Despite extolling the virtues of brand positioning to clients, many agencies fail to properly develop their own brands.
It’s a classic story of the shoemaker’s children who wear no shoes—a tired proverb, to be sure, but perennially appropriate.
But, we never hear how those children turned out. Did they grow up plagued by chronic foot problems? Did they become adults whom you could dress up but never take out?
Or, is it possible they turned out OK?
I’ve met too many agency CEOs, especially of small to mid-sized agencies, who find specialization such a hurdle (mentally, emotionally and operationally) that they end up not doing anything at all.
Rather than let those agencies languish, I’ve started developing alternative methods to at least help them raise their profiles and pursue clients in a consistent, sustainable way.
In this month’s post, I share some of those methods, and offer a way to determine if being a generalist is worth the investment for your agency.
My last post on new business process was on qualifying pitch opportunities – specifically how to empower your new business team to assess opportunities as they come over the transom. In it, I talked about selection criteria and their importance in serving as guide posts to keep you on your strategic path.
Selection criteria are guide posts to keep you on your strategic path.
Selection criteria span from broad to specific, quantitative to qualitative. The most basic should be considered barriers to entry (the answers being pretty obvious) and include:
- What the monetary value of the account or assignment is and whether it meets your financial goals
- Whether it’s free of any conflicts of interest with any other clients
- If it’s a scope of work that you are qualified to (or that you want to) perform
Not everyone loves process, but when you’re managing the chaos of a new business pitch, it can really help. Process is especially important in unwieldy situations (think of a global pitch at a big agency with dozens of stakeholders across continents), but it’s just as useful for a small one-office agency. Working within a standard process gives everyone the reassurance that they are all playing from the same playbook. It can also empower your new business team to make decisions that will save time, limit confusion and keep things moving forward.
For these first weeks of 2014, I’ll be focusing on new business process and its operational components – what they are, why they’re important and how to use them.
Step 1 in any new business process: qualify the opportunity.
For this post, let’s start at the start. You’ve received an RFP. What’s your first reaction? Maybe it’s “let’s go for it!,” but is the opportunity right for you? Maybe you’ve even received multiple RFPs, all probably due at around the same time. Are they equally important and do you have the resources to tackle them effectively?