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2016 Agency New Business Survey Results: The Biggest Challenges to Success

Many agencies wonder if their New Business challenges are different than other agencies.

To help agencies understand that their struggle is not unique, and that there are proven New Business Strategies that drive success, Linkergy held a recent webinar with agency leaders, focused on:  How to get on your prospect’s radar – Strategies to drive new business success.

As part of the presentation we polled the agency participants as to their pain points in getting on their prospect’s radar, questions and results included:

  1. “What is your agency’s primary New Business challenge?” Agency overall response was very clear:
  • 67% replied generating awareness, was the biggest challenge,
  • 22% replied getting a 1st meeting,
  • 11% replied converting a lead to a proposal,
  • 0% replied converting a proposal to a project/client win

What this means –agencies are faced with an ever-expanding universe of marketing service competitors and are now realizing it is more difficult than ever to gain awareness.  IF your agency has been effective in differentiating the agency brand and sharing your values and expertise with prospects, the other challenges become easier.  So the key question is:

How do you effectively generate awareness for your agency?

Agency differentiation relies on the ability to identify the agency’s optimal growth verticals, their needs and create a Thought Leadership and Content Marketing Strategy to showcase your agency insights into solving their challenges.  The content is not about the agency, it’s about the prospect’s needs.

To create impactful content, requires the agency develop unique, “own-able” Intellectual Capital. Invest in growing your agency knowledge base about your prospect’s industry, customers and needs.  Then share the insights.  For more intel about what is Intellectual Capital and how to productize it for new business, click here.

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Next, we asked the agency webinar participants about their use of Intellectual Capital:

  1. What does your agency use as Intellectual Capital for their Content Marketing, the results were:
  • 55% focus on subject matter expertise in an industry/customer segment
  • 36% focus on their “unique” process
  • 9% invest in custom research on a subject of value to growth vertical
  • 0% leverage an eBook/content published by agency leadership

What this means – There is a lot of gray area when it comes to agencies creating high-value subject matter content to “educate” prospects with insights about their business.  It is positive that subject matter expertise is the focus, but a significant trigger for how agencies can demonstrate credibility to prospects is bringing new insights by commissioning proprietary research about the industry/customer groups.  This proves the agency puts its money-where-their-mouth-is about how they aggregate their knowledge.

This leads to you have created the content to engage prospects, ensuring it lives in multiple formats (video, blog, email, social media, conference presentation, eBook, etc.…) now what?

          How will the Prospects find your Content? And how will you know? 

Successful B2B marketing is predicated on ensuring your brand and values are found by your prospects when THEY are looking.  When are they looking?  As that is the big question, you need to be “found” 365 days per year, consistently building a relationship with key prospects who will not engage with a partner unless they Know Like and Trust your agency.

To ensure the right prospects are receiving your content and you can track what they see, how long they engage and when, you need to invest in a Marketing Automation system.  More than an email platform, like MailChimp or Emma, a Marketing Automation system is designed to house your prospects and content, distribute the content that is more relevant to their needs, and monitor when they are more engaged in your agency.

Lastly, we asked our webinar participants about how they engage prospects…

  1. How does your agency deploy and monitor your Content Marketing?
  • 43% use an email marketing platform like MailChimp
  • 22% use their own email system which does not track results
  • 11% use a marketing automation platform
  • 11% don’t have a content marketing plan or platform

What this means – Most agencies have slowly come to the realization that as the Buyer is in charge of engaging with your agency or not, strategic Content Marketing is the key to ensuring the right message is getting to the right prospects at the right time.  Email is the workhorse of delivering content, so it is good that agencies are at least leveraging an email marketing platform to deliver, test and see who opens and clicks.  But that does not provide enough information or tools to lead nurture and accelerate a brand marketer through their Buyer’s journey.

What is the value of Marketing Automation beyond Email Marketing?

Marketing Automation has been around for over 15 years.  A reliable marketing automation platform provides multiple additional benefits beyond just an email system.

  • A marketing automation system (linked to a CRM like Salesforce) or like SharpSpring with an internal CRM, houses all your contacts and history of what content/contacts have been provided to each, when, and the response.
  • In marketing automation a core goal is to generate more “right” contacts, when prospects enter their contact information on your landing page, which provides you more contacts, and the prospect more insights/value.
  • With a marketing automation system, content is continuously fed to each prospect, based on their visits, and areas of interest. This provides continued drip, drip, drip content geared to their needs/stage.
  • Some marketing automation systems also provide social media publishing – allowing your content to appear in key social media feeds where your prospects might engage with it (LinkedIn and Twitter are key B2B platforms)
  • In marketing automation you set up lead scoring – so that each behavior a contact provides online results in a given score, allowing the agency to see at an identified threshold level, when a prospect is more engaged with your digital brand. This score signifies they may be ready for a call or custom email from your business development team.

The purpose of Content Marketing for New Business is to ensure the right prospects see the right message at the right time – all based on the prospect’s schedule and needs.

So you now may be asking yourself …

Where’s the Beef?  What is the ROI on this New Business Approach?

During the webinar we featured Ariad Health, an agency that has successfully employed this approach to drive new business success.  Over the course of 4 years they developed a point of view to focus their Content Marketing/Intellectual Capital and Inbound/Outbound Sales around a fresh and unique lens into patient behavior ….  with proprietary research … and generated a 25% RR in initial meetings, and a 3.5X ROI on New Business program investment.

Click here to hear from Richard Marcil, of Ariad Health.

Agency New Business is not easy, but if your agency needs to solve the awareness problem, Content Marketing is a proven process to get on your prospect’s radar and grow your agency pipeline. Proprietary content, a unique POV, leveraged through a strong Marketing Automation platform, will accelerate your agency’s success.

If you’d like to learn more about how to create powerful content marketing and the tools to engage your prospective clients, click here to download our webinar.

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