Making the decision to hire dedicated new business resource often marks a tipping point in an agency’s development.
But making the right hire isn’t easy. Many times over the years have I heard variations on the sentiment: “Ah yes, we’ve had new business people in the past, they come in, play around with some lists and case studies and are gone again six months later”. Now, whether it is sales people selling themselves into the wrong role or agencies with unrealistic expectations, it is clear that finding the right match is a challenge.
So what is the answer?
Well, the chances are that we are asking the wrong question. Instead of thinking “Who can we hire to sell more?” we should be asking how our current clients buy from us already and work back from there.
For most agencies, current revenue is made up from retained or repeat business from existing clients, referrals from existing clients and network and a slice of ‘new’ new business. And in most cases, those clients have bought services from the senior team. An MD, client lead, creative lead or strategist. They have bought into the people at the heart of the agency and the relationships have grown from there.
So, to add more business, it may well be that you don’t need a ‘closer’ at all, because the best people to close a deal are those who are already in the business delivering the work. Perhaps you just need a ‘sweeper’, someone who can free up the time of the senior team by managing the process around pitching or RFIs, or even simply managing the database of contacts.
Or, if your pipeline is thin and it is leads you need, then think about specific lead generation resource, either external or in-house and marketing resource to ensure that your website is updated and optimized, your social channels are up to scratch and any content and collateral is doing its job. Some of this resource may even be in the business already.
Whoever you hire, make sure there’s a plan, a process and measure as you go. For help with new business planning get in touch.