We’ve all heard a lot of horror stories about the business development role in advertising. It is one of the most maligned jobs at the agency. BD people are often the scapegoat for bigger more systemic problems. Hero one day and heal the next. Despite these factors, BD people are so often the first to arrive and the last to leave and never hesitate to lend a hand.
If you are wondering if your agency should have a dedicated BD person or are new to the role or are considering a business development job at an agency, you should read on. Straight from the source, I asked business development pros from a broad range of agencies to share one piece of advice to the next generation of Business Development professionals.
- Stay calm, don’t panic, follow your gut
- Flexibility is key
- Learn everything you can about our industry. It's a beast, and it changes every day
- Make your clients money; they will always remember you
- Know your prospects business and offer solutions to help with their objectives
- Bring your prospects important, relevant information which they do not already know. Without this, why should they spend their time talking to YOU?
- If you're not having fun, the client knows it
- Push yourself to network, network, network
- Hustle 24x7 and stay in touch with everyone. And read the WSJ every day
- Always look for commonalities between prospect and current/past clients; companies want the assurance that you have done the work before
- Go back to basics in terms of creating a process but be smart about it. Don't chase everything, pick a category and work it
- There are 4 keys to new business success at an agency
- industry expertise
- channel/service expertise
- Focus your efforts on developing/highlighting these areas for your agency and you will have success! It's not all or nothing, but some combination that usually helps to set you apart from the competition
- Get super targeted in your approach and make sure you know who you want to go after and why and always, always frame your story to your audience
- Get help. You can't do it alone. It's a very tough business, and the BD leader is not a one-man show
- Don't be afraid to ask for support
- Study lead nurture strategy
- Make it fun. New Business to the rest of the agency feels like extra work. But you can make it feel like the best project they've ever worked on. Take stress out of the equation
- Focus on 1 thing, do it well, then move on to the next thing
- Treat it as a SALES POSITION
- Learn how to say no
- It's all about the work and the results it creates
- Be nice to and stay in touch with everyone you ever work with
- Take the time to personalize your outreach. If you don't begin your outreach talking exclusively about that person and their world, you are every other person trying to contact them and are forgettable
- Dont' be afraid to make calls and know when to take NO for an answer
- Understand the role of technology in marketing and don't be afraid to challenge your prospects
- Cold calling is dead. You must be found at a time and place of the prospects choosing
- Learn from each loss to get better each time at bat
- Never stop Prospecting
- Do not give up!
What advice would you give to your new business pro? How do you keep them inspired and energized for the next big opportunity? Despite the odds, the disappointments, and the chaos, new business is the future of every agency, and your new business pro is your key to success. Lets Grow!
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