2. Study their business, categories, industries, and market effects. Assign a team to each “account”
It’s funny how everybody at the agency wants to help with New Business, until you ask them. Then they seem to go dark into the black hole of account emergencies/personal dilemmas/health problems/pet responsibilities/kid’s soccer games/deaths in the family, etc.. Then, when they’re laid off due to an account loss attributed to a new CMO (just a matter of time) they run to Agency Spy and dish the dirt on how lame the agency is.
So it’s critical to establish an inclusive New Business culture. Donny Deutsch once said that New Business is a “religion” within the agency. Like Mass (I doubt Donny ever went to Mass), it’s good to attend a weekly “service”. Some agencies do this first thing every Monday morning. This is a good idea. To paraphrase “Field of Dreams”, if you put out free food, they will come. Krispy Kreme and Chicken Biscuits usually work. Recruit a new business “war council” (I’m actually a pacifist) of your most ambitious people. Make sure all disciplines are represented, including administrative, financial, IT and even Custodial (you’ll be surprised what you’ll learn from them). Invite your most AMBITIOUS people, not necessarily your “best and brightest”. Invite the rebels and iconoclasts. They have a great new business mentality. Don’t make this Monday morning meeting a “dashboard report”. Make it a lively discussion forum. Encourage new outreach ideas. Reward those ideas when they secure a meeting or drive an inquiry. Once a year, take this group offsite for inspiration. Bring in a New Business speaker/specialist.
Okay. You’ve got your Top 5 prospects and 3-Ring binders. You have your New Business Council (give it a name — brand it within the agency, have fun with it but don’t be cornball). Now assign a team to each “account” (Top 5 prospect). It’s their responsibility to fill the binders. It’s their responsibility to formulate an educated POV on the prospect, their business, category, market effects, industry trends, etc.. I crack up when agencies rush to these ornate but makeshift “war rooms” once they get in a pitch. And they think clients fall for it — like they can learn enough in 3 weeks to form a credible POV on their business. Clients are smirking behind their back at you.
WHERE TO LOOK?
There is a one-stop solution for all your prospect research. It’s called Access Confidential (www.accessconfidential.com). Just go there — set up a free tutorial with Lisa. It provides ALL the basic information necessary to fulfill your checklist (see previous post). It blows away The List and other watered-down database services. Subscribe. Search. Read. You will know more about your prospects than their own management.