— March 26, 2019
Agency new business is easier when you have the best agency business development tools at your disposal. Learn which tools to use in 2019 to grow your agency.
Your agency is ready to help companies move forward. You have the right people and the right strategies in place. You’re ready to make a difference for companies that need help with marketing. All you need now is more customers.
Of course, it would be amazing if those new opportunities came easy. Like if they just came knocking on your door, right?
Unfortunately, it rarely works that way. So you have to spend time developing new business. And for that, you need the right agency business development tools.
Why You Can’t Ignore Agency Business Development
Like all businesses, agencies need a steady stream of clients to keep growing.
Yet, “business development” is often considered a dirty word, especially among the more creatively-inclined shops. There is a perception that if you keep doing excellent work, the work will come your way.
Then there is the issue of sales cycles. Agencies rarely have the organizational setup for a traditional B2B sales process. They’re too happy to chase down easy-to-get leads instead of waiting for those fat contracts that take 6-12 months to close. The former takes a query on your site; the latter requires extensive, consistent business development.
It doesn’t help that “creativity” is tough to sell, especially if your business development team doesn’t share a creative background.
But if you are to succeed in attracting top clients in 2019 and beyond, you need to invest in business development. As J Heenan writes on his blog:
“There are a few agencies who have had pretty good runs without any formal business development. A very few…the chances of succeeding (without business development) are almost zero whereas the possibility for success through business development is, on average 25%.”
And as Mark Kelly points out on Smart Insights, the ultra-competitive nature of the modern agency landscape means that you can’t ignore new business development. When you’re competing against not just your local agencies but shops sitting halfway across the world (who can undercut you on price), you have to be proactive in your search for new business.
Which is why all but 14% of agencies say that new business is a “vital” area of focus for them.
To make new business easier, you need agency business development tools. There has been a steady rise in the number of agencies using such tools. For instance, an RSW/US survey found that the percentage of agency execs using list building software increased from 45% in 2015 to 69% in 2018.
With the right tools at your disposal, developing new business opportunities can be much easier, and a lot more successful.
In the next section, I’ll look at some of the best tools to acquire, interact with, and close leads.
Top Agency New Business Tools
All of these agency new business tools help you boost your business. From finding new leads and making the perfect pitch, to closing the deal and managing your customer relationships, these are some of the best tools available. They’re designed to get you organized, build partnerships, and increase your overall business success.
It all starts with this – acquiring leads. You can have the most sophisticated sales setup, but unless you can feed them a consistent supply of qualified leads, your business will suffer.
Use these tools to help you get capture leads:
By now you’ve probably heard of OptinMonster. But if you haven’t then you’re likely missing out. OptinMonster is one of the best ways to find new leads. It integrates with every major CRM and email marketing platform and makes capturing, sharing, and managing leads very simple. Among its features, OptinMonster offers page-level targeting, exit-intent technology, onsite retargeting, and lead sharing.
When it comes to marketing and getting your pitch just right, Act-On is one of the best options available. This marketing automation tool allows you to give your marketing campaigns the boost they need to stand out. Act-On helps with inbound and outbound marketing, increases the effectiveness of your sales, and provides dependable ROI data.
This handy tool is not only great for creating effective, eye-catching websites and content, but also the right content for increasing sales. Unbounce software allows you to build dedicated landing pages that help drive more leads and conversions via pay-per-click campaigns. The software also helps you create sticky bars and creative popups the have a proven high conversion rate.
Lead Intelligence Tools
Acquiring new leads is nice, but what about capturing interest from leads that already exist? Or prospecting for people who would be a good fit for your services?
These agency business development tools will help you turn prospects into leads with minimal effort:
If you’re looking for new leads what do you do? You head to the Internet and start searching. But searching aimlessly rarely gets you anywhere. You have to be smarter than that. That’s where AeroLeads can help. This tool comes with a Google Chrome plugin that allows you to search AngelList, LinkedIn, and other online networks for the right leads. Add those leads to your account and AeroLeads will locate and display their contact information, including business email addresses. Just create your email and hit send.
2. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn usually comes in as the number one social network for agencies looking to acquire new clients. If LinkedIn is a part of your social media mix, then you can’t go without their own Sales Navigator.
This helpful tool is good for both sales teams and individual sales reps. For organizations that want to build stronger relationships with their clients by unlocking company networks with enterprise LinkedIn features, Sales Navigator is perfect. It’s also very effective for individuals looking for ways to tap into LinkedIn’s network to find new leads and get more deals.
Have you ever tried to email someone but you can’t find an address for him or her? Hunter helps you track down those hard to find email addresses. You simply type in the domain you’re looking for and Hunter finds and displays the organization’s email pattern. Plus, you can eliminate the guesswork, because Hunter also provides a confidence rating for every address. No more bounced emails.
Another great tool to help you find more quality leads is Hoovers. Hoovers helps you search less and sell more. Hoovers provides powerful search and list-building capabilities. You get immediate alerts and detailed profiles of the potential leads. Stop chasing random leads and get focused on the leads that are more likely to become conversions.
Generating new leads is a breeze with Albacross. But the help doesn’t stop there. Albacross draws in potential new clients by tracking and identifying whose visiting your website. It monitors their activity and then helps you know how to engage them. This allows your sales team to approach them more effectively, thus increasing your potential of closing the deal.
Content Creation and Curation
From whitepapers and case studies to social media content, so much of business development depends on your ability to attract audience interest. If you’re going to capture and convert leads, you’ll have to create content. A lot of it.
These tools and services will take the guesswork out of content creation:
Not every agency has a top-notch content creator. If you’re struggling with the right marketing content, MixBloom can help. MixBloom offers effective social media content you can count on. You’ll get quality writing, an easy approval process, and social media experts. Add it all up and you get content that truly drives more customers to your business, inspires potential clients to act, creates conversions, and positions your brand as a leader.
If you simply need help with creating content, then give Verblio a try. Verblio is a writing service that provides effective blog posts, website content, press releases and more. There are dozens of content mills out there, but Verblio offers expert writers in numerous fields to create the exact content you need. Plus, they have a dedicated service for agencies to make creating as well as managing content easier – for yourself, or for your clients.
When it comes to dazzling perspective clients with all your amazing services, you have to get your content marketing right. But maybe content marketing isn’t your strong point. That’s where Curata comes into play. Curata makes content marketing a breeze.
With this helpful tool, your content will provide your readers with what they need and want, without the hard sell jargon. With Curata you can determine the best content for your business needs. Just organize your content and then publish and promote it whenever you’re ready.
Building Better Relationships
Agency new business is so much about relationships. You have to constantly reach out to prospects, follow-up at the right time, and schedule appointments on the fly.
These tools will help you build better relationships with prospective as well as current clients:
Have you ever tried to schedule a meeting only to go through half a dozen emails just to find the right time?
Calendly will help you take the guesswork out of meetings. You don’t have to use back-and-forth emails to schedule meetings and it works seamlessly with popular calendar apps and other website tools. You can set up notifications and opt-in or out options, among other features. It’s easy and enjoyable to use.
If you use Gmail, this tool is the perfect addition. Use Boomerang to control when you send and receive email messages. That means you can write a message but wait to send it until you’re ready. In fact, just set the scheduled day and time and Boomerang will send it for you.
You can also set reminders to follow up on specific messages. You can even remove messages form your inbox and Boomerang will make them reappear when you need to access them again.
As any experienced agency new business development vet will tell you, cold email is one of your best weapons for finding warm leads. But there’s a problem – personalizing cold email at scale is extremely tedious.
This is where MailShake helps. MailShake adds marketing automation to cold email. Just upload a list of emails, add your templatized message, and create sequences to follow-up with prospects on the fly. You can add personalization to each message before you send it, removing the robotic-vibe from so many cold email campaigns. A great tool for anyone who relies heavily on cold email.
Closing the Deal
You’ve done the hard work of finding leads and building relationships. Now you need to send a proposal and collect payment.
Here are two tools to help you close the deal:
1. Better Proposals
Every good marketing effort needs a great proposal if you want to close the deal. Better Proposals allows you to create impactful proposals that get results in just a few minutes.
Forget about taking hours to perfect your proposal. With this tool, you’ll start seeing results right away. Instead of worrying about your proposal getting rejected, quickly create it, set your pricing and submit it. Plus, as soon as your customer accepts your offer, you get paid instantly. That’s what you call “results.”
After sending a proposal, the next step to closing the deal is jumping on a call and answering any questions. For this, you need a reliable conferencing tool that can accommodate 2 people or 20, without any “can you hear me?” back and forth.
This is where Join.me comes in handy. A robust, easy to use and affordable alternative to GoToMeeting and Skype, Join.me takes the pain out of conferencing. Once you set up a call, you get a link. Share it with your prospects to add them to the call. Share your screen, leave notes, and even get a tool free number – all for a low monthly fee.
The Right Tools Get the Right Results
Agency business development doesn’t have to be scary. And it doesn’t have to take all your time and attention. It does take a concerted effort and focus. But with these helpful tools at your disposal, you’ll be successful at developing new business, building partnerships, and increasing sales.
Of course, the best “new business” tool you can probably ever use is a better agency management system. A software like Workamajig will help you manage clients and resources better so you can focus on what you do best: be creative.