Pitch Predictor: Morgan Stanley

new business development ad agency spyglass announcement pitchHello there, financial services agency expert. Did you see that the WSJ announced a new CMO at Morgan Stanley?

This seasoned agency pro, Susan Smith Ellis, held the CEO position at Red. And prior to that, headed up the Omnicom stand-alone that ran Bank of America. Find out more here.

Happy pitching.


How to keep top of mind with new business prospects

So, there you are. The new business hunter. Looking for ways to stay on your prospect’s proverbial radar screen. Sure, you could send over a copy of your agency’s most recent thought leadership. What? You don’t have anything like that? You have yet to jump on the agency expertise positioning bandwagon? Uh, OK…

So here’s another thought. And it’s something ANYONE can do.

Send them a relationship valentine

This little phrase is something yours truly has coined to capture a thought, resource, or well, just about anything you send a prospect to maintain and strengthen your relationship. It’s ye olde practice of clipping out a trade magazine article and sending it over to your client contacts with a quick little point of view. Nothing too fancy or particularly earth shattering. Just something that demonstrates, “I am thinking of you and thought you might find this useful.”

Nowadays, of course, what you send could be a helpful link. Or maybe, if there’s no passalong value, consider snail-mail.

Here are some common forms a relationship valentine could take:

  • Competitive information
  • Category intel
  • Consumer understanding
  • Business book / or synopsis
  • Blog post
  • (And, of course, your agency’s intellectual property)

Here are perhaps a few more interesting or creative ones:

  • Career advice
  • A connection to an associate
  • Financial or entertainment how-to
  • Think networking

Typically, these little bits are completely focused on your prospect. Not you or your company.

Do your homework to find the right relationship valentine

You can get a sense for what to send based on your understanding of the prospect’s business challenges and/or what they’re like as human beings. You can find that information by doing some homework. A company’s website and Google is a great place to start for brand/company challenges. And social media can be terrific for understanding your prospect’s personality. Be sensitive to acknowledging information that might be a bit too personal. You’re trying to build and maintain trust and a relationship. Not stalk.

Anywho, hope this gets you thinking of smart, personal ways to demonstrate some prospect love. Happy relationship building!


Pitch Predictor: Sprint

Have you noticed the changes taking place at Sprint? Check them out here. This particular story is not clear on what they are doing in marketing. But does mention they are losing their Chief Marketing Officer, who plans to retire in March of 2014.

This company has been accelerating change since new owners this past summer.


Find a new agency or client-side job through job triggers

Hello there, job seeker. No doubt about it. Places like TalentZoo and LinkedIN are terrific places for online job listings. But  what about the step that happens BEFORE a job is posted? You know, the thing that triggers the employer’s need to fill the position.  What are the reasons new people get hired either on the agency side or the client side?

Client Side Job Triggers

These things typically are leading indicators there will be employment opportunities on the client side:

  • New CEO, President or CMO
  • Existing staff promotions / departures
  • Exceptionally large business gains
  • Bad business results
  • Office location changes
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Macro economic indicators
  • New funding sources

Agency Side Job Triggers

Looking for a new agency gig? This list is not all that much different from the client-side list.

  • New piece of business
  • Existing staff promotions / departures
  • New senior managers
  • New department managers
  • M&A
  • Missing digital / big data / social media capabilities

The Importance of Job Triggers

One could ask, “why should I even identify these triggers?” Glad you asked! It doesn’t matter if you are searching for a client-side job or an agency one. Here are just two reasons why identifying triggers can put you in a better position to get that coveted new job:

  • Give yourself more time to win the job. Generally speaking, with more times, you can craft a better strategy for how to differentiate your candidacy and put your pitch in front of the hiring manager.
  • Get ahead of the competition. It’s a race, right? As soon as the job is posted, the employer will be flooded with calls, emails and letters. By seeing the employer’s future need, you can beat the massive influx of resumes and dramatically increase the chances of being properly considered.

Hope this spurs you to think about your job search a little differently. For more career-minded thinking on this website, check out the career blog post category.

Or, feel free to check out the following:


Agency growth secret: making chicken soup

Hello there, agency growth finder. Let’s say you just found out that a well qualified target company is looking for a new marketing leader. Terrific! This could be a pitch for your agency. And perhaps you just read about how you should be sharing that job lead with a friend of yours.

But here’s another related idea that can help keep your pipeline full of new business pitches. By realizing the news you have uncovered could be more than one pitch in the making.

In other words, make some chicken soup. Maximize the value of this information.

Once you know this company is looking for new talent, keep these guys on your radar. Eventually, they’re going to find a new CMO or Vice President or Director of Marketing. Which, as we all know, is a leading pitch predictor.

But you are looking to be a little smarter than the average bear. So, ask yourself, is this position new to the target company? Many times, it isn’t. Someone had that job before. And this professional has either landed. Or is looking.Which might lead to another new business pitch for your agency.

Is this another way to double your agency pitch opportunities? Sure.

Here are a couple of other ways you can make chicken soup with open job descriptions at target companies:

  • Gain an understanding of the company’s culture. Your mileage will vary. But if you look at the description, and add to that what you discern from their website and your network, you can get a good feel for the company. Which can help you drive pitch content and context.
  • Sprinkle what’s learned throughout RFP responses. This helps demonstrate being of like mind.
  • Get a sense for how the marketing function is structured and how pitch decision-makers will be measured. What are their key performance metrics? How are they being judged? You know: learn about the kinda things that help them make their bonus.

And here are a couple of things to think about if you have identified the past marketing leader at your target company:

  • Is there value trying to connect with him or her? They could still be looking for a job, after all. Their search could surface another pitch or two.
  • The professional, depending on their inclination and personality (and your approach, of course), might be willing to share insights on their previous employer. This could be to your advantage come pitch-time.

Anywho, hope this gets you thinking about some sharper, more savvy ways to prospect for your agency. Should you have any related stories or tips, feel free to share them with the class. Thanks!