A new business sales plan is critical for achieving agency growth. Yet, when I ask prospective new agency clients, “What’s your new business or sales plan?” the majority of the time I’m met with an awkward pause before the confession: “We really don’t have one.”
Most agencies rely on referrals, but don’t have a formal referral plan. Instead, they work their network or rely on word of mouth. These are all great avenues for revenue generation, but without a strategy and organized execution, they’re more reactive than proactive.
The key to establishing a consistent new business sales plan is to first make the decision that doing so is an agency priority . The second step is to create the plan and put filters in place to ensure implementation. A recent Mirren Business Development study showed that the primary reasons new business plans fail are (1) lack of discipline and accountability, and (2) lack of team commitment.
Pick a point person. Someone needs to be in charge and be held accountable, because if everyone is accountable then no one is truly accountable. After you pick that point person, a few things should be done in short order to build a plan:
- Executive leadership buy-in and commitment. If you don’t have this, the plan is destined to fail.
- Set realistic goals. New business is a long game and you should plan accordingly.
- Establish your new business strategies and tactics – how will you go to market?
- How is your agency perceived in the marketplace versus competitors? Who are your competitors and what are they doing? How is your agency currently positioned? Can you demonstrate expertise in an industry? Do your marketing materials clearly tell that story?
- Identify short-term and long-term goals and revenue needs. Be very conservative about your short-term revenue goals. This takes time.
If you currently lack a new business sales plan, don’t worry. Building one is an opportunity to strengthen your agency. If you follow the fifteen steps above, you’ll be on the right track to success.