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 Oliver Roby, one of those at the top of their field who work in the UK biz dev sector.
Name: Oliver Roby
Job Title: commercial manager
Agency: eJIGSAW Ltd.
What were your highlights of last year?
Firstly, I was lucky enough to have (well my wife had) our second child in 2017 called Penelope and that is definitely my highlight of 2017. From a professional perspective, halfway through the year, I was approached by an exciting startup creative and digital agency, eJIGSAW Ltd. to head up their Business Development and Commercial department.
I had been at my previous company for approaching five years and I felt I needed a new challenge in a new sector and the opportunity at eJIGSAW was perfect. It has been an incredible six months with eJIGSAW, enhancing their brand awareness, devising their commercial strategy, and being part of a team that is so passionate about working together and putting everything in to growing the company and making it a success.
Since joining eJIGSAW the client base has more than doubled and we have worked with some amazing brands such the NHS, Virgin, and Sky Zone. I believe I have helped eJIGSAW and the company and the team have massively helped me, and I can’t wait for the next 6 months, 5 years, or who know, maybe longer!
What has been your most memorable win - and why?
Despite not being the largest contract commercially, winning a marketing and PR contract with a local trampoline park, local to eJIGSAW anyway, called Freedome was definitely the most satisfying.
Firstly, the initial meeting was set up via another client recommending them to us, which is always a positive and pleasant occurrence, as it reinforces that the work you’re doing for existing clients is on point.
Secondly, we knew that the company already worked with a highly-regarded agency within the North-West for another aspect of their marketing strategy so we knew that for us to win the new business it was a big thing (considering we were just over a year old and the other agency had over 10 years experience!).
Finally, at eJIGSAW the team, myself included, really have a passion and ethos for working with local companies, and being able to come up with ideas and put in place strategies that will help increase customers and therefore revenue to the company was something we have all really enjoyed. It also helped that they were a super cool brand and awesome to work with as well, and the work we have done with them has opened doors around the area and we have been able to build new relationships and bring on new customers as a result.
How would you describe your approach to business development?
Pester someone until their resolve is so weak that I can pounce! Obviously, I’m joking. I feel that winning any new business is building trust and a rapport with potential customers, ensuring that I’m as open and transparent as can possibly be, and also work with the client to ensure we can deliver exactly what they want. I’m not the type of person to sell the dream and not be able to deliver.
Again, that’s something that has been refreshing about my time with eJIGSAW, it’s not just ‘sales’ people out and about selling products or services that we can’t deliver. Every piece of new business we pitch for is a collaborative process, including designers, developers, marketers, project and account managers. If we can’t do it we won’t tell a customer we can, but if we can, and we can do it well and be beneficial to your business then there’s no stopping me!
Additionally, as my job title suggests, I’m not a Sales or Business Development Manager, I don’t just bring new business in and then pass it on to the projects and marketing teams, I like to retain that relationship and make sure that the customers I bring on are looked after and if they’re not I’ll question our teams as to why not!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Be a sponge. That may sound a little weird but it has held me in good stead to this point. I interpreted it as never stop learning. Since coming to eJIGSAW I’ve learned so much about design, UX, development platforms, and marketing strategies, and it all helps massively when in front a potential client or customer.
All the little tidbits you learn throughout your personal or professional life will help at some point so make sure you’re listening and taking everything in, whether it be when engaging with a CEO or talking to a Junior. Everyone has something interesting to say and something you can learn from them.
What would be your number one tip to anyone starting in business development?
There are numerous tips I could give but the best one is to be honest, particularly with any client you’re trying to bring on. I’ve said before above, but if you promise the world and your team can’t deliver it you’ll quickly develop a reputation that will ultimately work against you in the long run.
Apart from that, I would say network strategically. Don’t go to everything but place yourself in situations where you’ll pick up contacts and develop relationships with the right people.
What is your new business soundtrack?
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - The Message.
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