Where Should Your Agency Focus Your New Biz Efforts In 2020?

This week RSW/US released its New Year Outlook 2020 Survey Report and based on the content, I think smaller, independent and/or specialist agencies will need to step up their biz dev game and learn to Sell Greatly this year or get left behind. Let’s talk about why.

Clients Plan To Shrink Their Agency Rosters

Charts from RSW/US New Year Outlook 2020 Survey Report

According to the RSW/US report, companies that used to carry 5-6 agencies or more are finding it difficult to manage all of those agencies. Let’s face it, we agencies don’t make it easy. Far too often, agencies spend a lot of time simply jockeying for the “pole position” which leads to them not playing nice together.

So our clients have to manage all of that while keeping an eye on the integrity of their brand and creating campaigns that will move the needle so they can stay employed.

Being A Specialist Agency Isn’t Special Anymore

Charts from RSW/US New Year Outlook 2020 Survey Report

After spiking in 2017, clients’ interest in bringing in specialist agencies for digital, social or content marketing, has waned. Maybe it’s because more and more AOR agencies have finally caught up to the specialists in terms of offering those services in-house or some other reason. But the drop is not a blip but a well defined trend at this point.

One notable exception, though not specifically called out in the report, could be data and analytics. 59% of surveyed clients noted that specific capability as highly desirable in an agency partner.

Thus, if a client is working with an AOR agency that isn’t strong in data and analytics, there might still be an opportunity for a data/analytics shop to stay on the client roster OR even partner with the AOR.

In fact, RSW/US noted in the report that “we’re seeing specialty agencies establishing profitable and productive relationships with more full-on agencies, operating as a contractor to help deliver holistically on the needs of their marketing clients.”

How Can Your Agency Drive More New Business?

Well isn’t that the $64,000 question. Here again, the RSW/US report provides good indicators that strongly suggest every agency will need a successful content marketing program in 2020.

When asked to look ahead and gauge the importance of various biz dev efforts, agencies felt it was going to be more important to:

  • 71% said “to come to meetings with insights about a prospect’s industry or company”
  • 60% said “to push out value-added, thought leadership content”
  • 69% said “to own a unique positioning for the their agency”

Content marketing is the answer to all three needs. Obviously it’s how you push out “thought leadership content” but also, when you push out that content you create a positioning for your agency. And lastly, if your agency is constantly creating new content, you’re sure to discover or create a few really compelling insights about your prospects’ industries or companies.

Need Help Building Your Agency’s 2020 Biz Development Program?

You’re in luck. We’ve created a great FREE email course. Learn more about it and sign up here. It’s only 14 days long and you’ll get a ton of actionable advice that you can begin using immediately.

Or if you need a bit more help crafting and executing a strategically focused program like the one we’ve used here at Converse Digital for the last 10 years to drive 10 years of growth without making a single cold call or sending a single clutterbuster or (and I’m super proud of this one) participating in a single RFP process, just drop us a note below and we’ll call you to talk more.

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 25+ year veteran of the sales & marketing industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and showing companies how to Sell Greatly, and turn conversations into customers. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital sales & marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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