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The Biz Dev 100: Eli Pinto, Co-Founder & CEO, Sharp Co-Lab

Eli Pinto: Sharp Co-Lab

Welcome to The Biz Dev 100, powered by The BD 100, which aims to recognize and celebrate important role played in the media and marketing industry by those who source and bring in new customers and keep the fortunes of businesses on track.

Below is Eli Pinto, one of those at the top of their field who work in the UK biz dev sector.

Name: Eli Pinto

Job Title: Co-Founder & CEO

Agency: Sharp Co-Lab

What were your highlights of last year?

I set up a new digital agency called Sharp Co-LAB. Our unique model draws on experts who collaborate for the duration of the project. They join for the love of the project. Which means a great sense of shared ownership from day one. We work at pace, in well-defined teams and unlock innovative solutions through a defined process. And while we strive to refine the perfect agency shape over the coming months, some of the benefits are already becoming clear: the best minds in the market can come together to tackle an immediate challenge, work the hours they choose, on the projects they choose which will delivers a higher sense of happiness. I was also awarded Digital Maverick 2017; and participated as a judge on a number of awards (i.e. UK Customer Experience Awards).

What has been your most memorable win, and why?

HomeServe. After our first competitive pitch, we were awarded a substantial piece of work to define their Digital Strategy for 2020 and map out their entire customer experience. As a client, they are an incredibly interesting business to work with - not only they're expanding fast, but they have enormous ambitions we can relate to and help with.

How would you describe your approach to Business Development?

Growing a client is 'relatively' easy. But ask anyone who works for a boutique agency and they will tell you that new business is the hardest job. I take a client-centric approach. What can I do for them that will help? I get to know my prospects as 'people'. But at the end of the day, what continues to bring results is that famous 'word of mouth'; the referral you receive from people who worked with you and rate you. The ex-client contacts that remember you for a job well done. As a rule of thumb, I aim for 5 face-to-face meetings a week.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

"The fastest route to revenue wins."

What would be your number one tip to anyone starting in business development?

Be a consultant not a salesman. Nobody likes to be sold to.

What is your new business soundtrack?

Rocky Balboa Soundtrack (Gonna Fly Now)

Brands looking to appoint a new agency should look to The Drum Recommends for help. The Drum Recommends offers reviews of agency partners by their own clients to offer insights to the rest of the industry when hiring.

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