Archive for the ‘ New Business ’ Category

Marketing Coordinator Position Available (New Business Development)

It is the job of the marketing coordinator to assist with the generation of an established benchmark of new business leads and prospects for the agency according to a pre-defined set of client criteria.  The marketing coordinator generates research on prospects and assembles reports to use in attracting and inciting prospects’ interest in the agency.  Also, the marketing coordinator maintains the prospect database, makes and keeps appointments, leads and prospects, maintains and follows up on regular new business developer mailings to prospects, looks for new leads, creates prospect profiles, and stays up to date on correspondence relating to all prospect contacts.

Reports to the agency ceo who manages agency new business development.

Responsibilities:

  • Practices effective sales efforts resulting in a steady increase of new business.
  • Wins profitable new accounts that are professional, courteous and long-term.
  • Coordinates projects/jobs for smooth, efficient operation of new business effort.
  • Communicates effectively between the agency and prospective clients.
  • Actively listens and seeks to understand clients’ needs and then convinces them the agency can meet those needs.
  • Uses client contact software to maintain detailed digital files documenting all contacts with each prospect including mailings, calls, appointments, and correspondence; records all research, reports, sales information or other materials used or created for use in selling the agency to each prospect.
  • Keeps timely contact with prospects through regular emails, mailings, phone calls, and appointments.
  • Coordinates with the agency ceo to schedule prospecting emails/newsletters, search marketing ads and other online tactics.
  • Keeps thorough records on all prospects so others can handle new business development responsibilities during the developer’s absence.
  • Maintains a new business prospect database including primary, secondary and general target prospects; records product/market information about each prospect; and regularly updates all contact information.
  • Follows up on all prospect meetings with letters/agency literature.
  • In preparation for future growth, creates, refines, and documents the entire sales system in a manner that will easily allow training of another new marketing coordinator. Includes each minute process including scripting of sales calls/meetings, proper attire, software requirements, presentation strategies, etc.
  • Looks for new business leads by building contacts with selected industry trade publications and organizations, business and civic groups; maintains Prospect Profiles for agency marketing director’s review and approval for adding to prospect list; adds to prospect list with approved leads gained from business contacts, networking, etc.
  • In conjunction with the agency ceo, researches and constructs reports on selected prospects/industries/products for use as “intelligent marketing tools” in sales efforts with prospects.
  • May be called upon to represents agency in the community through business/civic organizations.
  • Inventories all materials/supplies needed to continue the new business effort uninterrupted, including 3-D mailing pieces, agency brochures, agency newsletters and other promotional literature, letterhead, press release forms, etc., and alerts production manager if there is a need to restock.
  • Meets with the agency account service team, including agency ceo, to keep them informed of new business opportunities gained from new business efforts; transfers prospect contact to president/account service team when agency is ready to “go in.”
  • Maintains current job-related software and technical skills and notifies agency marketing director if training, computer hardware/software upgrades or purchases are needed.
  • Adds input to marketing plans/proposals when prospect is elevated to account status; shares all available research and industry information for this purpose.

Listen Up Pitches!…The Pitch Process from a Creative’s Mind

Before I begin, this behind-the-scenes look through a creative’s mind can be a little scary. I promise to stay on track and stick to the subject matter of what a pitch entails…or at least mention what it should entail. Let’s start with the obvious – before you begin a pitch, learn about your client, their business and their customer. Each client will expect you to be sensitive to their business and industry, so let the homework begin. Embark with research into the industry trends, lingo and competitors, but get the entire team working on this – different perspectives and research avenues will prove invaluable in the kick-off meeting. Also, dig into the client’s personal tastes, from who they associate with to their personal interests, such as what they watch, read, like and are involved in. This helps in choosing your “voice” of the presentation. However, the most important study is finding their target audience—and digging deeper. Are there other demos we could hit? Can we expand sales to existing customers and what will engage all of them to act? More often than not, you can change a client’s weariness of a new idea when you back it with this kind of research.

Now let’s talk about that new creative idea. Our biggest hurdle with new ideas is just that – that they’re new ideas. This means change to a client and many people do not like change. Before your pitch, make sure you are speaking to someone that’s interested in change, and if they’re not, find out why they think an agency is needed in the first place.

Moving forward, what happens when you find that idea, but it just isn’t working? Sometimes, even if the passion is there, that big idea isn’t always the right fit.  Ask yourself and your peers: Does this solve a specific problem or need? Is this problem worth solving? And will it translate into profits? Can it be implemented realistically? If these can be answered and backed up with research, creative thinking and real passion – then you have the big idea!

The thing we must always ask ourselves – how do we communicate the idea to the client effectively? First, you need to develop the elevator pitch – one short sentence that describes the idea at its highest level. Refine and simplify until it’s interesting, intelligent and to the point. The rest of your presentation should be based on this simplified explanation of the big idea and flow out like an open fire hydrant.

So there you have it, pitches. We research, we learn, we create, we execute, but we do it all while something’s missing – The Client. This is how the majority of agencies have to operate – without their major puzzle piece intact. It’s a sad way to do business, at least in my opinion.

What happened to learning directly from the client before the pitch? It’s very doubtful that any creative director or copywriter will ever know as much about the client’s business as the client does. This may not sound promising to clients, but the truth is – most of their customers do not either, nor do they want to. As a Creative Director, I want to hear the business successes and failures directly from the president or founder. A walk down the company memory lane is usually the spark that ignites the passion and reason for being of that particular business. This experience is invaluable to a creative and helps the idea bloom. Then that idea (and a good agency plan) becomes the integral link between Client and Customer. We develop the idea in the language of the consumer and place the right message in areas that they frequent. This model, when all of the above is developed properly, usually results in sales.

So I ask you, Client – Pitch me! Please.

Five Things That Entrepreneurs Should Do In The Current Economic Climate

Sorry, entrepreneurs, the economy is not good.

You can’t do anything about that. But you can do some things to help your business weather the storm. Here are five suggestions:

1. Take advantage of decreasing costs. If you run a business, you don’t just have customers; you have suppliers too. If demand is decreasing for your product, chances are that your suppliers are facing slackening demand too. So you can take advantage of the current situation to strike better deals with your suppliers.

2. Provide more value to customers. When you start losing customers, the natural response is to cut prices to keep them. Price cuts stimulate demand, but they aren’t the best way to deal with declining demand. If you cut prices to try to preserve sales, your competitors are likely to follow your lead, leaving you with lower revenue and a still declining customer base. A better response to wavering demand is to provide extra value to customers. This will help you to maintain your customer base in a way that is harder for your competitors to copy.

3. Recognize that your competition is increasing. In a recession, competition accelerates because more businesses are chasing less total demand. In addition, when unemployment rises, people start businesses because their opportunity cost of doing so goes down, further increasing competition. So now is the time to make sure that you have a sustainable competitive advantage that will let you succeed in your battle against other companies.

4. Find your counter cyclical products. When customers cut back on their spending, they often substitute one product for another. For instance, in a recession, people might still eat out, but cut back the number of steak dinners that they buy. As a result, they increase demand for pasta dishes. To respond, to bad economic times, you need to come up with your counter cyclical products – the ones that people step down to keep buying from you but at a lower cost.

5. Avoid doing things that demand raising money. All categories of financing are down right now; and the cost of the capital for those who can get it has gone up. That means that right now isn’t the time to pursue the projects that require raising money. You are going to burn up a lot of time trying to get money that you’ll never get or that will come in at too high a price to make your projects viable. Since there’s a cost to spending time on things that fail, if you have the choice, focus on other things right now and put off the activities that require raising capital until capital is more freely and cheaply available.

* * * * *

This post was lifted from American Express, a vendor of EVOK’s that has been a valued partner.

About the Author: Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of eight books, including Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By; Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures; Technology Strategy for Managers and Entrepreneurs; and From Ice Cream to the Internet: Using Franchising to Drive the Growth and Profits of Your Company.

Grading Sheet for Evaluating New Business

Everyone needs new business, but in these tough economic times are you truly evaluating the prospect with the same scrutiny you did before the crash of 2008 or are you looking through rose-colored lenses? Too often, today’s hot prospect can be tomorrow’s nightmare client. For the client/vendor relationship to work, it has to be a good fit for both.

Consider creating a Grading Sheet or Pre-Qualification Survey to eliminate wasting resources chasing a bad prospect. Rate each response on a scale and set a minimum qualification score before you allocate considerable time and/or resources. You’ll thank yourself in the long run with greater client retention and eventually less resources dedicated to keeping the sales funnel full.

Here are some considerations you may want to incorporate, but remember each company’s ideal client or client fit criteria may/will be different. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and ones man’s rags are another man’s riches, and stuff like that.

Knowledge of Prospect’s Industry – You’ll be successful where you have experience. Too often, you can invest a great deal of resources into a thorough understanding of a market segment without vertical advancement. Now, your stuck without being able to amortize the investment across multiple clients. You’ll always face an uphill battle not having, at least, a few market specialties. Diversity will help shoulder sector downturns, but hedge your product/service offering with not only a balanced portfolio, but also with specific industry knowledge.

Proximity to Prospect – There is something to be said about being the “specialist from out of town.” Sometimes, the mystery of it all makes you that much sexier and paid more. Also, without being in the same market, no free lunches or expensive tickets to see Billy Joel. Now, balance that cost against airline tickets, rental car expenses, hotel receipts and mileage thrown at you by not-so-thrifty account executive expense reports. Then, on top of that, add all the local competitors, which you know nothing about, knocking on your clients door every day.

Chemistry Factor – You either like each other or you don’t. It’s that simple. You’ll know, although may not want to admit it, after the first meeting.

Contact Level High / # of Contacts Low – This could actually be two line items, but we are listing it as one. It is important to both work with a high-level contact at a client and also have fewer direct contacts. High-level contacts mean you are working directly with the decision maker and the fewer number of contacts means you have a filter. Or at least if you are “working by committee,” your only having to speak with the committee chair/representative. Fewer cooks = better recipe for success.

$X,XXX – $XX,XXX of Anticipated Monthly or Annual Revenue – You dirty your kitchen whether you bake one cookie or a dozen. Bake the dozen. But, also remember, you are a not Keebler (unless you are and then welcome to our blog – need an agency?) so don’t bite off more than you can chew. Know your limitations or if you do land the whale, too many of your resources would have to go to managing it and then, if lost, so are you. But, I digress. Controlled growth is another blog entry for a later date.

Incorporated – Yes, they can hide behind the corporation if they don’t pay, but what do you think is easier to pry out of a hand, a PO from a CMO or a personal check from an entrepreneur’s 401K?

X Years Old – Youth has its advantages, but not when you are wondering if your client will be around in a few years. remember, most business fail. Work with an established company.

Sales Between $X and $X – Look at the sales of the clients you have had success with in the past, add 15% and set a range. Typically, a budget is a percent of overall sales or gross revenue. It is important to look at both. What are their sales and what % are they allocating to your services. Is it above or below industry average? Is this a determining factor for how well they value your type of service?

Service Budget Between $X and $X – See above. Just important, so we put it on here twice.

Has Worked with a Company Similar to Yours in the Past – if you have to educate your client on the services you provide, you are just getting them ready for their next supplier. Once they understand what your service is, they’ll want to shop it around. Don’t be the first service supplier or you won’t be the last.

Can Clearly Articulate Goals of Working with a Service Provider Like Yours – If you don’t truly know what their needs or expectations are, how can you ever achieve success?

Industry or Field of Interest – I bet the photographer for Playboy likes coming to work more than the one at Sears that photographs my crying children.

Similar Business Philosophy – Simple, but so important. If you let a swear word fly, are they ok with it? If you have a drink with dinner, are they going to too? Are your business ethics on the same plane? Do they value your service? Do they reward or pay their employees similarly to you? If you take off the day after the Superbowl, will they understand? Find the right fit.

Credit Worthiness – It is not only important that you work with clients that have money, but also with those who are willing to give it to you. Check out their Dunn and Bradstreet, and if you don’t subscribe, lean on your banker to help you. They aren’t doing anything right now, are they?

Then, tally the score. Commit resources only when the numbers are in your favor. There are tons of leads – chase the good ones.

Lastly, who says this has to be just a new business tool? Consider grading your existing clients every year. Throw is a few more questions on profitability and then drop the bottom 10% or so. Over time, you’ll run a more efficient portfolio and a happier staff.