong month for the sales team. The two most remarkable things in January were the unprecedented number of rearrangements we had to manage due to global cooling at the beginning of the month and the significant increase in access we achieved when targeting marketing agencies for our own new business effort.
I’m happy to report that most of the meetings postponed at the beginning of the month have now gone back into the diary. Rearranging meetings is the bane of any Business Development Consultant’s life as there is always the chance that the meeting will not slot smoothly back in and occasionally such meetings can slip into a limbo-like state for months on end. We do everything we can to minimise the impact this has on delivering to clients, including;
- Regular contact with our clients to ensure we have the most up to date knowledge of their availability for meetings
- Setting high quality meetings in the first place, with a qualified decision maker and establishing a clear agenda for both prospect and client
- Ensuring the proven process for confirming meetings is carried out
- Factoring in a cancellation rate; we set more meetings than we need to because at the end of the day and despite everything we do, some meets will always drop out
The first couple of weeks in January posed an unprecedented challenge however. Some of our clients were literally snowed in and some prospects were inaccessible on the day the meeting had been set for. Fortunately the measures we took ensured no clients made a wasted journey and the majority of the meetings we had to move in the first week or so have now either happened or will do so shortly.
The increase in decision maker access we achieved when talking to marketing agencies is harder to explain. We were 50% more likely to speak to an agency owner in January than the historical average (which really doesn’t fluctuate much). One can only assume that marketing agencies are looking positively at 2010 when planning their proactive new business efforts, which is great news for people like us. This assumption is supported by the net increase in our client base we have experienced so far this year.
I’d like to report that we found it so much easer to get through to Marketing Directors in January but this was not the case. It seems there is no substitute for hard graft when it comes to winning a telephone audience with a Marketing Director. Fortunately the uplift in successful outcomes once we have got one on the phone, which began in June 2009, now seems entrenched so we enter the year optimistically, hoping to build on a very positive second half of 2009.