[video] What is client development?

What do agency leaders want?

Without clients a creative agency doesn’t exist.

Therefore if you are in charge of a creative agency i.e. a PR, advertising, promotions, digital, social media, design, marketing etc, the goal is to get, keep and grow clients.

Who’s responsible for client acquisition?

Typically the agency leadership team are responsible for going out to get new clients and this can be costly.

When you consider all of the ways new clients can be acquired, the list starts to work out expensive. Here are just three of the most expensive ways agencies acquire new business:

1. Hiring a dedicated in-house business development person

This is probably the most expensive method of getting new clients and adds extra head count to the agency team and considerable cost to the agency’s bottom line.

This person usually has targets to reach and is monitored in terms of their business development ‘daily tasks’ such as ‘prospecting’ i.e. how many calls they make or leads they acquire, sales calls made and leads generated and converted.

They often receive part salary and part commission

2. Pitching

The second most expensive cost of getting new clients is pitching.

Unfortunately this is still alive and kicking in the ad agency world where the senior team is pulled away from the day-to-day running of the agency for a week to two weeks to work on a strategy and presentation for a new client.

They are often up against approximately three other agencies so have a one in four chance of winning the business.

3. In-bound marketing

In-bound marketing encompasses everything to draw prospective clients to the agency.

This includes blogging, interacting on social media, email marketing, posting valuable content, running events, publishing articles in the media, etc.

Again, this kind of activity can be time consuming and costly.

Who’s responsible for agency growth?

Keeping and growing existing clients is often down to the agency account handlers working with the clients on a day to day basis e.g. Account Executives, Managers, Directors and yet there is very little guidance given to help them know what to say to clients to identify growth opportunities.

What is the Account Manager Success Plan?

I’ve spent over 25 years of my life managing client relationships in advertising agencies without knowing that there were some strategies and tactics that could have helped me develop the client relationships and business – which would have helped position me more as a strategic partner than a supplier or ‘order taker’.

It wasn’t until I reached the dizzy heights of General Manager of an ad agency and responsible for 50 people that I actually received any training. This came in the form of two years formal sales coaching and mentoring and I ended up thinking ‘how could I have gone through my whole career and not known this stuff!’.

Total lightbulb moment.

That’s why I developed the Account Manager Success Plan online programme. It’s a step by step model to help account managers grow existing accounts.

There are tools, models, scripts, templates and case studies to help account managers understand exactly what to say and how to manage their client relationships, add value to the client business and generate more revenue for the agency.

In this quick snapshot video of Module 1 Part 1 we define client development, we explore what creative agency leaders really want and the kind of sales terminology we use when we refer to generating more business for the agency.

What do you do currently to grow your existing agency accounts?

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