Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Agency Owners: Avoid This Mistake!

New business is the lifeblood of any public relations or marketing communications firm. Finding prospects and converting them into new clients is normally the #1 need for most firms. Today’s economic uncertainties make this an even more pressing need.

However, ask most owners how they plan grow and win new clients and they answer, “By doing a better job of marketing.”

What they should say is “By doing a better job of selling.”

As both a former agency leader and current adviser to PR and marketing firms, I believe that most agency leaders confuse sales and marketing and as a result lack a real sales strategy to win business. And, a sales strategy is not just a list of potential new business opportunities,a training program to make your people better presenters, or more impacful PowerPoints.

Here‘s what I mean.
For many (perhaps most) agency owners, one of their biggest gripes is the lack of an effective marketing program to make that proverbial phone ring off the hook, generate more referrals and ideally stimulate prospects to simply award them the business.

Do the words “positioning”; “messaging”; new website; “USP”; recognition; reputation; etc. ring a bell? These are the words agency owners often use when either trying to fix their marketing effort or launch a new one.

The reasoning is simple: the better known (and known for the right reasons) the more likely we are to attract potential clients. Once they get to us we can “sell” them. And, they are not wrong – just a little misguided that this is the primary solution to their growth issues.

I believe that the real solution to growth lies with the right kind of sales strategy supported by a complimentary marketing program – not the other way around. If you know to whom you are selling, what they have bought in the past or could be buying now, and what you can offer them that competition cannot, then you have the basis for a strategic sales development program.

Do you have a sales strategy or just simply a marketing strategy? Or, perhaps neither.

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