New Business: Evaluate and Define Groups

Okay. So far, we have discussed the initial steps to build your own new business department. As I’ve stated, a new business department does not always need more than one dedicated, full-time employee. Let’s face it. Entrepreneurs start out wearing every hat there is running their own business. We have also talked about defining your parameters so that what you have to offer is actually meaningful and of interest to the target market you have in mind.

Here’s a quick refresher on defining your parameters so you don’t have to flip back to the former post and so you can compare the difference I am going to share between defining your parameters and evaluating and defining groups.
First, here is the list I provided to help define key parameters in areas that relate specifically with what you have as a product and/or service and what businesses you want to attract to become your newest customers:

  1. Industry – Taking your products and services in mind, what industries can best benefit from your offerings?
  2. Annual Revenue – A publicly owned company states what its annual revenue is. Based on a company’s revenue, you may be able to identify if your offerings are something the company would be willing to purchase from an outside source.
  3. This way for more

New Business Steps: Gather Your Leads

Once you have defined your new business parameters, it’s time to gather your leads. And of course, you want to catch as many as you can to store them in a user-friendly database.

Selecting The Right Database Software For Your Needs: There are many from which you can choose. Some are free. Some come with a monthly charge and there are software packages you can purchase outright. The point I want to make is – do your research thoroughly and make sure your database is able to meet all of your needs to categorize leads by region, industry as well as print out reports that showcase call reports, next steps etc.

So, where can you find new business leads? You may be surprised at the resources available right at your fingertips.

For Instance:

Making The Right Moves When Starting A New Business Department

To be fair, beginning a new business department or even having one or two executives focused on new business can play out in a multitude of ways. It’s like a chess match. Depending on how good you are at the game, you may have several strategic moves to win. With that in mind, here are some of many new business specifics to consider with those who will be handling your company’s business growth.

What is New Business?
New business consists of any contact and/or company that your business and/or business executives have never contacted before.

If a call comes in based on knowing the owner, this is considered new business but is not considered ‘commission-based’ new business.
But wait, there’s more

Looking For New Business? Define Your Parameters

Most companies are looking for new business. And more emphasis is being placed on how to grow business by developing a new business strategy. No matter what your plans are for new business, you need to consider new business as a key component of your company from here on out. Remember, new business means you are working with companies and people you don’t know. And with any relationship, be it business or personal it takes time to develop trust. Sometimes you may find you are able to set up a meeting within the first week or so of contacting a prospect. Keep in mind, some great business will also be found 18 months later building a relationship with the decision maker and keeping in touch and being available when this person needs your services.

But before you can begin calling anyone, begin to build a contact list, which will be your new business database. To do this, compare what your company’s products and services are to what industries and companies in these industries need. Such as:
But wait, there’s more

“Okay. How Did You Really Get Those Results?” The New Business Process

In 2003, I was invited to present to a very well-known national advertising agency. At the time, I was working for a small, relatively unknown, local agency. Through the grapevine, the president of this national agency said he had heard I was simply the best at new business – bar none. We met briefly and he asked that I come back to explain exactly what my process was to winning new business and simply how I did what I did.

To give you a reference point, I built the new business department for this small firm I was currently employed from scratch. I developed a database with different levels of targets in key industries. I prepared a time line focusing on prospects in 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 12 month increments. I put into place what some witty colleagues called my ‘black box’ methodology. With all of this, I was able to gain face-to-face time with globally and nationally-known companies such as:
But wait, there’s more

Coach John Wooden: Inspiration for ad agency new business

Coach John Wooden: Inspiration for ad agency new business.

The New Business Test: Lose The Cozy Couch & Foosball Tables

Whether it’s your firm’s website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter accounts or new business collateral, when it comes to new business, there seems to be a lot of creative junk that is missing the mark to win new business. The question you should always keep in mind is – “Who is the audience I want to see and act on the information I am developing?”

Also, remember a website sitting alone gathers no new business. Please do not program, print or publish any information to entice new business before you consider putting what you plan to use up against this new business test.

New Business Test: Your Website

Decision Maker’s Thinking: Imagine you are the client or potential customer. You have 2 to 3 minutes total to review some ad agency’s information and the first impression – what you see initially will determine if you keep looking or click to another site. What you see and read will also determine if you toss the information received in the trash before even visiting the agency site in the first place.

ONE: You Have A Website. Now, How Do You Drive Prospects To Visit?

Who do you want to visit your website?  And how do you plan to get them there? Websites can be very effective in providing useful information to a prospect if you are brief and to the point…the point of how you will gain business for potential clients. But if no one knows your site exists besides family and friends, it’s not making money for you.

Challenge: What can you do to drive your target market to your information?

TWO: Agency Websites – If A Decision Maker Can’t Use It, Lose It.

Who did you have in mind again when you developed your website? Was it you, your cool agency and its great achievements and awards or prospective clients? Review your current website with this mentality. If a decision maker can’t use what you are showing copy-wise or image-wise to see how your agency can help him/her grow his/her business, it’s taking up valuable cyberspace. Lose it before you lose a potential client. Your diatribe regarding each of your employees, a multitude of photos of awards and cozy couches give a decision maker no reason to distinguish you from all of the other ‘cool’ agencies with cozy couches, foosball tables and hip music playing in the background.

THREE: Make Me Contact You

Give me a reason to want to contact and/or hire you in three steps – from the website landing page to ‘contact us.’ I never said new business was easy. But there are ways to accomplish this last step. It’s going to take some thorough understanding of your target, your targets’ industry and what the meaningful differentiation is that will make a decision maker feel compelled to contact your firm. This is the one test that many agencies apply very limited time towards. Don’t make this mistake!

Challenge: Make your website stand out in such a way that your potential clients HAVE TO CALL or they won’t achieve their own goals.

Want New Business? Get Off The Rollercoaster!

© Heike Brauer |

Okay. I am not anti-roller coasters by any means. In fact, not too long ago, I had a blast with my 12-year-old son on some amazing coasters in Myrtle Beach. The ups and downs, the twists and turns are great and that initial drop down at the beginning of a coaster always catches me off guard.

But unless there is something I am unaware of, being caught off guard in business is never a good thing. So, if one has to prepare for a business presentation, get ready for a job interview, and going back to childhood, think of what we would say when mom and dad got home after breaking something extremely valuable, it seems logical that trying to win new business needs a bit of preparation and planning as well.

Getting Started

Someone must be in charge: New business decisions should not be random. Someone needs to maintain a list of potential customers and provide information on the customer’s business, possible marketing opportunities your agency can provide, discern who the gate keeper is (often an administrative assistant or an executive reporting to the decision maker) and who the decision maker is (the person who determines who the marketing resource his/her company will hire.) There are many more responsibilities for the person maintaining all new business information as well. This grazes the surface.

New business is a year round job: When your agency starts to see some new business roll in, it’s not time to stop searching for more. In fact, new business is an ongoing, year round job. It is the source of fresh opportunities and the home of continual growth.

It’s all about ‘What’s in it for me?’: No matter how many awards your firm has won, how amazing your website design is and how much information you supply on each employee’s years of experience, in new business it’s all about ‘what’s in it for me, the customer?’ Remember to think about this when considering the design of new business materials as well as re-designing your Internet and social media resources.