We’ve all heard the old saying: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and we all know it means it takes many hands, with continued investment, for something to grow into a healthy little thing.

For many agencies, new business is quite a siloed part of agency life. Left to a select few – either a designated new business team, the senior leadership team or resourced out – with people in the wider team brought on solely at the pitch stage.

But with something as integral and important as new business, it’s best when the whole village is involved in raising the child.

It’s not on my job spec

Any agency leader knows the perks that come with a well-oiled new business machine – we’re talking pitches, wins, growth, promotions, pay rises, personal development and agency fame!

The role of the new business lead is to get the whole team engaged and involved in the new business process, to accelerate the journey to the upside.

Ok great, but how?

Yep, we hear you: easier said than done right? Well to help inspire you, we’ve got some tips to help break it down and get all levels of your team involved.

Share the vision

First up, in order to get everyone contributing to your new business goals, they need to know what you’re shooting for!

The more specific you can be in sharing what an ideal client looks like, the better. If your team know clearly the characteristics of a good client, they’ll be more able to spot the opportunities where your agency could start a relationship or offer a helping hand.

Juniors

Get your juniors involved. What they may lack in experience they can more than make up for by bringing a fresh perspective to brainstorms or a better understanding of the brands aimed at their age group.

Background research is a vital tool in the pursuit of good new business and chemistry meetings. Utilise your junior team to look into your prospective targets – analysing sector trends, latest campaigns, CMO interviews and annual reports, so that your agency can go into meetings readily armed with knowledge and questions to impress.

Strategists

Your agency probably has some of the smartest minds in the creative field. Use them.

They should be joining the dots between the insights gathered into the brands you’re speaking with, and evolving consumer behaviour. They should enable your new business team to open up conversations about challenges on the horizon and potential solutions the agency could provide.

All brands want to stay ahead of the curve. You’ll be sat on a bed of knowledge that might seem super obvious to you, but to others could be brand new. Use your strategists as sounding boards for thoughts and nuggets that you could take to new business meetings. Don’t save these just for the pitch room.

Creatives

At the end of the day, we’re all magpies who love pretty shiny things. Utilise your creatives to put together a fantastic creds deck that will impress. It doesn’t have to be different every single time but get them thinking about how your work can be best presented.

The same goes for any interesting trends reports or statistics you might have collated. Pull these together and make them genuinely stand out.

Ask your creatives if there are some dream brands that they’ve always wanted to work with. Get them to mock up an idea or two and use it as a talking point in a meeting. Help show your prospective clients what is possible.

And – if your creatives fancy it – bring them along to a meeting. Everyone loves a story and your master storytellers are your creatives. The ones who see the world in a different way. New business meetings with creds led by senior decision makers are a dime a dozen – so maybe spin them a story to make you stand out.

Open up

Whether you succeed or fail in a pitch, share the details of the process that got you so far. You may not have won, but remind the team why you were shortlisted. Was it a great testimonial that got you on the pitch list, an award winning case study, or the fact that your proposal came in on budget that the client loved? These details help the wider team to appreciate how their day to day work contributes to the agency’s new business success.

Share the pitch brief with the wider team. They may spot other brands who are likely to be tackling similar challenges and may be interested to hear the ideas you’ve worked up.

In addition, share the timeframes that lead up to the pitch. Educate your team that often years worth of relationship building has preceded a pitch opportunity or new business win. This can make the process more accessible and help your team to understand that they don’t have to be bringing a live opportunity to the table to be making a valuable contribution to the agency’s new business fortunes. An introduction, bringing someone new to an agency event, or spotting an interesting story in the trade press are all contributions to the bigger picture.

Incentives

If you’d like to see many hands make light work, consider offering incentives for proactive new business work undertaken by your team. Think of all those extra brands you could engage with each month if everyone picked a few they felt passionate about, and got in touch with them to start building a relationship!

Conclusion

When it comes to new business, you make your own luck. Sure, there’s the right place, right time kind of scenarios but if we’re being honest, it’s luck derived from working smart and working hard. All. The. Time.

Which is a lot for one person or for a small team. Like it’s a lot, a lot. So let’s not keep it siloed to a select few in the company and shroud new business in this elusive mystique. Get your whole team involved and, more importantly, play to their strengths.

New business isn’t just boozing and schmoozing (Mad Men sold us all a lie!) but people do still buy people. If you’ve got a junior on your team who loves a brand you’re meeting with, get them involved. Maybe even invite them to the meeting! Likewise, if you’ve got a creative who has some interesting ideas, pull something together and use it as a reason to get in touch.

There’s a place for everyone when it comes to new business so help your team find their role and invest time into new business.

After all, it takes a village to raise a child.