New business strategies used to be highly personal. But the days when the tools of your trade were a Rolodex, lunch and a damn good bottle of Montrachet are long gone.
Agencies decided to ‘modernise’ their new business approach, and discovered technology.
We lurched from personal to ‘personalised’. But automation is no substitute for the personal touch, because people still buy people. The pendulum had swung too far.
There’s a better strategy – and it is a connected strategy.
To get the attention and interest of a potential new client, you need to focus on relevancy and saliency. Meaning, you have to position your agency as likely to be able to address the specific needs of the prospect, and offer something different and better than the competition.
A tall order.
This is why a connected approach is required. You need to be able to pull many different levers to build awareness and confidence, and create an effective pipeline of opportunity.
This strategy uses some elements of both the old, personal approach and the new, more automated approach.
Intelligence and information is the bedrock. As you get more connected, this becomes exponentially easier to acquire. To start, you need to properly understand the needs and situation of your prospects.
Above all, you need to understand why they are your prospects – and would they agree?
This understanding will enable you to create your content plan. There is plenty of room for technology here.
In the digital world there are countless channels you can use to reach your audience, to learn about what interests them (and what doesn’t) and to engage in dialogue.
Social media can play a big part in this, and is most effective when it has a clear role working alongside the other channels.
The most effective content strategies combine creation (disseminating your own content) and curation (sharing relevant content from other sources) to achieve their impact.
And don’t forget, once you’ve got something relevant to say you can say it over the phone, and start to build some sort of relationship that way.
Events are increasingly useful for new business.
Whether that is attending third party events, or hosting your own bespoke events, they can enable you to meet real people in a relevant context. This enables both parties to open up a meaningful dialogue.
You can then also point them to your hosted content assets as further evidence in your favour.
These hosted assets, and the social sharing component of the plan, will drive your visibility with Google, and help prospects believe that you might have exactly what they need. Prospects will begin to contact you, and this will increase over time.
And let’s not forget, you can still do the lunch and Montrachet – but now, after the deal is signed.
Shaun Varga is chairman of Ingenuity