In this post we look at the basics of how to set up a successful new business system because, believe it or not, some agencies are still floundering about with spreadsheets, email inboxes or worse still, nothing but their memory! There are two sides to agency new business, prospecting (which is what Manifest does) and closing (that’s what YOU do with the meetings and leads we provide you with).
We are going to focus this post on the second stage of the new business system. There are hundreds of CRM systems out there, we use Zoho, Hubspot or Pipedrive usually, depending upon which our client prefers, but the key thing is it needs to be one with a good, easy to view, Deals (or Opportunities or whatever you want to call it) module (see below for an example).
A good CRM system is likely to only cost maybe $50 per month per user, so NO EXCUSES!!!
This visible representation of your sales pipeline makes it incredibly easy to just move prospects along from one stage to the next and you can set up workflows and auto schedules tasks and calls for X days after a prospect moves from one stage to another as an aide-memoir. You should synch your emails to the CRM so they are all in one place and attach any documents and proposals to the Deal.
With some CRMs you can even connect your LinkedIn account so you can connect with and message contacts directly through LinkedIn from the CRM – this is also useful in showing you other contacts in the company from within your CRM system.
Talking of LinkedIn – go premium and DO NOT operate in “stalker mode” where people can’t see you’ve been checking them out; before you even meet them, send them a connection request. “Hey John – looking forward to meeting you tomorrow, I’ve pulled together some thoughts on the problems you discussed with my colleague Adam – in the meantime, let’s get connected on here. Until tomorrow!”
Okay, so now you’ve got your CRM set up, your premium LinkedIn account connected and you’ve got a steady flow of new business meetings coming through from either your inbound, outbound or outsourced lead generation agency; what next?
Develop a sequence of activities to nurture the leads that don’t immediately turn into opportunities. Typically, we see between 25% of 50% of new business meetings turning into live opportunities with six weeks or so of first meeting with an agency; so you need a strategy to nurture the others without hounding them or becoming a pain. Something like this:
TYPICAL NEW BUSINESS SYSTEM NURTURE SEQUENCE
- Meeting Set
- Send LinkedIn Request
- Meet Prospect
- Immediate Opportunity
- Follow Up According to Agreement with Prospect
- No Immediate Opportunity
- Carry On With Sequence
- Agree Next Contact Date (SPECIFIC!)
- Immediate Opportunity
- Send Follow-up Email and Schedule Next Action
- Join LinkedIn Groups Prospect is Active In
- Follow Prospect on …
- Twitter (IF they use it professionally)
- Follow their Company on …
- Comment on their Posts
- Send Links to Articles you think will add Value
- Repeat …
- CONTACT AGAIN AT AGREED SPECIFIC DATE.
The purpose of the sequence in the new business system is to stay relevant and to remain at front of mind until such a time as the prospect has agreed to you contacting them again so that 1) when you attempt to contact them, they will respond and 2) they will feel ‘warm’ to your approach.