“When we get in the room we pretty much convert every time but the problem is… we don’t get enough leads”

January 28, 2022

You’ve said it, heard it, or both. If I had a pound for every time an agency owner said this to me, I’d be a rich man.

Whilst admiring the confidence, it’s worth bearing in mind these common challenges;

The more you grow, the greater your overheads, the more strain on your new business strategy to deliver. And as you scale, your conversion will drop.  The competition gets more fierce and you have to learn and adapt new ways of pitching for larger briefs.

Arguably the hardest part of winning new business – especially for those trying to avoid pitches and create great long-term relationships – is getting on someone’s radar, meeting them and then nurturing the prospect.

Agency owners only want to rock up for the show, but in doing so they underestimate what is required to get leads and don’t appreciate the full repertoire of marketing and BD skills they need in their armoury.


So where are these leads coming from?

The work that goes into generating leads is phenomenally hard. There is no magic wand; no point listening to the shitty sales guys promising they’ll generate you 200 leads a week through their spammy automation email platform; or lead gen agency that can guarantee you a brief in the first 3 months; or just hiring more and more BD people with no clear positioning, strategy or marketing plan.  It’s about time expectations are managed, so be prepared to roll up your sleeves!

They make their lives much harder by failing to create a distinct proposition. I’ve seen agencies spend months/years trying to define this and build a new website; and the output is mediocre at best.  So one of the biggest fears is not knowing what great looks like.

Time management continues to be an issue – spending too long on tasks that won’t make a difference, and avoiding doing the key tasks that will.  We see constant laziness, excuses, and just not being organised. Agencies probably lose about 30% productivity (and therefore profit) by not being efficient.  And miss countless leads because they won’t do a bit of outreach, get back in touch with an old contact or post on social.

Marketing has to be opinionated, educational, inspiring and entertaining to capture the attention of our prospects. This then gives you the right to begin the nurturing process. But the reality is… most agencies post average blogs sporadically, stick them on a website or LinkedIn and then sit back waiting for the phone to ring. It’s incredibly naive!

The work that goes into researching the companies, finding the prospects, reaching out to them several times; all takes much longer than agency owners realise. And then there’s the patience and consistency required when things don’t materialise in the first 6 months.

If you’re thinking of investing in BD properly for less than 6 months, don’t bother. In that time you should be able to create a new business culture and see the sprouts starting to show. If you have done this but it hasn’t worked for you, then you’ll need to speak to a decent new business consultancy, prepare yourself for some home truths and be prepared to make the changes to turn it around.

Don’t just think about objectives for 2021.  Put a target and plan in place for the end of March. What milestones do you want to hit? What KPIs can you hit? Make them realistic and measurable. And put the monthly reviews in your diary now!

If you’re still a bit stuck, please book in a workshop. No obligation. I give hundreds of agency owners and BD people advice all the time. Those that know me, know I don’t sell. My aim is to make BD easier and more enjoyable for people. Maybe even learn to love it ?

But if you don’t like hearing the truth, then don’t bother.