6 Interview Questions For Agency Business Development Directors

6 Interview Questions For Agency Business Development Directors

The average agency-client relationship lasts 36 months, which means at any given moment one of your competitors is about to lose a client. But what if you were the one that is losing the client? Do you have the resources in place to make sure you can protect your agency from the inevitable turnover of clients? 

The first resource your team needs to be investing in to protect against churn is a proactive Business Development Director.  It should come as no surprise that experienced business development professionals capture a bigger slice of the new business pie than those just getting started. The tough part is identifying those directors with the right type of experience to best grow your firm.

In order to help you identify those Business Development Directors with the right type of proactive experience, we’ve listed out 6 interview questions for your next internal or outsourced partner.  Being smart with these questions can make a massive difference in the amount of growth your team experiences this year.

6 Interview Questions For Agency Business Development Directors

How much “hunting” have you done?

New business—indeed, any sale—is about experience in the field.  Isn’t it amazing how the best new business people always seem a bit lucky?  A lot of “right place at the right time”. Well it isn’t luck, it’s hours and hours of experience working through what prospects want and need so that their message is the one bubbling to the top over all the other agencies out there pursuing new business.

How comfortable are you with approaching a prospect cold?

Cold calling or cold emailing is a complicated business. Even with tools to increase your chances of setting appointments, you have to be able to handle rejection (or worse…the cold loneliness of no response) every day without letting it affect the next conversation. If you find someone that thrives on making conversations out of nothing, then you’ve found a keeper.

What role did you play in helping to win a new client?

There are many stages to a new business win. Your potential new employee may have been involved in the first outreach call, set the appointment, gave the presentation or closed the business.  It’s vital that they can recognize the value of their contribution—without over-valuing it. New business acquisition is often a team sport and we want to make sure that their expertise fits in the current team’s mix and brings value to any new business engagement.

Were you involved in face to face meetings with clients or teeing up initial conversations? What has been your involvement with client new business presentations?

While closing and prospecting are both important, they are two totally different skill sets. Many agency new business people come from a background of receiving RFPs and responding to them.  That’s a very different task than going out and creating opportunities out of nothing. If you’re moving into a more proactive new business approach, your new business person needs to reflect this move.

How do you go about building strong relationships?

Business development is all about maintaining and improving relationships. Transparency, honesty, mutual respect and shared interests are as vital in a sales engagement as they are in any other relationship, and sales professionals who excel at managing their relationships are more likely to be viewed as trustworthy by their clients.

What would clients you closed say about you?

No candidate is going to lead with a negative, but the reason you ask this question is to gauge their willingness to be candid and honest about their weaknesses.  We also want to find out what do they really value? Do they put emphasis on their ability to connect, to persuade, find a problem, or identify a solution? Their answers will open many new questions about their personal style and how they might go about helping potential prospects learn more about your agency.

Finally, if your reaction to a candidate isn’t an emphatic “yes,” it’s a “no.” If they can’t sell themselves then they certainly can’t sell your agency.  Time to keep looking!

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Attract The Game Changer Client For Your Agency

Attract The Game Changer Client

The new year is here. And now is the time you’ll activate the plan you’ve spent countless hours on to ensure a successful, profitable year. So what are your top priorities for 2020? New business is probably at the top of the list. And creating a pipeline of the highest value, qualified prospects that are ripe for conversion is the key to success. At least part of your business development efforts and pipeline should be focused on winning the game changer client this year. I’m talking about the client that will significantly improve the health and wealth of your agency. We want 2020 to be the year you attract the game changer client for your agency.

The biggest challenge? Getting your sales positioning spot on and specific to your target list. Clear positioning will differentiate you from the competition, and should be based on how you can help your highest value prospects create competitive advantage. With that being said, it’s also important to clearly define the highest value prospects, the Game Changers, for your agency. 

So which do you tackle first when they both need to be addressed simultaneously as they inform each other? A good starting point is to gather your team and work through the questions below to ensure your positioning is spot on and a target prospect list you have the right to win business with.

Here’s our recommended checklist for creating the right positioning and target lists to attract the Game Changer client:

Positioning

Question 1: Who is your agency?

To evaluate your agency’s positioning to prospects, first get laser clear on the core of what differentiates your agency by exploring these key questions:

  • What’s your agency’s purpose? 
  • What gets management up in the morning?
  • Do you know what are your employee’s core passions?
  • What are you exceptionally good at?
  • Services/Industries?
  • What can your agency build a strong POV around?
  • What can your agency own versus your competitors?

Question 2: What will the agency look like in 18-24 months?

  • What are the agency’s revenues goals?
  • Which industries/technologies do we want to be “experts” in?
  • Do we have the services to be competitive?
  • Do we have the talent to lead the agency at that level?
  • What will our thought leadership look like?

Target Prospects

Question 1: Which type of client is the agency Game Changer?

To narrow down the highest value potential clients you want on your roster in 18-24 months, consider the following:

  • What industry(s) should we focus on?
  • What is the revenue potential?
  • Where are they in their product lifecycle?
  • What types of marketing programs do they utilize?
  • Are there any geographic constraints?
  • What type of prospect shares your agency POV and Philosophy?

Now that you’ve clarified your positioning and the game changer prospects you want to attract, it’s time to focus communications about the agency on what your customers are interested in (it’s about them, not you), so that they will want to learn more. This is the first step in building credibility with prospects.

Question 2: Do you have credibility to engage the Game Changer?

As you create your prospect list (against the above criteria) you also need to determine how ready the agency is NOW to engage them – or what adjustments need to be made for success:

  • Do you understand the Game Changer prospect’s pain points and business challenges?
  • What content (Intellectual Capital) do you have to share and engage them?
  • Is the content campaign able to generate multiple outreach occasions?
  • Does your web site and other collateral speak to the prospect’s pain points and needs?

As you work through these positioning and prospect checklists, you may find your target opportunities become significantly more qualified for your agency to win because you can focus on the ones where you have  right to win. And when you attract qualified prospects that are right for your agency you will inevitably attract the Game Changer. Here’s to a game changing 2020!

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It All Starts With The Target List: Steps To Efficient Proactive Prospecting

When embarking on a proactive prospecting program, there are some core steps that can’t be skipped over on the road to success. And the foundation is developing a solid, well researched target list.  Below are the steps we recommend to clients to set that foundation.

1. Focus On A Vertical

Catapult programs are designed around core verticals or segments. Most often we build out lists with our agency clients by selecting target verticals they are best suited for, where they have subject matter expertise and case studies to provide credibility to prospects. A narrow focus enables you to curate and create outbound messaging to all companies within each selected vertical with a high level of relevance, leading to stronger engagement faster than a general message across verticals typically does.

2. Identify Your Right-To-Win Brands

…and research them well. For each vertical selected, the company list can be narrowed by such criteria as revenue, media spend and location. By targeting the companies that you can build credibility with, you’re able to laser-focus sales efforts around their unique needs. Don’t just rely on lists pulled from your criteria. Review top business rankings lists within specific verticals we are targeting to ensure we have all relevant companies included on the lists for our agency clients.

When researching each company to determine if it fits note challenges the company and/or industry is facing. These insights are later converted into talking points for email and phone outreach. 

3. Uncover Key Decision Makers

When the list is narrowed down to the top companies in a vertical, find the key decision makers within each based on job function and rank. Who the right contacts are will vary depending on your agency’s services. For example, a social media agency surely will want to connect with a social media director. However a branding agency likely would not.

Focus on C-suite, VP and director-level marketing professionals; depending on your agency, you may also want to target manager-level contacts. What’s important is that you’re only targeting decision-makers or influencers. Pro Tip: try to find at least 5 – 7 contacts per company/brand. Experience tells us that there is rarely just one decision maker, and it’s not always the obvious one that will respond and champion engagement with your agency.

It’s also helpful to scour the web for financial statements, press releases and trade articles for mentions of other relevant contacts at the company.

And, once you’ve completed the list, make sure to import it to a CRM database so you can effectively track your outreach. A few that our clients have used Salesforce, Pipedrive, and Hubspot to name a few.

4. Dig Deeper for 1:one or 1:few personalization

Uncovering information on your contact list through LinkedIn helps confirm the employee is still with the company and remains in the appropriate role. LinkedIn is also useful for mining additional contacts in the company – you may find additional relevant prospects you have not found previously.

During this process make sure to take notes of mutual contacts, past employers, links to presentations, schools attended or other points of connection that you can use in your outreach to that contact. You will need the email address information for these contacts found outside of the database. Try looking at the email naming conventions of the other contacts in the company; 90 percent of the time the naming convention will hold for the missing emails. If all else fails, there are a number of online tools available to help find alternative email address suggestions like Clearbit, Hunter.io, or RocketReach.

At this point, you may be asking yourself how to do all this with the resources you have.

At Catapult, we’ve heard, and done, it all to try to crack the code on list building. Calling the company’s main line, filling out a web form, or hoping you have a mutual connection in your core network are not efficient or effective ways to connect with senior decision makers.

And getting the decision maker information is not an easy task. All too often, agencies rely on new business people or account people to track down prospect contact information on their own. If the contact data is even found, it’s often inaccurate and incomplete. This process eats up your team’s time and takes them away from more important business activities.  

To solve this dilemma, many agencies subscribe to database services that provide accurate, direct contact information on prospects. And they supplement this data with their own due diligence to gain information that is relevant, current and provides insights for smarter prospecting messages.

There are a number of database providers available online, such as Winmo, our sister company, which offers vetted and current prospect contact information for relevant to ad agencies, marketing firms and creative agencies. A sophisticated database and intelligence service provides much more than contact information. It also can offer company financial data, existing agency relationships and recent news articles to help you better identify your best prospects.

When selecting a database provider, look for one that employs teams of researchers to validate and refresh the data on a regular basis, at least every 3-6 months. It’s also important that company specializes in advertising and marketing contacts so the prospects align with your target audience. 

 

Your prospect data list is the most important part in agency new business outreach. If you don’t have a relevant and accurate list of prospects and an efficient way to get this data, even the best messaging will fall on deaf ears. Using the steps outlined above, supported by a database platform for efficiency and speed, makes this scalable so business development folks can spend more time on outreach, engagement and conversion to new business…and less time trying to track down contact information!

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The Ultimate Agency Growth Funnel

The Ultimate Agency Growth Funnel

Can you believe we’re approaching an entirely new decade? As you begin planning for 2020 new business, remember to plan the resources required to support that growth in the new year. While those resources will be unique to your agency’s specific growth plan, it never hurts to follow a proven formula to calculate what you need. To help with this forecasting, we’ve built an Agency Growth Calculator which evaluates your objectives and realistic requirements from each of the following steps of the agency growth funnel.

Understand Your Growth Requirements

Your KPIs are a direct reflection of your overall growth requirements. While this may seem obvious, some agencies find it extremely difficult to clearly identify their metrics for success. Here are some questions to answer during your initial planning meetings to ensure you set the right metrics:

What’s your overall revenue goal?
While there are many approaches for setting your revenue goal for the year, make sure it’s nailed down and clearly communicated prior to the new year so all parties can set operational KPIs off of that plan.

How much have you grown organically?
This gives you a good idea of the outbound effort you need after organic growth.

What’s your typical churn rate (loss of clients)?
You can only put so much on top of the funnel if you’re losing all of it at the bottom. This is why it’s important to understand how much revenue is falling off each month.

How big is this goal in comparison to new business amounts you’ve produced in years past?
Knowing how much you’re planning to grow new business Y/Y is important, particularly so you can understand the resources required to achieve that growth.

What’s your overall pitch win percentage and what’s the win percentage when they are inbound warm leads vs. cold opportunities you have generated?
Be honest when answering this question; the higher pitch win percentage you have, the less outbound effort will be required. Keep in mind that warm opportunities close at a higher rate than cold opportunities.

Have you ever generated a cold pitch opportunity before?
Many agencies rely on referrals for 100% of their pitch opportunities. While those are warm and close at a higher rate, they are not reliable or sustainable. Evaluating this gives you a better understanding for how long it can take to produce cold opportunities in the future.

Define Warm New Business Opportunities

It’s important to understand the amount of new business opportunities your agency brings in. These opportunities typically come from referrals, networking, and word of mouth. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love these lead sources? They are seen by most agency principals as the most attractive type of lead as it’s free business that came directly to you.

To help generate more of these we recommend activating your core 100 network. We define this as the core network of decision-makers with budget or marketing decision power that you have a 1st-degree relationship with. By connecting with this group at least once per month, whether a simple hello or providing them with relevant thought leadership, the likelihood of getting more referral leads increases significantly.

Lastly, while warm opportunities are nice it’s important you aren’t solely relying on them. Here’s why:

  1. They are unpredictable and you never know when your next project will be coming in.
  2. You have no control of how your portfolio expands.
  3. Losing one major client could drastically impact your revenue.

Now let’s talk about how you can warm opportunities with cold prospecting for ultimate success!

Add Proactive Prospecting For New Opportunities

Since you can’t solely rely on your referral network, you must find a way to incorporate cold prospecting into your mix. Often new business directors will wonder how much outreach is enough? How many phone calls and emails will result in a qualified meeting? We recommend tracking your success rate at each touchpoint. This allows you to know if you are consistently reaching out to enough prospects in your outreach cadence. Proper measurements typically include:

  • How many people typically reply to a cold email or call?
  • Of those replies, how many of them turn into a discovery meeting/call?
  • What number of discovery meetings turn into qualified leads?
  • How many qualified leads convert to RFI/RFP opportunities? 
  • What’s the win percentage of RFI/RFPs for your agency?

If you’ve never kept track of these numbers before, you can use benchmarks.

Our clients typically see conversion rates of:

  • 12% – 15% opens to cold emails (above industry average of 5% – 7%).
  • 7% – 10% conversion on call volume to live conversations.
  • Approximately 25% of leads moving to discovery and qualifying.
  • And 60% or more qualified leads moving to an RFI or RFP.   

Agencies that are just getting started on proactive outreach can see numbers a bit lower than these. Keep in mind many agencies underestimate how many prospects they actually need in their pool and keeping steady pipeline is a full-time job in itself. Make sure you have the resources and bandwidth necessary to fuel the fire.

Estimate The Investment: Time and Money

If you’re an agency executive responsible for driving new business and running the entire agency, be aware of what that double duty is costing you.

If you’re juggling too many tasks, it’s likely you are completing projects, but not doing them exceptionally well. As an agency executive, your time is best served strategically looking at ways to grow the overall business, not just through the lens of new business. If you’re worried about the time and investment it would take to hire someone in-house, we can manage this function for you at Catapult. There’s huge potential in having someone solely focused on bringing in both cold and warm opportunities for your agency.  

 

Now that you have a better understanding the agency growth funnel, what goes into forecasting your new business goals, and the resources required to hit them, check out our Agency Growth Calculator to see how the numbers line up for your business!

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A Brand New Look For Catapult

A Brand New Look For Catapult

Big news today! After almost twenty years, we’re introducing a brand new look for Catapult with an updated brand identity. You’ll see our new branding translated throughout our client communication, social platforms, and upcoming trade show events, like the Mirren CEO Summit in November. Our new look and feel matches what we’ve become since 2001: the leading agency business development partner.

Why Change The Catapult Brand?

Catapult has grown over the years in a way that better serves our agency clients, and we felt it was time for our brand to reflect who we are today. Our services have evolved from strictly new business lead generation to end-to-end growth consulting and business development activation.. Our design goal was to recreate the look and feel, and language, of our brand to better match our tone – positive, proactive, approachable and professional – with a strong focus on results. And we wanted our brand to portray the key elements in our story: growth, the trebuchet that our name comes from, and a modern partner fully versed in the latest tech, tools and trends. Here’s a little about the meaning behind the new Catapult logo:

 

What hasn’t changed? How We Impact Your Growth.

While we love our new brand (and website – check it out at www.catapultagencygrowth.com, at the end of the day what matters to you is what we do for your agency. Our sole purpose is to create growth through strategy, demand and lead generation, and pipeline conversion for agencies of all disciplines. Here’s a quick summary of how we do it:

  • We amplify your agency’s story to the right prospects
  • We differentiate your positioning to leverage unique, ownable USPs
  • We create awareness and demand for your agency
  • We generate qualified meetings with key decision makers
  • We grow your lead pipelines so they are ripe for conversion

 

We hope you like our brand new look and feel for Catapult as we continue to best serve the agency landscape and build a sustainable pathway to growth for all our clients.

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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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Sample

“Catapult came to the rescue and saved me from what otherwise would have been a long and stressful situation. To have been provided with a business development professional with that level of experience and understanding of my business, well, I just couldn’t have received that anywhere else.”

Co-founder, Full Service Marketing Agency

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