It used to be that ad agency business development was a bunch of separate tasks organized in your head, in word and excel, in calendars, post-it notes, scraps of paper and assorted business cards. I pulled out an old file and yup, there they were, the notes and scribbles, documents and spreadsheets. Maybe it still is for you? My process was such a black hole of activity but not anymore. Today there are some incredible tools for BD professionals that replace much of the time-consuming tasks, shine a light on hidden insights, and feed data to the high-value things that make a real difference in new business success.
I have to admit I am a bit of a geek when it comes to new software, systems, and solutions. I like trying the next clever combination of code and hardware to see how it might improve my work. The one tool that I am a huge fan of is marketing automation systems because of the many ways it helps me be more efficient and more effective at business development for my clients. In addition to automating many repeatable tasks, it fuels smarter decision making by collecting valuable sales intelligence that improves win rates. And the more you use it, the smarter it makes you. There is a reason why over 75% of marketing executives, your future clients, say they plan to invest in or invest more in marketing automation. It’s a big advantage to them. Why not you?
I’ve used many of the top systems on the market today. I have invested countless hours and days learning and using them for ad agency business development. I’ve been on the helpline too many times, paid for system partners to code and customize, search through pages in help libraries and FAQs all while watching prime BD hours wasted waiting for answers. It’s frustrating to commit to productivity-saver tools only to find they are too complicated and too time-consuming to replace old-school practices. I know the most popular systems are highly rated for good reasons and many people swear by them while others swear at them. Each has its purpose and application. I’ve learned through experience that their great qualities are not the best solution for my work style. I even started talking to developers about creating a platform just for me. Luckily, I discovered SharpSpring, a system truly designed with ad agency business development people in mind, like you and me.
Pretty high praise I know, but you try it and tell me you don’t agree. SharpSpring combines all of the things I want without complicating my processes with the stuff I don’t need. And it connects and complements the right activities together in one platform that seamlessly fits into my business development approach. SharpSpring, like any of the popular systems, isn’t a replacement for smart business development. It’s a tool to make you smarter and more successful. It represents the best of Salesforce, Hubspot, Leadlander, Campaign Monitor, Google analytics, Post-it Notes and everything else, with a simple, easy to use interface that I call marketing magic. For less than a car payment it has cleaned up my desk, made me better organized and put me in the driver’s seat of new business.
What I use SharpSpring for
- A CRM for all my prospects, partners, press, search consultants, past clients, and colleagues – with a delightfully simple contact page to work with
- A website tracker to see when prospects and new leads pay a visit to my website and what specific content they were interested in – I can follow up with relevant next steps
- To automate various tasks like emails, notifications, reporting, reminders, website, calls and meeting follow-ups, birthdays, anniversaries, the list is endless – the time savings is appreciated
- An email platform to create, send and track email and click activity – integrated and intelligent so I know what I have sent and what I should do next
- For prospect engagement tracking, lead scoring and prioritization – my best opportunities are always at the top of the list
- To schedule and track outreach; introductions, reoccurring emails, nurture campaigns, recontacting and retargeting – I set the triggers and voilà, it happens whether I remember or not
- For campaign analytics, email and content ROI tracking – I know what works and what doesn’t and what to invest in and what to avoid
- To share my activities with clients and teams, reporting, BD analysis and optimization, win and loss analysis – status reports are so much easier and more meaningful
- For pipeline management, reporting and forecasting – I know what opportunities are ahead, when and how to work them, and produce sensible forecasting for budgeting, staffing, resources and timing
- Simple and sensible infographics show me what I want to know at a glance – I see just what I want without sifting through all kinds of stuff I don’t want to know
- Full visibility into all the processes involved in business development– I feel in control rather than being controlled by the chaos
I’m sure there are more, but these are my top ten and probably save me a day each week that I can put towards pitching and winning. What’s the ultimate benefit of using a system and collecting all this data? Over time you build rich prospect profiles that give you an advantage when that prospect is looking for an agency, changes responsibility, moves to another company, or rises to the top. You better understand the behavior of individual prospects and the segments you track, engage, propose, and pitch, so you can tailor your approach to what the data says works or not. You gain a deeper understanding through built-in analytics to eliminate the low-return activities, webpages, and content and focus on the most successful tactics that drive better outcomes and better close rates.
If you want to see how mine works, I’d be happy to show you. You have nothing to lose and all of the above to gain and more.
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