Small Agencies Need to Grow Up
Agencies are quite often stuck at a certain rung on the ladder because they don’t know how to grow. They think that just adding more workflow is the answer, and maybe it is for some. Those agencies that don’t want to keep fishing in the big pond with small bait need to add services and diversify. Devising a plan to make this happen is no easy task, and executing it effectively is even more difficult. Changing an agency’s repertoire of services may be the toughest challenge faced by the management of small agencies. Why? Because it costs time and money.
The old adage of “It takes money to make money” really rings true here. You can’t just say you offer media services or digital services, etc. You really have to be able to weave those tactics into your offerings and be able to talk to those points in pitch meetings. All too often, companies are in a room spouting off about the big agency services they offer, knowing quite well that when they leave the room they will have to contract with someone to deliver those services.
Overcoming the status quo is a difficult task to afford, and it often requires a shift in an agency’s fundamental approach. Though it may seem a daunting task, it is a necessary one. Running in circles with the same approach will not make a small agency more relevant nor give them the opportunity to successfully land that new client.
This shift in approach begins with taking an objective look at the entire agency and the services it currently offers. The guide for success is dictated by those offerings and defining what is needed to be a “full service” agency.
Knowing what to say is as important as knowing how to say it. Though consistently placed on the back burner, the utilization of a market-proven approach and sound methodology to acquire new business can quickly increase the potential for small agencies to acquire large clients. The experience and critical thinking of a new strategic addition to develop and execute a custom business program allows smaller agencies to focus on difference-making services and creative that will keep large clients happy (Full-Service Offering).
Equally important to uncovering an opportunity with a large prospect is how an agency approaches the pitch. The sound, detail-oriented approach that got your foot in the door and into the pitch must be carried throughout. By researching and understanding the prospects and their business, addressing current and potential needs, and providing prospects with the best solutions, you will make a strong and credible argument for any size agency every time.
Small agencies must also keep the following in mind when they are in the pitch or providing insights for the RFP
Don’t be afraid to lay out what you really think. With so much competition, many agency pitches start sounding alike. A growing number of large companies are looking for smaller, nimbler agencies to offer innovative solutions to their communication needs.
Offering valuable strategic insights can go a long way. If a prospect’s strategic direction is off, agencies need to let them know instead of telling them what they believe the prospect wants to hear.
Agencies must believe what they are selling. Buying into the message internally, believing it, and communicating it with sound strategic insights will keep small agencies competitiv