52 Tips to Success

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52 Tips to Success

  1. 1. Extracts from A GUIDE TO NEW BUSINESS PROCESS By Marcus Brown Senior Vice President Y&R Summarised and made field relevant by Zane Van Rooyen / Strategic Director / BAM
  2. 2. GETTING ONTO PITCH LISTS
  3. 3. Make client retention your number one priority. Keeping client partners is more important than acquiring them. Old business can be a source of new business, and it is easier to get new business from existing client partners. If you are winning new client partnerships, but loosing the old ones, your revenue remains static, and your reputation eventually suffers. Therefore – New business is number 2 priority.
  4. 4. New Business is all too often only left to those hired to generate it, but the reality is that New Business is, and always has to be, a team effort. Client wants a team – not an individual. The company that thinks and acts as a team, that works as a team, is the one that will win business. One that sees New Business as a separate discipline, an offshoot of the core business, will not. It is vital to create a New Business Culture. The more that NB is integrated into the whole company’s awareness and efforts, the more likely you are to achieve your NB goals. • Conduct regular meetings at which New Business is discussed. • Assign NB responsibilities to a large number of people. Most effective in team resourcing & it makes NB a team effort. • Repeatedly emphasise NB goals and targets so that everyone has a clear sense of purpose and aims. • Make NB a discussion point at all internal meetings. It is out there and you should be anticipating ways of grabbing it. • It is everybody’s business.
  5. 5. Imagine you’re at a drinks reception. You meet a potential prospect. They ask a simple question: ‘So what makes your company different ?’ You’ve got 30 seconds to make an impression. If you don’t have a brief but forceful summary of what makes your company different and interesting, you’ll fail to make an impression. This is your first line of offence – a mini pitch – and it should be as carefully worded as any presentation. Sit down and compose it. Avoid bland, abstract, jargon-filled formulations. Make it short, sharp and attention grabbing. Consider your local markets and highlight your agency’s supreme advantages, then link these to a global positioning. If you are not clear what makes your agency number one, you can’t communicate it to others. You NEVER get a second chance to make a first impression.
  6. 6. Unless you have a particularly bizarre attitude to ‘retail therapy’, you don’t go shopping for a washing machine until the old one breaks down or you move to a new home. It’s the same with prospective client partners. If their agency relationship breaks down, or they have a new product to launch or market to conquer, they’re interested. The rest of the time their commitment to you will be disinterested and non-committal. Washing machine manufacturers recognise this crucial distinction and act accordingly. They don’t bombard consumers with advertising, relying instead on approaching those ‘customers ready for change’ with offers etc. Deploy the most time and effort when client are looking to ‘buy’ and less when you are presenting cold credentials.
  7. 7. The agency that wins the most business wins. It’s simple. It’s obvious. But, in the euphoria of a pitch won, it’s easy to forget you lost the last three, or didn’t even make it to the long list. With every New Business you compete for, the conversion ratio must be the first and most important consideration. We work is some of the most oversupplied markets in the world. So, first ask yourself: ‘How often did we make it to the long list?’ If you don’t get in the game, you can’t compete. Industry Average Jigsaw Second, ask yourself: ‘When we made the short list how often did we win the pitch?’ Long list => Pitch 25% 71% Reaching the final is no good if you don’t cross the line first. Conversion ratios maximise the efficiency of financial & Pitch => Win 33% 63% human resources. If you’re getting on a healthy percentage of short lists but never winning the pitch, then it’s clear the pitch needs improvement, and that’s where money and resources can be directed. If the pitch win rate is 100% but it came out of a low long list pitch rate of 10% - you won one pitch but never made another long list – that’s a different problem that needs attention. Conversion ratios are one of the best diagnostic tools for determining an agency’s effectiveness when it comes to business development. They should always be foremost in your mind, After all, what counts is what you’ve won – not how much prospecting you’ve done.
  8. 8. Stand in the New Business Office. Close your eyes. What do you hear? The sound of a phone constantly ringing-or the sound of silence? If it’s not ringing, it should be! An agency where the phone rings of its own accord is an agency with a reputation and a high profile that prospective client partners are hungry to bite into. If it is ringing, your New Business efforts must focus on improving your hit rate, Ask yourself a new question: ‘Are inbound calls actually leading to wins ? ‘
  9. 9. You can’t hit a target if it isn’t there! Clear & precise goals gives everyone something to aim for & a drive to hit the target.
  10. 10. As any great sportsman knows, thinking ahead puts you ahead of your rivals. Focusing on the future makes it more likely to happen the way you want it. Don’t wait it, generate it! This is the way to think ahead & go for New Business. Compile a list of companies & targets, communicate them to the team as someone might have contacts or connections that provide a way to reach a target company. Keep your list updated. Keep the companies in mind & seek out opportunities to establish a relationship with them. Remember that New Business is long-term business & finding prospective clients takes months.
  11. 11. Goals need to be realistic: chase every prospect & you’ll end up with none. Use the following criteria to streamline you prospect list & so focus resources to maximum effect. Prospect is :- In a growing industry/sector A creative opportunity A big spender Vulnerable/accessible Not a significant conflict Goals need to realistic therefore don’t see the pitch as an all-or-nothing deal. Don’t dismiss the ‘Trojan Horse’ approach. Get part of the business on offer-however small-and you’ve got a foot in the door. Do you job well & more doors will open.
  12. 12. Approaching prospective clients can be compared to dating. You need to make a big impression quickly & you need to make them feel unique. It is no good sending the same mailing to each of your prospective Clients as they will begin to recognize it as the stale chat up line it is. Your first approach must be second to none so make it individual, Eye catching & by far original.
  13. 13. Getting new business can seem an impossibly difficult task-like pushing water uphill. Canal builders solve this problem by constructing a series of stages to get to the top. To get to the top in New Business, adopt the ‘Canal System’. Hence you can ensure that your Pipeline of New Business potential keeps flowing in the right direction: from target company to Meaningful contact to potential client partner to new account. The canal system is the method of keeping track of new business leads by converting leads from Possibilities to probabilities as example below will show: CODE STATUS NUMBER Target Identified as real contact 30 Contact Made meaningful contact 15 Potential Held meeting begin selection 6 process Win Won assignment 1 The Canal System is about making your New Business leads part of a process. It’s about follow-up. Establish & monitor the status of you leads & take appropriate action to take them to the next stage. Keep them moving up be it sending a Christmas card or presenting credentials to client.
  14. 14. ‘There are no problems, only solutions’ Every company has limitations. Don’t waste time finding a solution. Instead of laying blame at someone else’s door, find a window of opportunity. Complaining focuses your thinking on what can’t be done. But the client is only interested in what can be done. Make New Business the art of the possible
  15. 15. This should be a slogan, a question, a mantra you ask yourself each day. Make it part of your routine as checking your emails every morning. A company that is alert to New Business possibilities, and shapes each day around finding & fulfilling them, is one that will succeed.
  16. 16. The importance of plans & preparation for a pitch can’t be overestimated. But in the end it’s how they translate into a few hour’s pitching that counts. Every agency will bring their resources to bear on exploring the prospective clients brief- it’s what they do with what they learn that sorts out the winner from the lose. Keep sight of that end result. Have the continual consideration of how your team’s research & ideas are going to shape into an event-a package of powerful persuasion. The eventual result will be to put into effect if you want to have an effect. Adopt the ‘Just Do It’ attitude!
  17. 17. NAVIGATING THE AGENCY SELECTION PROCESS
  18. 18. Pitching is about team work. However every pitch needs a senior member of staff who will drive that pitch home. Effective delegation & co-ordination are only achieved if one person is in the diving seat. Putting the right person in charge is an essential part of the pitch and the bigger the pitch the more you will need someone with a proven track record of New Business to head and energize every aspect of the pitch.
  19. 19. Each prospective client is different especially when phrases like ‘target audiences’ are mentioned. You will have to consider how the individual client likes being sold to. Each style will need a different approach. Do some basic personality profiling and get to know the culture of your prospective clients. Always avoid the generic approach-remember that prospective clients are people too!
  20. 20. Experienced clients know what they are looking for. They expect excellence but they will also have a clear idea of the single most important thing that they want to want from an agency. When it is time to make their final decision this factor will be the decider of the winner. To find out what that very fact is , get the client to tell you what the key thing is that will make them choose one agency over another. The knowledge should shape your pitch & therefore highlight the agency’s strengths that are important in the eye of the client.
  21. 21. You can’t beat the competition unless you know who the competition is. Asking the prospective client is your first touch point. If they don’t reveal this info then refer to your competitor analysis findings to see who might market themselves to this prospective client. Your strategy depends on matching opponents strengths & going one better. Recognizing who & what you’ve got to beat lets you make the best & most effective use of resources. ‘Know thy enemy’
  22. 22. Prospective clients use a score sheet to make pitching agencies. Competing without knowing the criteria you’re going to be judged on puts you at a huge disadvantage. Do some research & find out how the marks are divided up. As every political party knows, knowing who is doing the pitch is crucial to success. A pitch is no different. Will the prospective client’s decision be the result of a team decision or a single member. ‘There is nothing more transparently awful than seeing agency people addressing only the senior, ignoring the real decision-makers-the 25- 28 year old’ (Andrew Melsom in Market Leader) Impress all but impress the decision –makers most of all.
  23. 23. The style of credential meetings has changed. Prospective clients don’t want display only but debate. They see the meeting as an opportunity to try out how you’ll work together. The agency that ignores this & aggressively presents its way through the credential meeting is unlikely to be successful. Set up an environment that promotes discussion, debate & work shopping: •Highlight case studies that are especially relevant to the clients concerns •Decorate the meeting room with relevant material: Boards with competitive work. Photographs from previous campaigns/activations done. Don’t monopolies the credential meeting. Reason being is that prospective clients complain that agencies hijack the meetings & focus on themselves rather than the potential business. Don’t treat the prospective client with kid gloves! If you don’t challenge, if you don’t ask forthright questions, you won’t get the answer you need.
  24. 24. The period between the brief & the pitch is at least as important as the pitch itself. How you handle it can determine whether you win or lose. Managed properly is an opportunity to show the prospective client that you are keen, committed & hungry- these factors time & time again prove the decider in a pitch. Ask relevant elated questions with regards to their business & internal structures as this will promote confidence in & involve the prospective client. How you use you time shows them how you would use theirs so plan your interaction with them from the start: •The New Business team should always decide on a contact strategy for keeping in touch with the prospective client. •There is a fine line between involvement & intrusiveness. Establish with the prospective client what level of exchange they want at this stage. From brief to pitch is a short distance. The prospective client know their product better than you do. Tapping into that knowledge can give you a huge advantage over your competitors. Utilize this period between brief & pitch not only to gather information but to establish a relationship with the prospective client. It’s a lot easier to do in 3 weeks than 3 hours.
  25. 25. In the end its all about the chemistry. Prospective clients hire the people they like. The agency that remembers that and establishes a personal dimension will win the business. Make a connection with you prospective clients. Show respect & empathy for them. Understand their work ethic and ask questions to get them involved. Be supportive. Take every opportunity to let the personalities of the pitch team shine through. Having a ‘fiend’ on the inside, even if you’ve only just met them, can provide invaluable help. Prospective clients are looking for an agency they’ll enjoy working with. Show them you’re a team- and show them that they’re part of a team.
  26. 26. The prospective client wants to know if you can work together with them and work together well. (see Tip 22) Don’t leave this until the pitch and don’t believe it is not a vital factor towards winning a client. Find out what kind of involvement they want & then decide on a contact strategy. If the prospective client seems interested to team up with you, find a productive way to make regular contact. Use you initiative to initiate a relationship. Always develop some form of contact strategy as part of you pitch process from the start.
  27. 27. Of course there will often be late nights in the days leading up to the pitch. But breaking out the deadline mentality yields results. Clocking up hours at the beginning of the period between brief & pitch gives you a head start. The team gains confidence from the sense that they are already covering ground. Hence a more powerful & polished presentation is created due to less rush & ‘last minute dot com’ occurrences. So work smart!
  28. 28. If you’re talking, you’re not listening. ‘Not listening’ is one of the top ten complaints by prospective clients about agencies. Allow the prospective client to lead which is the best way of understanding the people you are dealing with and to fully understand the brief (tip 16). The only way to find out what the prospective client really want is to ask them. From asking the right questions you’ll both learn & look eager-= a consistent pitch-winning combination! Before the pitch, prospective clients don’t want presentation, they want interaction. They want to hear not about you but your track record. They want questions & answers. They want debate. Above all they want to see how you and they can work together.
  29. 29. We have two eyes, two ears but only one mouth. Our bodies are built like that because, when it comes to getting information, watching & listening are more important than talking. When meeting with the prospective client you should watch & listen twice as much as you speak (see tip 26). Don’t tell them what they want-find out what they want. Think about which questions will really reveal how the prospective clients think & need i.e.: What has been the downfall of other agencies in the past? How will you decide on the winning agency? The first meeting are about gathering key info which will define the pitch. The agency that looks & listens will learn a lot more than the one that doesn’t. They’ll have the competitive edge that is the starting point.
  30. 30. The client briefs your agency. Your team comes up with brilliant solution to every part of the brief. And so you WIN the pitch or DO you? Prospective clients are experts in their band, but they’re not experts in communications. You are! That’s why they want to hire you. So, after the brief go back to basics. Think hard about the true nature of the prospective client’s business problem & whether their brief really is the solution. If not then explore the alternatives. Your company has not only communication insight but a wealth of business insight- if you act as a business partner for your prospective client they’ll value you more. Added Value = added win pitches
  31. 31. ‘What is my main competitor going to do next?’ That’s the question that keeps your prospective clients awake at night. Coming up with the answer won’t only give them an easeful sleep, it can win you the pitch. Explore their competitions strategies, options & intentions. It will establish the empathy that prospective clients increasingly look for in agencies. The worst case scenarios can be used to devastating effect in a pitch-if you can present a way to counteract them. Prospective clients are looking for an agency that understands them and their problems. Thinking through what keeps them awake is the key to understanding.
  32. 32. This seems like obvious advice. Due to the obvious nature of the above statement pitch history is full of tales of agencies that forget this simple tip & hence lose the pitch. The following 4 points will ensue you stay focused on the question with the right answers: 1. Read and make sure that you answer the question. 2. If you don’t agree with the brief, discuss with the prospective client. Don’t avoid the brief or answer the brief you think they should have presented. Despite the special circumstances outline in tip 29, not doing what the prospective client asks is the quickest way to lose them. 3. Re-read the brief before the first Question-and – Answer session. Asking the prospective client’s questions that are answered in the brief makes you look foolish & under-prepared. 4. Re-read the brief the night before the pitch and at the start you’ll know he brief all too well. Make sure that its fresh in your mind. Re-read it to remind you of the contents & renew the excitement.
  33. 33. “Genius is 99% perspiration & 1% inspiration” (Inventor Thomas Edison) It’s easy-often fatal- to forget that the inspiration of the pitch comes from weeks of perspiration leading up to it. A pitch is only as strong as the team working on it. Do you have the right team? Do you have enough people working on the pitch? And a pitch is only as strong as the work that has gone into it in the preceding few weeks. Recognize the vital importance of preparation, do your own research & above all engage with the prospective clients-spend time with them, share your ideas with them and ask insightful questions.
  34. 34. Hunger wins New Business. Time & time again, prospective clients identify energy, commitment & eagerness as winners of New Business. The question of ‘Does this agency really want my business ?’ will be on their mind. Consider every aspect of every stage of the pitch process-is it really better than your competitors. Have you done all you can concerning: Consumer research Documentation Caliber of presentation Meeting room set-up Research into the market place Through-the-line approach If the answer if ‘yes’ then you are far more likely to succeed. Go Beyond the prospective client’s expectations. Go the extra mile & you are halfway to success.
  35. 35. THE PITCH ITSELF
  36. 36. There may not be a stage but a pitch is a performance. The agency that recognizes this & shapes their presentation as close to a theatre production with capture the moment & create an experience that makes a phenomenal & memorable pitch. The elements involved weather play o presentation remain the same. “Will the audience will get it?” A pitch must be an experience for the prospective client. It’ll only be one if it’
  37. 37. The pitch is a form of theatre. The Presentation Pitch Doctor (PPD) gives the equivalent of the director’s notes at the dress rehearsal. The pitch dress rehearsal is the time for a fresh eye. The PPD should be someone outside of the team who is able to put themselves in the shoes of the prospective client who has been apart of 6 other presentations before yours. He will pick out the strengths & weaknesses of the pitch, how the entire message comes across to the prospective client. The PPD is the last test of what you pitch will actually look like to the prospective client. Make sure that they are seeing what you want them to see.
  38. 38. Teamwork thrives on enthusiasm & sometimes this can blind you to drawbacks in you strategy. Don’t let the prospective clients be the first test of your big idea. Appoint a Strategy Pitch Doctor (SPD) who will check that your train of thought is convincing & heading in the right direction. Appoint a SPD earlier on so they can stop you wasting time on an idea that doesn’t work and their comments could change the entire thrust of your pitch in the right direction.
  39. 39. Casting can make or break a pitch no less than a film. Prospective client insist that chemistry is almost what decides the winner. They want to see a team that works well-both with prospective clients and with each other. Agencies tend to pick the pitch team from who’s available. This is practical consideration but should never be the only one: •Make sure the team members bond, if they work convincingly as a team you’ll convince the prospective client. •Give the right role to the right person. Their role in the company doesn’t necessarily make them a great presenter. •Understand your target audience (Tip 16).
  40. 40. Have you ever been to a dinner party where someone stays silent throughout the meal? Unnerving, isn’t it? It’s no different for prospective clients during a pitch. A team member with no obvious role will only distract and should not be sat in during the presentation to prospective client. Each member of the team should perform part of the presentation & be able to add to the debate. ‘ A room full of silent nods sends a very bad signal about an agency’
  41. 41. The pitch is a piece of stagecraft and your creative & strategic idea must take centre-stage. It needs the spotlight. A good idea won’t sell itself standing alone. So spend time crafting your strategic proposition so that on the day it’s easy for the prospective client to understand. Packaging your thinking ensures that it’s delivered.
  42. 42. Yes it sounds obvious, but we’ve all done it- we’ve allowed for ourselves to cover the whole brief through adequate work. Bear in mind that your competitors are at least as good as you are. Every agency that makes a pitch in the process will produce excellent material. Be ruthless with yours- only first rate will be first choice. Don’t let a zeal for complacency tempt you to put into a presentation strategy o creative that is weaker than yours Poor wok steal attention from your best material. It will be remembered and it is better to tell the prospective client that you haven’t yet solved a problem rather than let them believe that you solved it badly.
  43. 43. A New Business presentation is one of the most valuable tests of the company’s strengths. This has to be analyzed effectively in Case Studies: •Use everyday language •Write a success story, not a debrief •Focus on the agency’s biggest contribution •Highlight all of the campaigns achievements The aim is to provide a library of experience that any part of the company can understand & use to win New Business.
  44. 44. Prospective clients like debate but they want a recommendation. Don’t offer options as they can give an impression of indecision. Prospective clients want their chosen agency to have a point of view. Make sure you make a recommendation. Make sue that its clear. Make sure that the prospective client know the recommendation and why you chose it over other options that you have discussed.
  45. 45. Power point is a great way to pass on a lot of information fast. But don’t use it as your only medium. Multimedia is the key. Let power point do what it does well, but find other means of presenting to the prospective client too. Packaging you info in a variety of ways is far more stimulating than staring at 100 slides.
  46. 46. Rehearsal is what makes a pitch powerful and persuasive. Knowing what you are going to say & how long it takes confers confidence. Confidence=inspiration to the prospective client. Rehearsal smoothes out the glitches & pitfalls so that the final performance is polished & professional. Rehearse your presentation, this is not the death of spontaneity, as it can make or break the difference between a good pitch & a winning pitch.
  47. 47. ‘ At no time ever in the history of making presentations has any prospect come out and said that they wished the meeting had taken longer’ (Andew Melsom in Market Leader) No matter how brilliant your presentation, if it overruns it will under perform. Prospective clients have a schedule hence if your presentation overruns it will upset their schedule. The pitch is the show case of an agency’s ability and if you can’t deliver during the presentation the prospective client won’t believe that you can deliver what they want, when they want it. KEEP TO TIME!
  48. 48. How you handle the closing questions can make or break the pitch. You will find yourselves under fire with purpose driven questions from the prospective client. Be prepared and anticipate what they might think & ask through your answers. Make sure that only one person answers as when many do it confuses more than clarifies. A prospective client who asks questions is interested so see the questions as opportunity.
  49. 49. ‘The only people who are remembered are the winners’ (Sprinter Linford Christie) You work in a competitive industry so expect that your competitors will produce the best possible creative & strategy- Because they will. Being very good won’t be good enough. To come first you need to take more risks & be experimental unlike your competitors as there are no prizes for coming second.
  50. 50. Choosing an agency is a tough decision for prospective clients. If they can find an easy reason exclude you, they will. Don’t let the search for the big idea mean you neglect the little things. Prospective clients remember mistakes ! They remember disorganization & discomfort. Brief reception before their arrival & never keep them waiting. Make sure that the presentation room is the right size & temperature. The prospective client is on the look out for anything that might trip you up and then look for the one you’ve missed.
  51. 51. Prospective clients will forget most of what you presented to them so leave-behinds are your best defense against amnesia. They will take this away & use as a reminder of what was discussed. Leave-behinds need to capture the magic & excitement of the pitch and they need to get the same message across with absolute clarity. The leave-behinds are about reminding not informing. Don’t expect the prospective clients to get form leave- behinds something that wasn’t in the pitch. Make them as professional as possible, your hunger for the prospective client business is reflected in their quality.
  52. 52. Imagine your prospective clients leaving the building after the pitch. They climb into the taxi & discuss what they’ve just seen & heard. They’re not going to remember all the details & subtleties of your presentation- they’ve seen 5 agencies already & are deep into pitch-fatigue. Their impression of you to boil down to a single point that you stood out for. Don’t fail the taxi test. Make sure you present one thing that you’ll be remembered for. Emphasize this one throughout so it won’t be forgotten
  53. 53. AFTER THE PITCH
  54. 54. The end of the pitch is not the end- it’s the prospective client final decision that’s final. Leaving no stone unturned means using the time between pitch & decision to further demonstrate your commitment & keenness towards the prospective client. Follow up whether there were any queries with regards to the presentation. Remember that the prospective client’s decision is rarely clear cut & unanimous. Continuing the momentum & excitement of your pitch can sway the scales in your favor. ‘It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up’ (Babe Ruth)
  55. 55. ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat’ (Philosopher George Santanya) Nobody wins every pitch but what you learn from your loss determines whether you win the next. Make the pitch post-mortem an essential part of your pitch process. Perhaps send them a post-pitch questionnaire. If possible arrange to go and see them to discuss & dissect the pitch. They might even want to deal with the pitch doctor as an alternative. No experience is wasted if you gain insight from it: Turn loss into lesson
  56. 56. When recruiting staff, Napoleon’s final question was always: ‘Do you consider yourself to be a lucky person?’ There’s an element of luck in any business. By reading & acting on the tips in this book, you’ve stacked the dice as far as possible in you favor. Once you’ve left nothing to chance, all you can do Is hope chance smiles on you. BE LUCKY!

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