How to Build A Winning Advertising Agency New Business Team

How to Build A Winning Advertising Agency New Business Team

Intentionally building a world-class New Business team is one of the best investment ideas and things an Advertising, Digital, Direct, Design or PR Agency can do.

As we all know and have been told, the key to ongoing success, inspiration, growth and revenues is to relentlessly retain, cross-sell and win new accounts and brands. If you fail to keep growing, winning and thriving, your business, team and culture will also suffer.

Here are some of the main elements I have always implemented, to enhance and expand upon for New Business success and Agency growth. I think daily and consistent execution of all these simple concepts and practices is critical for success and achieving high-performance – year in, your out.

I totally believe, Business Development is 24/7/365 service and role . Your branding, content, PR, HR and digital marketing programs and management and staff activities must be ongoing, consistent and cohesive.

Prospecting has always been about strategically and thoughtfully a ‘long-term’ plan and one must always be prepared to be persistent, patient and relentless.

I always start by building an “A-Level” prospect list. Establish selection key criteria that closely match your skills and experience AND, do your research.

I’ve always thought that there are four types of desirable clients:

  1. Those that pay well (that means they are profitable and pay on time);
  2. Those who demand great work;
  3. Those who are famous and enhance your reputation;
  4. Those that have a clear purpose, e.g. they stand for something bigger than a product, result or service.

Winning a big account every few years just isn’t good enough or smart business either.

Develop a Game Plan or Flight Plan:

By this I mean, from day one always you need to realize the Agency business is accelerating faster than at anytime in the past. From the 1950’s to today, the skills, people, culture, industry and technology is dramatically different with every passing decade.

In fact, over the last 20 years we have moved from TV/Print/Press/Radio and DM to a deeper, rich, always on-world and environment of multimedia, high speed internet, mobile marketing, a sea of cable television networks, SEO, database marketing, streaming and more.

Rapid changes are only escalating! BUT, success always comes from execution.

  1. Develop a Business Plan to Start:

To initially kick off, I always love to design a ‘roadmap’. Some of the basic elements I will always include are:

  1. Outlining the current situation and indicators (x10)
  2. Defining the desired situation and business objectives (x10)
  3. Doing a SWOT Analysis e.g. assessment of your current strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats
  4. Design and specify specific actions and plans over the 12 months to build or bridge any and all gaps
  5. Develop action plans by these customer/client types:
  • More from existing clients/brands
  • Generating new business
  • Revitalizing past/lapsed clients
  • Inbound/Outbound marketing
  1. Develop a Monthly Plan/Overview to List Key New Initiatives e.g. new videos, training courses, PR, profiles, etc.
  2. Develop a Competitive Analysis – in market, city, country
  3. Set and define clear target market objectives and target market personas
  4. Always plan, strategize and prepare for the future of the Advertising and Marketing Industry and environment. The Agency best prepared to adapt will always win
  5. Make sure you have a Agency Positioning Line
  6. Set Staffing Goals, and highlight obstacles and initial major steps to implement and be successful
  7. Set Financial Goals and actions steps
  8. Importantly, clearly define and take actions with your Agency’s Marketing Goals too. (Additional to the Business Objectives)

The US Advertising Industry is a multi-billion dollar business and growing – it’s no surprise that there are over 14,000 Advertising Agencies in the US today according to Statista.

In 2015, advertising expenditures reached 173 billion U.S. dollars, and were projected to further grow to 183.5 billion by 2017.

In the same period, the country’s media owners’ ad revenue was forecast to grow from 168 billion to 183 billion U.S. dollars. It comes as no surprise that the number of ad agencies in the United States has been steadily growing over the past years.

Additionally, in total, U.S. ad agencies are expected to generate over 45 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2020, a 5.5 billion dollar increase over 2015 results.

Picture: Revenue of advertising agencies (NAICS 54181) in United States from 2008 to 2020 (in million U.S. dollars)

Note: I truly believe that clients and brands today, are more puzzled than ever by the number of agencies and types and then how to choose between them.

  1. Set Team Presentations and PRACTICE

Team presentation should be required, especially when the information and clients are dramatically different from the areas of expertise of the team doing the actual presenting.

Picture: Presentation team practising in the board room

To ensure a fantastic integrated team presentation always:

  • Assign one person to be the Team Captain
  • Hold initial meeting, set and run by the Team Captain. The Team Captain ultimately becomes the primary person for the success of the presentation and decides who forms the team.
  • Always set objectives and ensure the team clearly understands and agrees with the objectives and direction.
  • Clarify the individual roles of the team members and what they are  each supposed to deliver and achieve
  • Set up Planning and Preparation Schedules
  • Hold Second and Third Meetings (if needed) Try to eliminate any duplications, conflict amongst team members AND… discuss improvements/refinements.

Over the last two decades working in the US and worldwide, here are some tools worth considering in my opinion:

  • Deliver high-value ‘thought-leadership’ White Papers and Presentations (In person, online or at Industry Events/ Conferences)
  • Today, more importantly than anytime in the past, you must use Social Media Marketing Programs and Digital Marketing to grow your influence.
  • Some of the best tools include: Blogs, Website, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and even Slideshare. (Depending on your target audience, Pinterest and email marketing)
  • Importantly, always try and experiment with new ideas and concepts! Think even more differently than what used to work. Over recent years, I’ve even used online surveys, postcards, music CD’s, wine bottles and branded tags and labels on Client Vodka, targeted micro-sites, books and even FREE training and Educational Videos.
  • Act like you really want the business! Surprisingly, I’ve been told by many brands and clients that not all agencies know how to look interested or engaged!


The business of running an advertising, digital, direct, experiential, design, PR agency is demanding, intense, exhaustive and hard work! So, ensuring that you have a differentiating position from the start is critical!

Clients are ‘skittish’ and can be overwhelmed by choice or mastery of skills and tech today.

It is therefore essential that you create and run a business development program that makes you the stand out candidate.

That means that you need to look and sound like an agency that can clearly meet a client’s needs. It also means that you must have a standout brand, sales and business proposition to offer.

Finally, you need to both target the brands and clients you want and make your agency available to them on their terms.

As we approach the end of the year, why not give me a call so I can personally help you to become more effective in driving new business.

Call me on +61 411 224 961 in confidence or drop an e-mail to


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