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Business Development for Creative Agencies

Published by Jody Grunden on 25 Jun 2024

Effective business development strategies are essential for any service-based company, making it a crucial component in the growth of a creative agency. With that in mind, it’s imperative that you, as an agency owner, invest in cultivating a business development team that will help you achieve your growth goals.

I recently spoke with Goran Kovacevic, the Vice President of Business Development at Infinium, for one of the Creative Agency Success Show podcast episodes, which focuses on strategies for growing business development at digital agencies. His company has grown from 20 to 400 people over the last several years, and he shared his insights on forming a solid business development team to help the company achieve substantial growth. Below are a few ways to successfully build and expand your business development team. 

Close Deals as a Team

Converting a qualified lead into a contract is often viewed as a solo endeavor where a single sales representative talks directly to a prospective customer and ultimately lands them as a client. However, it’s more effective to establish a business development team that plays on individual strengths to garner a more expansive customer base.Business Development for Creative Agencies: A Conversation with Goran Kovacevic

Consider building a team that includes sales aficionados who have the gift of gab and can connect with prospective clients on a more personal level. Pair them with technical experts who know the ins and outs of your services and can clearly explain these elements to the lead. 

“My belief is that the salesperson is just there to get the client to like them enough so they can talk to someone else who is a real expert or a subject matter expert in that specific field or technology that the client needs,” Goran says.

In short, the sales team specializes in lead generation, and the technically savvy staff members help close the deal. With the right staff members, this type of teamwork can significantly impact a company’s growth.

Hire Salespeople for Their Soft Skills

While your team has to work well together to reach your growth goals, your team is only as good as the people you hire. You need the best of both worlds for agency business development: a technical expert and a salesperson. It’s easier to train someone on the technical aspects of a business to where they’re comfortable communicating that information to prospective clients.

However, it’s much more challenging — and sometimes impossible — to help someone develop the soft skills required to convert a lead into a sale. It’s also important to remember that potential customers will most likely speak with multiple agencies before choosing one, making capturing their attention from the very start to bolster your chances of landing a contract even more crucial.

When searching for a good salesperson, I recommend looking for effective communicators who can easily read the room and deliver more than just a sales pitch. (We agree: “‘Sales’ Doesn’t Work.”)

These people can effortlessly converse with a business lead, speaking on topics that may fall outside of the technical aspects of your company but that allows them to connect more deeply with the potential client. Goran calls this “building your own identity [as a sales representative],” where the lead remembers the salesperson based on facets of their identity that fall outside their profession, like a shared hobby or interest. 

Support Your Business Development Team with Processes

“Whatever kind of growth you want to achieve,” Goran says, “you need to have processes because processes allow you to measure things in the company.” Developing and documenting processes that allow you to gather data on your company’s performance is critical. This information might include:

  • details on the quality of your company’s leads

  • the number of conversions your team has achieved

  • and the timeframe in which the conversions occurred.

When collected regularly, these metrics can help you track your progress and make informed decisions about your business. 

You also need processes in place that allow you to scale your operations. For example, creating a playbook for new employees that outlines how your business development team converts leads would be beneficial. This playbook might detail effective sales strategies, such as indicating which team members a sales representative should bring into discussions with a potential client at a specific time to increase the chances of landing a contract. A product catalog can be another good way to systematize and streamline your sales process. 

Agency growth depends on the new clients you bring in because more clients equals an increase in revenue. That said, it’s imperative that you form a business development team that can consistently land new work. Consider the above actions to establish a strong team to help you reach your financial goals.

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