Summer is well underway. Before letting any more time pass by, take a pause to assess your agency’s sales efforts. Summer is often considered a challenging time of year for sales. The truth is that sales is a challenging undertaking year-round—and yet, business is still won by the persistent. Those who aren’t making excuses for putting out less effort this summer are building relationships and closing!
With nearly half of the year ahead of us, it’s still possible to meet year-end targets; time is still on your side. On the other hand, if you slow down during the summer months and wait for Labor Day to go full throttle, you may find yourself crunched for time. Keep in mind that right now is when many brands are spending down the balance of their 2019 budget (potentially open to project work) and planning their 2020 budgets. Now is an ideal time to seize opportunities and generate new work.
I recommend keeping your regular new business outreach tactics (calls, emails, etc.) in place year-round. Additionally, summer is also the perfect opportunity to take stock and reboot. Are you on track to meet your annual agency new business goals? If not, make changes.
Here are 3 things you can do now for agency
1. Create a referral process
Make referrals part of your repeatable system. Most agencies seek client referrals periodically, on an ad hoc basis. Other referral business may come your way by chance. But odds are, you don’t have a formal referral plan. With no defined strategy or organized execution, referral initiatives remain stuck in the reactive zone—potentially costing you valuable opportunities. Trying to get a referral in a pinch diminishes the effectiveness of your request.
What can you do? Once you determine that referrals are a priority for agency new business, be proactive about seeking referrals. Make referral requests part of your regular sales process. Create reusable templates. Integrate referral requests into quarterly account reviews, or after contract renewals, or following a major success — whenever you can build off of a client’s satisfaction with your work. Carly Stec, senior content strategist for Hubspot, suggests building referrals into your agency agreements. Whatever you do, make your requests for referrals timely, easy, and pressure-free.
2. Assess progress towards new business goals
Take stock of your annual goals and plans and see whether you’re still on track to meet them. Assess your pipeline and YTD sales against your annual goals. Considering factors such as average sales cycle and your chance of closing qualified opportunities, are you on track to meet your annual sales goals? Where are you falling short? Do you need to step it up to compensate? Determine where you stand against annual goals while there is still time to change what you are doing.
At this point, you should know the answers to these questions:
- What opportunities do I need to focus on in the next 30-60 days to get them to close before year-end?
- Which prospects, customers, and activities are eating up too much of my time? Will they generate enough revenue to make my time worthwhile? Can I dial back on the wrong opportunities to become more productive?
- Am I behind on my YTD goals? How many more activities do I need to do to make up for that and get back on track? What do I need to do in the next 30-60 days to be where I need to be?
TIP: Don’t have a written sales plan? Perhaps you never got around to formalizing your annual goals? Do it now. A partial plan is better than no plan at all. Create a roadmap to guide you. This can be done fairly quickly and will provide the structure and strategy that so many agencies are lacking when it comes to new business.
3. Get focused on the right opportunities
Be sure to use a solid sales qualification process. If you want to meet your annual goals, you can’t afford to waste time chasing the wrong accounts. Disqualify those who are not genuine prospects as soon as you can. Use these tips to eliminate unqualified prospects and spend more time building relationships with the people whose business you want and are able to close. This is one thing you can do that will have a major impact on your ability to meet your year-end agency new business goals.
New business happens 365 days a year. That said, workplaces do tend to slow down and be more relaxed in the summer months. Take advantage of any summertime slowdown and use it to improve your agency new business position for the rest of the year. The sooner, the better when it comes to addressing any sales shortcomings. With each day that passes, your opportunities to meet your year-end goals decreases. So what are you waiting for?
Want to grow your agency sales? Download this case study to see how the Duval Partnership worked with an NYC-based creative agency to resuscitate their failing new business program.
- Ideas to Keep Agency New Business on Track this Summer
- Improve Prospect Qualification To Boost Agency Close Rate
- How to Have More Effective Conversations with Agency Prospects
- Tips to Win More Agency New Business This Year
- Avoid These 3 Deceptive Myths About Agency New Business
Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/miodrag ignjatovic
This post was updated for accuracy and relevance on August 1, 2019.