8 ways to identify the right new business targets for your agency

Compiling a list of new business targets for your agency sometimes feels like an overwhelming task. The thought of choosing the wrong target clients and missing out on a live opportunity can make collecting masses of unqualified data seem tempting. The higher the number you reach out to, the higher the chance of success right? Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that…

Here are a few ways to work out which clients are right for your agency, and ensure your new business efforts reap the rewards they deserve.

1. The F words

Fame, fortune and fun. Chances are you’re already familiar with this often referenced trio, but it’s more than just a satisfying phrase to say. Deciding which of the three Fs matters the most to your agency is a great first step towards identifying a target client that’s right for you. New business targets should ideally tick two of these boxes: helping to raise your profile, bringing in the big bucks or being enjoyable to work with. 

So think hard about which are most important to you, and make sure any brands you reach out to fit the bill. Discussing which aspects matter most to your team will also give you an insight into what kind of projects they enjoy working on, helping to support employee retention. 

2. Size doesn’t always matter

Make a list of who your top five dream clients would be if there were no barriers to reaching them. And contact them anyway! This approach means there’ll be no feigning enthusiasm, which will show in your outreach and ultimately improve your chances of getting that all-important reply. 

If your agency is on the smaller side, you can still target those big brands – you just need to do it smartly. Instead of heading straight to the obvious departments, which are likely already fully serviced and inundated with outreach, look for the areas of the business that might not have as much support. Internal operations are often lacking in resources but are still crucial for a brand. So trawl LinkedIn and the company website for the contact details of the people running these overlooked departments, and reach out to them with your proposition. Chances are they’ll be happy to hear it. 

3. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Think about your agency in five years’ time and ask yourself what you want to be known for by then (this is particularly important if you chose fame as a priority). Whether it’s a certain sector, a core service or sustainability – look for brands that could help you develop your reputation in this. Alternatively, perhaps you’re already operating in a niche and want to branch out. If that’s the case, make sure any new business targets are from sectors that will help to diversify your portfolio. 

4. Consult the case studies 

Delve back into your own case studies and consider the kind of brands you worked with, the services you provided, and crucially, the problems you helped them to overcome. Looking for businesses in similar sectors, with similar needs, or facing similar issues means that when you reach out you’ll genuinely have something compelling to bring to the table, increasing your chance of a conversion.

5. Expose your experience 

Relevant experience is one of the best ways of ensuring a client is the right fit for you (and vice versa). But the experience doesn’t have to be from within the four walls of your agency for you to capitalise on it. What amazing projects have your team worked on before? Chat to them and find out about the previous work they’re most proud of and, like with your case studies, be on the lookout for similar businesses. Not only will your team’s past experience guarantee that you can actually help your target, but it’ll provide you with great material to use in that crucial first email. 

6. Align your agency’s values

Remind yourself of your agency’s values and be on the hunt for brands that align with them. For example, if you’re B Corp certified that’s a huge part of who you are. So why not look for brands with similar morals? Shared values are a great foundation on which to connect with your potential client and a surefire way to help you stand out from the hundreds of emails they receive each week. 

7. Timing is everything 

Ok, so you’ve identified your perfect client, but have you thought about the timing? Perhaps your target is in the travel industry, but it’s January… well then you’re going to want to hold off on contacting them as that’s their busiest month. Whatever sector your potential client is in, make sure you’re conducting enough research to identify industry peaks and troughs. And only reach out to them at a time when they’re ready to listen.  

8. Follow the money 

Stay on top of trends across all sectors, even ones you don’t traditionally work with. Which areas are experiencing growth and disruption? These industries are likely to be receiving funding, making brands in these sectors prime new business targets. On the flip side, it’s also a good idea to research what kinds of companies are currently facing a more difficult time. Tired brands are likely to be investing money into solving their problems meaning they can also be an opportune target.  

Whilst it might seem like a quick and easy fix to target as many people as possible in your new business outreach, the truth is, if you’re targeting too many, you won’t be getting the results you want with any. So spend a little more time making sure your target clients are a good fit and you’ll have the best chance of converting – to both a meeting and an eventual win.  

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