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Plan Ahead: It's Open Enrollment Period for New Business

Posted by Mark Duval on Oct 20, 2016, 7:20:00 AM
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The fourth quarter has just started, bringing with it shorter days and a change of seasons. We addressed the topic of finishing strong for the last quarter of 2016 in a previous post. With fall upon us, it’s also time to start thinking about planning for your 2017 new business needs.

How Did You Do In 2016? Where Do You Want To Be In 2017?

One annual ritual we encounter at this time of year is the open enrollment period for our health insurance needs in 2017. I like to think about this also as an open enrollment period for agency new business because it’s the perfect time to assess the health of your agency and determine what can be done to ensure that it continues to grow and prosper in the upcoming year.

If there is one constant I hear from agency owners, it’s their need to grow their new business. Here’s my question: is what you are doing right now working?

Hiring In 2017? Start Now!

If this is the year you have decided that your agency needs to hire a new business director now is the time to start! On average, it will take close to six months to hire and onboard a new Director of Business Development. In the best-case scenario, if you started that process today, most likely you will not have activity engaging prospective clients until February.

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Ad Age just reported this finding by business intelligence firm Advertiser Perceptions: Nearly two-thirds of leading U.S. advertisers are planning for creative agency reviews in the next year. If that doesn’t motivate you to create a strategic and consistent new business program, then nothing will.

Even if the numbers in the Ad Age article are somewhat exaggerated, it’s still a good reminder of the need to make sure your current client relationships are strong. The average client-agency relationship lasts slightly less than three years (The Bedford Group). This means there are robust opportunities to pursue and pitch in the upcoming months and in the New Year.

Are You Prepared For The Next Round Of Agency Reviews?

New business is hard, and the results are often not immediate. If you refuse to plan and create a consistent program, it will have a much longer reaching negative impact on your business than it would to make the time to sit down and create a program.

We will follow up on this post next week with some simple steps you can take to start putting together a new business program for your agency. These will be steps you can implement immediately, which will put you in good shape to start the New Year.

Learn more:

Can Outsourced New Business Help Your Agency booklet

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This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse by Mark Duval on October 6, 2016.

Image credit: © rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo; modified by text overlay.

Topics: Biz Development Processes & Tips

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