A consistent and solid prospecting program is essential if you want to establish the long-term success of your agency. Prospecting unfortunately enjoys a bad reputation because it is often associated with canvassing.
Yet, it is not just about phoning strangers hoping they will not hang up before hearing your pitch, it’s all about creating a relationship .
How to develop a prospecting program in an agency
In terms of prospecting, it is important to consider two aspects. First, most marketing teams in their business are not actively seeking marketing services from an agency.
So you have to set your expectations in the long run, because it’s a process that does not end in an instant. In addition, the relevance of your services is essential, they must meet the needs of your prospect.
Ask yourself what work you have done in your prospect’s area, what problems you have solved and what solutions you have made.
The most successful agencies can also benefit from assistance with their business development program. A common problem is a poorly organized prospecting plan, which often results in hastily accepted projects to avoid losing a large customer. Agencies tend to adopt quick fixes to compensate for lost revenue.
Prospecting is not a one-time event. On the contrary, it’s a long-term job that requires time, strategy and attention.
When establishing your prospecting program, you will need to consider these key aspects:
- Do not ignore the data. Use a CRM to manage an active prospecting list. You should define a total number of weekly activities or “points of contact”.
- Create prospect profiles for your ideal target customers to reflect the right criteria for fees, areas of expertise, business size, and sometimes even geography.
- Your agency must have a positioning and a precise and quality argument.
- Your website is your main business asset, it must clearly state your position and your expertise.
- Consistency is important. Book a daily niche for prospecting. It can be five calls, five emails or any other promised activity. Prospecting must be part of your daily tasks.
- Everything is a question of attitude. Prospecting is a difficult task that does not always produce results. By establishing a solid plan, you will be able to face the pitfalls.
The essential activities of prospecting
Once the preparation work is complete, you must identify the activities that will make up your prospecting program. Some tactics seem preferable to others and are the subject of many articles.
So, you may have read that cold calls are out of date, that the opening rate of emails is low, that content is ignored, that sales on social networks are limited … Do not believe everything you read because you might not find a worthwhile strategy.
The best approach is to build on your strengths, commit to implementing them, and prepare for long-term work.
Your prospecting program can consist of a mixture of:
- Social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)
- Professional publications of the sector
- Trade fairs and conferences
- Blog and e-books (demonstrating a quality of thought leader)
- Targeted phone and email campaigns
Such a process is not just about phone prospecting, it’s just an example and your program can include many other activities. The more you can implement, the more you increase your chances of success.
Your plan will, however, have some limitations in terms of time, human resources and material resources. It may be wise to choose three activities to create a coherent program and then add additional tactics over time.
Example of a prospecting program for a “developing” agency
1 – Update the website
Make the necessary changes to your website to focus on your customers and showcase your industry expertise with case studies, reviews and tailored content. Prospects who visit your site should be able to easily find the information they are looking for.
The design and terms used must be simple; do not confuse your visitors with jargon or scripts and long graphics to load. Create forms-related offers that allow you to capture prospect information, have relevant discussions, and conduct your lead nurturing.
2 – Commit to carry out prospecting activities
If business calls are not the strength of your team members, you can demonstrate that you are a thought leader on your blog, for example. A talented agency CEO can publish an article every week, and prove his expertise with quarterly content dealing with the challenges facing brands and a constantly changing technology environment.
These articles will provide a great influx of traffic, which the agency will then capture with content-centric content conversion and lead nurturing e-mailing campaigns.
The team will also be able to complete their e-mails with highly targeted calls to contact interested leads, ie those who have visited the site and downloaded offers from the bottom of the funnel.
3 – Integrate the recommendations into the prospecting program
A formal referral program can provide a steady stream of leads and strengthen a prospecting program. Indeed, several studies show that a prospect is more likely to engage with an agency if it has been recommended by a reliable source.
Agencies often make recommendations, but very few have a formal program in place that offers them more opportunities.
A five-step meeting process is often put in place as part of a meeting to inform a client of an agency’s performance, such as a quarterly results presentation. The circumstances lend themselves perfectly to the setting up of a structured recommendation program.
The steps to follow are as follows:
- Remind the client of the inventory at the beginning of the contract.
- Evaluate the professional relationship. Do you respect deadlines and established goals? Ask the client team to rate your performance on a scale of 1 to 10. A score of six or less indicates that you need to improve your work; it is therefore not recommended to ask for a recommendation in this case.
- Has the client’s business changed? If so, you may have the opportunity here to offer other services, solve new challenges, hire new people, create new relationships, and so on. You can also inform the customer of changes made in your agency, for example, to add a new product or service that would allow you to develop your relationship.
- Are there additional opportunities or tasks for your agency? Ask the client if he could introduce your agency to other companies that may need your services. It is important that this discussion offers mutual benefits. Also ask the client how you can help him or if you can introduce him to another stakeholder.
- It is then necessary to define the tasks to be completed and their deadlines. Decide on a date for the presentations to be made.
When combined, these activities use what is sometimes referred to as a reactive-proactive approach. It consists of activities that an agency masters and can commit to doing to make the program work.
Note that this particular mix of activities does not preclude the use of marketing skills, even if your agency lacks business skills, like many of its competitors.
Prospecting is a task that may put some people off, perhaps because they do not really understand what it involves. Remember that a permanent survey will lead to the growth of your agency.
Some of the activities mentioned above may not be “proactive”, but you will get results if you do them consistently.
To go further and improve your business strategy, use this kit that will allow you to conclude more contracts through prospecting techniques