Business Development for Independent Branding Agencies
If it weren’t for the business development team, no company would exist. Everybody is selling something, either it’s their skills, products or services. Sales support your entire agency; revenue is what allows you to hire the best of the best in every field, outstanding creatives, content creators, and video specialists that make renowned power-brands shine.
Good business developers are incredibly valuable; they’re the ones in charge of your agency’s first impression. When I’m looking for potential business catalysts, I’m looking for advocates for my branding agency. These are the people that will be pitching with enthusiasm and will be required to be knowledgeable about the industry. It’s easier to sell something you actually believe in. Make sure that before adding new recruits, you take the time to get to know them, get out of the standard interview questions, and find common ground.
All sectors are experiencing some change in consumer behavior. We are going through tough times. Being prepared to step up our game in the next quarter will determine the wellbeing of your employees. According to Forbes, 98% of sales leaders report their businesses will be disrupted by the pandemic by over five sales quarters as they adapt to uncertainty.
Forming and maintaining a business development team is an art. An organization will only be as good as its people. Make sure you invest in your people and maintain close communication with your team leaders, primarily if you work with them remotely.
Leading The Dream Team
Remotely managing a team is different than managing a team face-to-face. Your commercial strategy and execution will determine your overall company success. Remember that they say that a fool with a plan is better than a genius without one. That being said, proceed to have written scenario planning that could be clearly interpreted if you needed to step out of the picture.
Foster collaboration within your team so business developers can share experiences and advice between them. Sales representatives also must possess excellent written and spoken communication skills, you really don’t want to mess up in this area. Small details count, your teams and your agency’s reputation might be at stake. Have a strong communication strategy to back up your team. Your branding agency should be putting out its state of the art content so that your team can be confident in the rest of your agency’s quality of work.
You must be in constant communication with your sales team. Set and monitor your KPIs. Be sure to set realistic, measurable, and clear goals. Following a SMART objective format is useful. There’s no confusion between what you want to achieve, set goals to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and with a due date.
Give continuous constructive feedback. Schedule weekly huddle meetings, so the team has visibility of the overall achievements. Agility is especially important when looking to win new accounts. A team that’s dynamic and has excellent soft skills will stand out from the rest. As the Chief Speed Officer of my branding agency, Speed-spoiler alert, you can already see where this is going. I know responsiveness and acting fast is the same as being first. Specialized branding services need to be tailored to our clients’ needs.
CPG companies need to continually put out crazy amounts of content across all platforms.
Omnichannel marketing is useful to concentrate data across all brand channels, but it can be a challenge to supply all of these in short notice. Content for Social and E-comm is widely requested. With most of the population in some form of social distancing, it’s essential to read the room to remain relevant while not coming out as insensitive to others.
How many leads have you identified, how many new accounts have you signed? These are the questions you should be asking yourself to measure your advancements. It’s also vital to monitor conversion rates, cost per leads, and customer value. One more thing, as I have stated before, refrain from micromanaging and celebrate small wins. Now more than ever, we need to keep our team and our spirits up. Praise your team every chance you get; your tough guy persona will only get you so far, loosen up a little.
Nurturing Your Clients
Interaction with your clients goes smoother when you are genuine. Map your sales process, but let your plans be flexible and fast when giving your clients estimates. Consider the lifetime value of your customer. Initial trade-offs might have to occur to win over a new client.
Your capability deck must be outstanding. Your web page is an extra tool that has to be carefully curated, responsive, and attractive to your clients. Have the tools to promote your potential customers’ engagement with your sales material and presentations. Talk to them one on one, sometimes they’re seeking a slight variation of your service, and you might be capable of providing it without even knowing yet. Listen carefully!
You must embrace a customer-centric approach, so there’s alignment between the business development team, account executives, and the rest of your departments. Having a collective vision will ensure that everyone knows where we’re going and what we aim at. Many conflicts can be avoided if everybody clearly understands our organization’s goals and purpose.
High-performing business developers are sales driven, generate leads and follow up, and make sure to answer their potential clients’ queries and concerns; they’re agile and have a high closing rate.
Know your team, and what works for them. Having the right mindset is 80% of the job. Master your value proposition. Use technology to track and evaluate your leads. Remember that clients are still people, connect with them in a manner that feels natural, and where you aren’t forcing things to happen. Pushing too much might cost you a potential client, make sure you’re not annoying but assertive.
Surround yourself with teams that are passionate about learning new skills and try new things. Fear-based decisions are not welcomed on my watch—plan from a place of clear judgment and accurate measuring of surrounding circumstances. Meet opportunities with preparation and keep expanding your portfolio.
There are three things I want you to remember:
- Invest and take care of your team.
- Present your best work, and let it do the talking.
- Establish meaningful relationships with your clients.
As an experienced sales-driven individual, I know that focusing on reaching your goals and investing in your people go hand-in-hand. Peter Drucker said, “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” Enhance your people’s vision and watch your agency reach new heights.
Chief Speed Officer at 121