Creating the right kind of pitch is vital in securing that client you have been working hard to acquire. Jody Sutter, founder of the Sutter Company is a business development consultant who specialises in working with leadership at small to mid-sized ad agencies and will help them identify their natural talents for sales and marketing.
Sutter will be a speaker at The Drum’s annual Pitch Perfect (formerly Brief Encounters) conference on Thursday 28 September. Her session 'Eight essential elements of the new business plan', is about the importance of having an annual plan for new business, as well as the eight essential elements that must go in it.
She explained: “One of the reasons it's good, is that the conference is at the end of September. We will be going into the cusp of the fourth quarter of the year when most agencies should be thinking about the year ahead.
“I think a lot of people don't carve out the time to do an annual plan which I think is a mistake, and that will be something I talk about. Why the investment and time is going to pay off.
“It helps agencies who have maybe never done an annual plan before or have never done a formal one. There's maybe an initial hesitation of not knowing where to start, not knowing what to include, not knowing how to go about getting the right information.”
As well as talking about the overall approach, what she really wants to do is get across a sort of template. Attendees will be able to walk away from the conference, with an instruction sheet so they know the outlines, the topics and the approach off how she collects, compiles and synthesises that information.
If there is one thing you should take from her session, it is that taking some time to look at the past and the current situation is invaluable for planning for the future. She emphasised that the best way to exceed your goals is to have a plan to get there. New business is one of those things that it is easy to get side tracked of the activities that come with it.
"Conferences like ‘Pitch Perfect’ helps an agency owner or business development executive get out of their own head a bit," says Sutter.
“The main reason why I am in business is because ad agencies and creative service firms find it hard to do what they do really well for other clients, to do it for themselves.
“What these conferences provide mainly, is objectivity and the ability to peek in and see what other people are doing that works. The Drum puts an emphasis on bringing client-side marketers to the conference, that's a really special thing to get clients telling you what they think works and what doesn't."
There are various things you can do to be successful in gaining clients through pitches but what you should look out for is what you’re doing wrong. Sutter believes that it can be very difficult to narrow it down to one thing because people are surprisingly good at doing many things that won't help in winning clients over.
She said: “If I had to choose one thing it would be that it's too easy for agencies to talk all about themselves and not enough about the client. Of course, the client wants to know about the agency but its more about bringing the agency from the perspective of the client’s wants, needs and business challenges.
“I see agencies agonising over how to talk about their history and even strategic things. Who are the people they are going to be presenting to? What are their responsibilities, what are their backgrounds and personalities? How do we adjust our presentation that way?
"Business development is a really tough job,” explains Sutter. “Because there is a huge amount of pressure on the person who is responsible to do it.
“What my approach is, and it may be a bit different from my competitors, I try to understand the culture of an advertising agency, do what we can to put in place the right programmes that will be best for them. So, understand what you are capable of and what your natural tendencies are. Rather than trying to do it all, do what you do best and stick with it.
You can book your spot now for The Drum Pitch Perfect, to invest in your skills for one day and make a decision to hit those targets for 2018.