Is your new business pipeline in good shape?

Will it carry you through any (more) unexpected bumps in the road?

According to a Gartner survey only about 45% of sales leaders are confident their organisations have accurate sales forecasts.

 

So why is a new business pipeline and marketing strategy  such a stumbling block for agencies when, of course, they recognise it will ensure short term revenue opportunities – and sustainable, longer-term profitable growth.

This is what we’re hearing:

“We can’t afford it”

The current economic situation is stretching financial resources across many businesses;  understandably, it’s tempting to put the sales and marketing budget on hold while agencies prioritise BAU and serving existing clients.

“We don’t have time”

This is one area where patience is a virtue. Creating and nurturing a weighted new business pipeline for the future isn’t a quick fix when ‘things go a bit quiet’. For the long-term benefits it will deliver for your business, it takes investment, patience and commitment from all stakeholders. In fact, depending on a variety of factors, for most businesses the lifespan of a 18-24 month ‘nurture pipeline’ will typically yield two or three new accounts per year.

“How will it help my business?”

A weighted new business pipeline gives a bird’s eye view of the full potential value of opportunities across every stage of the new business process, from first point of contact, through the nurturing process to receiving your first brief or pitch. Not only will you have an accurate, reliable revenue forecast, you’ll be targeting clients you a) want and b) are more likely to convert.

“Where do we even start?”

A scattergun, ‘hand to mouth’ approach to new business is unsustainable – but it’s never too late to reverse that situation. Creating a realistic and measurable plan starts by identifying short term opportunities. Focus on the prospects that are most likely to convert quickly. Ask clients to share the work you do for them and to refer people they know who could benefit from your services. Then think ahead to the clients that you know will take longer to convert but will really shape the future of the business and help you grow. Identify them, get close to them and get noticed.

“How do we know it’s going to work?”

Rather than focus solely on monthly pipeline revenue KPIs, look at your marketing activity metrics and network growth, from social media followers and newsletter sign ups to event attendees and website visitor. Is your company LinkedIn up-to-date? Consider every single sign up or attendance as a potential new business opportunity and track for success.

“We don’t have the right people in place to drive this forward”

Getting in front of the right people and building valuable relationships is key to new business. Choose your team wisely and use ‘human’, value-based content to engage with them and get noticed. Talk to prospects clearly about your offer, be single minded, be specific and identify the client benefit to working with you. Working with a consultancy like Beckon, as your in-house new business team will help implement and embed a marketing-led new business ​development strategy and give your business the confidence to push prospects through your funnel, from credentials, to brief,  pitch and then appointment.

Get in touch to find out how we work with ambitious agencies to implement and embed a sustainable marketing-led new business strategy, drawing the right prospects to them through their long term strategy.