Author Archive

Preempting A Review From Mirren’s Brent Hodges

Preempting A Review From Mirren's Brent Hodges

When a new decision maker arrives, when do you move to preempting a review? It can hit like a ton of bricks – the client call where you’re told that a full review has been called for your portion of their business. Even in a project-based world, your goal is to retain all current scope – and increase it. One of the key drivers client-side that influences a significant shift in scope across roster agencies is the arrival of a new senior decision-maker. This creates one of the most feared agency challenges: becoming an “incumbent,” or worse, being removed from the roster.

In this brief video with Mirren’s Brent Hodgins, he addresses the Mirren CEO Summit about the first thing to do when you find yourself in this situation. Miss this critical opportunity and your odds of retaining any of the business drops by the minute.

Learn more about the annual Mirren CEO Summit at https://www.mirrenceosummit.com/

Preempting A Review From Brent Hodgins of Mirren

It’s the moment a new client is announced.

Too many agencies, I remember being guilty of this too, wait too long. So I remember this happening, I think it was actually at TBWA, where client got fired, new client comes in, I think it was on Barnes and Noble. And we thought, “We’ll let him settle in, we’ll give him two or three weeks to settle in. He’s probably pretty busy right now.” So before we sort of even realized it, a month has gone by and we haven’t heard from the client. And we’d also kind of said to ourselves, “I’m sure he’ll call us, we’re the continuity. We can show him what we’ve been up to.”So after a month we start sending the emails, “Hey, I’m sure you’ve been really busy. Just thought we’d check in. We’d love to show you what we’ve been up to and what’s going on with all the marketing and advertising,”

And crickets. Like no reply from the client.

So a couple of days go by, and we’re like, “Did you get the email back? I didn’t get one either.” Start calling, leave a voicemail, “Hey, not sure if my email made it through. Just checking in.” No phone call back. And then all of a sudden, now five, six weeks in, it hits you like a ton of bricks. Oh my God, he doesn’t want to speak to us, like he’s not interested, something is wrong here. You know that sinking feeling sets in pretty quickly.

But the moment a new client is announced is the moment your full on pitch starts. In fact, even wind it back a bit. It’s when that previous client gets fired. Soon as that client, and now even if they’re still in the building, even if their seat is warm, start preparing your pitch.

We see anecdotally, it’s when a new client comes in, it’s typically within 90 days now. There’s a shakeup on the roster, 90 days, that something is going to happen. Forget calling on the new client to update them, it’s such a turnoff. “Hey, we’d love to come in and show you what we’ve been doing. We’ve been working really hard, got some really good stuff. You’re going to love to see what’s going on, then you’ll know what’s going on.” Again, the truth is here, if the past client was fired due to business performance issues, know that by the way, you played a role in that firing because you produced the work in coordination with that individual. So you’ve got to move quickly.

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16 Must-Know Prospecting Stats For Your Agency

Prospecting for a strong pipeline is your first hurdle in the new business process, and is never-ending and always evolving—influenced by technology, budgets, and how brands work with agencies.These 16 must-know prospecting stats for your agency will help you get ahead in today’s sales environment. Keep these stats in mind as you monitor changes in business development trends and make proactive prospecting a priority in order to keep your pipeline full. 

Here are 16 must-know prospecting stats with insights on everything from email subject lines to response time on form submissions. 

1. More than 40% of salespeople say this is the most challenging part of the sales process, followed by closing (36%) and qualifying (22%). If you find prospecting to be the most difficult part of new opportunities, you’re not alone.

2. 35% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line and nothing else.  First impressions can make or break a potential sale. Tell people right away that you’ve got something worth their time by writing effective subject lines.

3. Only 24% of sales emails are opened.

4. The average person deletes 48% of the emails they receive every day. This task takes them just five minute

5. Most prospects want to read emails at 5 and 6 a.m. Use an email scheduling tool to get in front of all the early birds to ensure you send your message at the perfect time.

6. HubSpot Research found 72% of companies with less than 50 new opportunities per month didn’t achieve their revenue goals. This is compared to 15% with 51 to 100 new opps and just 4% for companies with 101 to 200 new opps.

7. The average salesperson makes significantly more calls in the last month of the quarter. Gong’s data science team analyzed 15 months of data and found the average salespeople made far more calls in the last month of the quarter than the first two. And the success rate of those calls were usually lower than any other month. Devote time to proactive prospecting each and every day. You should be prospecting just as much on the first day of the month or quarter as the last.

8. It takes an average of 8 cold calls to actually reach a prospect. And 55% of all salespeople follow up less than four times.

9. 45% of salespeople give up after just one follow up with a prospect.

10. Even after you have reached a prospect, it can take an average of 18 more calls to actually connect with a buyer.

11. On average, 5.4 people are involved in a purchase decision, and each person’s job function and even geography are often very diverse.

12. On the first call, 6 out of 10 buyers want to discuss pricing on the first call, and more than half of prospects want to see how the product works.

13. Seven in 10 B2B buyers watch a video sometime during their buying process. Use this to your advantage by sending a customized video. Videos about product features are most popular, followed by how-tos and professional reviews.

14. 77.3% of salespeople said their company provides at least one quarter of their leads.

15. At least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what your product or service.

16. Drift tested the response time of 433 companies. Only 7% responded in the first five minutes after a form submission. More than half didn’t respond within five business days.

These 16 must-know prospecting stats reflect uncomfortable truths that sales teams deal with every single day. Ready for some good news? We handle all of this for you. Catapult is the dedicated business development partner to agencies of all sizes and types. Our team of expert advisors will work alongside your internal team to implement a results-driven sales and marketing strategy that identifies and generates new revenue opportunities on a consistent basis.

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Agency Awards To Consider In Q4

agency awards to consider in Q4

Awards are the best way to get independent feedback on the quality of your work. We understand entering takes time and added resources, but the reward is worth the effort. Similar to our Q3 list, here’s a quick glance at the agency awards to consider in Q4. Winning, or just being a finalist, is a huge PR opportunity that differentiates you from your competition. Awards also help your prospects identify who is doing some of the best work and the impact they make on client success.

Your hard work and innovation needs to be recognized. These are the agency awards to consider in Q4:

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Brands are always looking for innovative outside partners, and showcasing an award you’ve won is that meeting point.  It helps validate your work and honors your team of experts. Not to mention, winning is guaranteed to enhance your credibility among clients and prospects.

Great agencies focus on their clients’ goals, and award programs provide you an opportunity to take a step back and review how others in your category are creating success stories for their clients. Make sure you are selective about the awards you enter. Your entry should accurately represent what you do best, and remember to always be honest with yourself about where you stand among the competition. And if you don’t win, make it a learning opportunity for your agency. Share with your team why you feel another agency won, and how you can elevate your entry next time. Insights and discussions around what your competition is doing will only make your team stronger.

As you plan for 2020, think about how you can start off the new year in a big way by earning a prestigious award!

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8 Tips For Closing The Sale

8 Tips for Closing The Sale

Let’s set the scene here: You’ve managed to secure a meeting with a C-level executive for a global brand, and now it’s time to deliver your presentation and make your pitch. What happens during the next hour will determine whether you have a shot at closing the account or not. With that being said, many agencies say their biggest struggle is their sales approach and that they don’t fully understand what an executive hopes to get out of a meeting until it’s too late. So let’s rethink the entire process for your agency with these 8 tips for closing the sale.

If you ask a dozen sales people for their best tips on closing, you’d probably get a dozen different responses. While many sales techniques are as different as those who are executing them, there’s still some tried and true tips everyone should use to effectively close.

Here are 8 tips for closing the sale and winning big business.

1. Earn the right.

Before you can close the deal, you must earn the right to do so. You earn it by delivering on your promises, consistently following up, and showing up for meetings on time, every time. Make it clear during every interaction with the prospect that you are well prepared and eager to serve them and increase their bottom line. Focus each touchpoint on how you can help them instead of what you can get out of them, and you will eventually earn the right to ask for the sale.

2. Make the work the focal point.

Brands primarily want to see the work an agency has produced. Your opening remarks on a call or greeting during an in-person meeting should last no more than five to ten minutes. As the agency principle, you may provide some background of the agency’s culture, but should not waste time trying to impress the prospect with your industry philosophy or views of the landscape. Just get to the good stuff. It’s what your prospects want to see. 

Find a simple way to provide your current list of key clients or accounts, so they can see if there are conflicts or similar businesses. Make sure a creative director is available to give more detail on your work.

3. Provide context and results.

Brands want to know how your agency uses creativity to solve business challenges. Don’t just show the highlights – prospects want to see your full scope of work. Case studies work best in order to clearly articulate your client success. When presenting case studies, use context, action, and results (CAR). Give a brief overview of the challenge for each campaign, and discuss the action you took, and with some key results. We also recommend including a timeline of your project or cost data to show your efficiency. Be prepared to defend your creative choices while presenting case studies in a way that reinforces your client’s trust and makes it hard for your prospect to live without you.

4. Sell more value.

In a price-sensitive market, you win the business when you can show more value than the asking price. Value is determined not by the market, but by your customer. Show them your product or service is more valuable than the price, and the sale is yours.

You can also showcase how your ideas translate across different mediums to prove your value. Share at least a handful of case studies that represent your portfolio across various categories. Don’t worry if there isn’t anything specific to the vertical your prospect competes in. Brand executives will expect to see work that goes well beyond their own category. 

 5. Prepare and plan.

If you’ve spent the time to make your prospect understand your value is greater than the price you are asking, it’s time for you to prepare and to plan for the close. Preparing includes all the information, paperwork, forms, etc. you need to move forward and making sure you’ve had the right conversations with the right people. You should also anticipate any last-minute objections your prospect might have and how you will respond to them.

6. Make them understand you’re different.

Your prospects want to know your unique capabilities. Identify what makes you different from the agency down the street — those are your superpowers. Maybe you have a specialty in a particular vertical, like experiential activations or events. Maybe you have a lot of experience with a particular target audience, have done work in a specific product category, or you’ve launched new brands with tremendous success. Look for opportunities to consistently reinforce your superpowers to prospects.

7. Under promise and over deliver.

Don’t make the rookie mistake of promising something you cannot deliver. If your product or service takes some time to fully execute, never promise you can deliver something sooner. It’s common sense, I know, but you’d be surprised what someone will guarantee when they’re under the pressure to close the sale. 

If you under promise, you’ll have ample opportunity to over deliver. Why over promise when it already takes long enough to gain trust from your buyer? And when you exceed the expectation you’ve set, your prospect will realize your agency can be an essential part of their business.

8. Ask for next steps.

After any touchpoint with your prospect, ask the customer what the next steps would be. If they are unsure, make suggestions of steps that move you closer to closing.  Keep in mind – the next step could be to finalize the deal, but often, inexperienced sales people add too many steps before trying to close.

We hope these 8 tips for closing the sale guide you during your sales cycle with the prospect you’ve always dreamed of working with. Being skilled at closing is arguably one of the most important techniques to master in sales. If your agency wants to improve your current sales process including positioning, pitching and closing, contact us today.  Whether you need to elevate your existing business development plan or don’t know where to start, Catapult can assist in creating new business opportunities that will help scale and sustain your agency’s growth.

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Four Tips to Help You Craft a Powerful Pitch For Your Agency

four tips to help you craft a powerful pitch

Your elevator pitch is the most important tool for converting strangers into clients. And guess how long you have with the average person before you lose their attention? 8 seconds. Even a goldfish can focus for longer. In fact – if you’re still reading this, I’ve kept your attention for longer than most humans! Now, that’s some perspective. So how do you sell your agency to a prospect without it falling on deaf ears? Here are four tips to help you craft a powerful pitch for your agency.  

1. Open with a hook.

Since you only have eight seconds to grab someone’s attention, you must open with a hook that’s captivating and makes them want to listen to the remaining 22 seconds. The most effective way to do this is to address your prospect’s pain points. This is crucial because as their agency partner, you want to focus on how your service increases their bottom line. 

Here’s an example: Instead of “We’re a content marketing agency for businesses” try something more powerful like “We create custom content that increases sales for our clients by 50 percent.”

2. Be different.

We can’t stress this enough. Help your prospect distinguish you from all other agencies by including a unique selling proposition (USP). This is not the same thing as your niche, but rather about the benefits you offer that other agencies in your niche don’t.

If your agency offers additional services that others don’t, make sure to highlight them in your pitch. Get creative in how you present your USP so you can effectively capture your audience’s attention longer your competitor. 

3. Get rid of the industry language.

Although certain services might be essential to your agency, don’t assume your prospect fully understands what they are, how they work, or how they benefit their business. Using too much industry language can be off-putting and cause your audience to lose focus (more than they already do). Instead of “We A/B test post-click landing pages to optimize conversion rates”, which is likely to lose someone a lot faster, simply say “We create web pages designed to increase your sales and then test those different pages to see which one generates the most revenue.”

If you find it difficult to simplify your message without your typical insider language, ask for feedback from someone who represents your ideal client. Deliver your pitch to them first, then offer alternatives without the jargon and see which captures their interest more.  

4. Use an analogy.

When you get rid of the jargon in your pitch and still feel like it doesn’t adequately describe what you do, consider using an analogy that does the explaining for you. An analogy encourages your audience to use their imagination and increases their engagement with your pitch. It may even be relatable to an experience they’ve had before.

Give real examples of recent solutions you’ve created for clients and how it impacted their business. You can do this without revealing the client – refer to category, to size of brand, or some other marker that makes it relevant to the prospect.

5. End with a question.

Don’t let the delivery of your perfect pitch be met with awkward silence. End it with a question to keep the conversation going and clarify how you can work together. And don’t ask just any vague question. Instead of asking, “How do you see us working together?” consider, “What sales goals are you still trying to reach?”

Make sure your question doesn’t assume the prospect fully understands how you can help them and can’t wait to do business with you. If they aren’t sure how to answer, it can be even more awkward than the silence of not asking at all. Your question should give them an opportunity to address one of their pain points and help you fill in the gaps where your agency brings value and increases their bottom line.

 

With all these tips considered, here are some other factors to keep in mind:

  • Your pitch is simply a quick introduction to your business.
  • Keep it around 30 seconds long.
  • Sparks interest and response throughout it. 
  • Make sure it’s clear, authoritative, and relatable.
  • Your pitch is about them, not you.
  • Highlight your value and the problems you solve for similar clients.
  • Ensure you always include the unique differentiator of your agency. 

Use these four tips to help you craft a powerful pitch for your agency that will resonate with prospects and won’t be ignored. Perfecting your pitch is the first step to growing your agency. With that being said, remember to always shift your focus away from selling yourself: instead, empathize with your prospect’s needs, respect their time, and make your it personal. These are the most effective ways to sell your agency and break through that crucial eight second mark. 

 

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4 Essentials to Sustainable Agency Growth

What does growth even mean? We find most agencies think growth is about adding more and more new clients to their portfolio. Other agencies believe growth is about long-term marketing efforts to build stronger awareness with prospective clients, and driving inbound new business. From our 15 years of experience working with agencies of every size and kind, we see two core things that successful agencies do well under the banner of “growth”. First and foremost, they focus on building success for clients with quality work and measurable impact in order to drive retention and organic growth. Second, they have a clear plan to drive new business through these 4 essentials to sustainable agency growth:

1. Have a workable, proactive sales process in place.

Without a structured sales process, you may take on any opportunity thinking it’s essential for the financial health of your agency. However, the cost of the client can sometimes be more expensive than the revenue it brings in. Taking on any and every opportunity happens when your sales team doesn’t have appropriate guidelines to work with. If a proper sales process is designed to help them drive quality leads, you’ll save time and money, allowing them to work more strategically and more effectively.

We find every great sales process includes:

  • Understanding the buyer’s journey and using it as your starting point to an approach based on the needs of your prospect.  
  • Clearly defining each stage of the journey and what activities are involved.
  • Identifying the value for your agency in each phase of the process.
  • Creating a strong connection between the marketing and sales team.
  • Finding the pain points of potential clients and highlighting your solutions in solving them – this is what makes your agency hard to dismiss.

2. Define your ideal client.

Buyer personas are not a new concept, but in today’s competitive agency landscape, it’s more important than ever to understand who your ideal client is, what their needs are, and whether your agency has a “right to win” with them. An effective buyer persona answers the following: 

  • What industry do they work in?
  • What is their company size?
  • Who are the key decision makers (and influencers)?
  • Where do they look for agency partners?
  • What are their key pain points?
  • Which services do they need?
  • What kind of budget are they working with? 

These questions will help focus your efforts and generate the opportunities you want.

3. Upsell and retain clients.

Many agencies are a bit passive when it comes to expanding scope with current clients. Account teams are not natural sales people, and are (rightly) focused on billable time and the business at hand. So how can your new business team help? Create a plan for each client that helps them understand other ways you can help their business. It’s an effective sales approach that benefits the client who has already experienced the quality of what you have to offer. And think about the energy and resources you’ll save as opposed to looking for new accounts. Focus on keeping current clients happy and identify new ways your expertise can bring even more value.  

4. Hone your unique selling proposition.

To understand your current unique selling proposition, ask your existing clients where they look for a new partner and how they found you. Most importantly, why they chose your agency and the measurable impact you have on their business. Your USP should not be centered on a philosophy or theoretical outcome, but rather a quantifiable one focused on your particular expertise. This is critical to differentiating yourself to prospects, helping your agency evolve, and supporting your growth. 

 

Creating, understanding, and working these 4 essentials to sustainable agency growth will create a sustainable pathway to revenue generating opportunities. We know it seems challenging to navigate the overcrowded, undifferentiated landscape at time. But by making these key areas a priority, your agency will be on the right track to repeatable, revenue generating opportunities. 

 

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