We have often been asked about business development in the United States.
- Can we contact companies and prospects in the US?
- Is there a difference in calling in the US?
- Do we know of an agency similar to Alchemis in the US?
The answer to question 1 is yes and we have done a lot of calling to the United States and other countries, but that feeds directly into question 2. There is a difference. As long as you have good quality data, the process is the same, but obviously time differences, distances and geography will need managing. There are also differences in business practice. In the US, voicemail is widely accepted as a tool for business versus just a messaging/screening service as it is in the UK. People in the US respond to voicemails, but in the UK, this is rare.
Question 3 has always been a no. There are some agencies with a presence or “man” out in the US who will do calling, but we were not aware of any agencies, certainly any with a focus on marketing services. However, recently I happened upon Catapult a company who operate as a new business agency in the US and have found their blogs and opinions to be very similar and well aligned with ours.
A recent post discusses who within an agency should take responsibility or be accountable for business development. Is it really the head of the agency? As the article states, “regardless of annual revenue, size or staff, location or agency discipline, all agencies should have that one go to person to advise them and guide them along a growth path”.
Historically, Alchemis has dealt primarily with business owners and MDs. They tended to be our point of contact, the attendees on meetings and our liaison for campaign strategy, and in many instances, rightly so. To a degree, we like the person writing the cheque to be the one attending the appointments to gauge the quality of delivery. However, more and more, we are working with and helping clients to develop much more structure within their agencies when it comes to new business.
A campaign needs:
- A driver – this typically will be the MD or high level Director within an agency
- A lead generator – this could be internal resource or an external agency like Alchemis to cover the hard ground, calling relevant prospects, building relationships and campaign equity to deliver timely and quality appointments for the salesman. Gathering direct feedback from the market, this resource should help to dictate the direction of the campaign based on quantitative analysis of activity and qualitative feedback directly from prospects
- A salesperson – this may be the MD/Owner, or it may be dedicated resource brought in to engage, impress and close new business opportunities. A dedicated resource here is important as it brings continuity and, as such, objective measurability to a campaign. With lots of people attending meetings based on who may be available, you simply don’t get this as one person may be great in sales meetings and another not so proficient
- An organiser and main point of contact – someone who can act as the lynchpin between an outside agency like Alchemis and internal people with individual responsibilities for new business. As well as co-ordinating meeting and diaries, they may produce supporting collateral and information.
It is feasible for these roles to be shared or even handled successfully by one person, but in our experience, it is important that everyone in the new business process has clear and defined responsibilities. If not, who is accountable for what? If you can’t answer that, then you have no control over your new business process.
If roles are defined and responsibilities taken, a strategy can be delivered that is:
- Objective, with defined goals, based on what is reasonable and practical to achieve
- Focused on the market as the lead generator and salesperson will have quantitative information and qualitative views on verticals, agency proposition and messages/hooks
- Integrated – new business channels can be tied together rather than operating in silos, making all of them more effective
Alchemis works with clients to define these responsibilities within an agency, but whether we help or you get systems in place yourself, it is critical to have a structure and plan. If you would like to discuss your specific new business challenges, please contact us.