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Top 7 reasons why prospects meet agencies

Do you want to know the real reasons why brands choose to meet marketing agencies?

Getting the first meeting for your credentials presentation or a 'chemistry' session is often stated as being the hardest part of the business development sales pipeline.  Many agencies have told me that if only I could get them in front of a prospect then they'd perform a miracle and get picked for their newest campaign.

Phwaw.  Piffle.  Self-delusional nonsense.

I have little patience with agencies who cannot market themselves; who find their own business development hard; who cannot use the medium in which they sell advice to clients to find customers for themselves.

Call yourself a marketing agency?

And so it was a breath of fresh air to read Amanda Francis in the Alchemis blog detailing research findings of the top 7 reasons why brands choose to actually meet an agency.

Here are some top line results from the analysis of our 2010 business development activity on behalf of our clients.

They summarise why a prospect will agree to meet an agency based on calling prospects who meet the agreed criteria of vertical market, size, spend, profile and location.

  1. Rapport with prospect (this scored highly in those disciplines where there are neither discernible differentiators nor clear ROI, for example, Creative or Corporate communications agencies)
  2. Direct relevant experience supported by case studies (this scored highly in all disciplines, particularly PR and creative)
  3. Proven ROI supported by case studies (particularly relevant in PR and Direct Marketing)
  4. Unique methodology (primarily in Research)
  5. Niche skill set, namely in technology (mainly in Digital and Research)
  6. Chance of gaining insight from the meeting (mainly in creative and PR)
  7. Location of the agency (again, mainly in creative and PR)

So what's the learning for your agency?

Number 1 is no surprise to me.  you have to be personable, likeable and able to 'make friends' superficially easily in order to quickly benefit from one face to face meeting and be remembered.  When hiring your own biz dev team - don't take on anyone who doesn't instantly put you at your ease and give off a warm and friendly vibe even in a tense interview situation.  It's no different from a pitch.

Number 6 is the one that I have personally used with the most success when I was client side.

Want to learn more about something new / different / interesting?  Get an agency in to tell you about it.   This works very well for any re-interpretation of marketing methodology and social media for business is the latest lever of this  method.

Share your knowledge before the meeting and you stand an even bigger chance of getting onto the pitch list.

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