The Agency New Business Challenge

I was quiz master last week for The Agency New Business Challenge, asking questions of both new business expert, Adam Graham from Gray Matters and the audience. Phil Mitchell (see photo) meets John Humphrys if you will.

Okay, it wasn’t called that (and I didn’t get to say “I’ve started so I’ll finish”) but it was indeed an event all about new business, where Adam provided great insights into that often always challenging area.

And thanks to Adam for asking me to support on the day.

The event was part of a series from All in. Leeds, with a seminar/event every Thursday morning in February.  There is/was a range of specialists talking each week and they are allied to but outside the creative sector, there to offer their expertise to agencies (e.g new business, finance, workplace culture, legal).

All in. Leeds exists to raise the profile of Leeds creative sector with investors, to get creative businesses ‘on the map’ with brands and act as a magnet for the next generation of talent. Yep, I paraphrased that from the web site.

Making Leeds the go-to place for creative services.

All in. Leeds.

Back to the session: I’d drafted a series of questions to ask Adam on the day and we got through most but not all of them.

Adam is going to use the full list as a catalyst for a set of blog posts on the Gray Matters site, so make sure you check on those and Link-in with him too.

Here’s a sample of the questions:

  • You extol agencies to ‘Learn to love New Business’ – do that many hate it?
    If so, why is that?
  • How many agencies do you see with no new business plan in place?
  • Pitch or Don’t Pitch – what say you? (and if it’s pitch.. what can agencies do to make it a fair process?)
  • If you were setting up an agency with absolutely no clients, what would you do first?
  • There’s something like 20,000 agencies in the UK alone, how on earth can you stand out?
  • Do you think LinkedIn has revolutionised the way agencies attract attention from prospects? And if so, why?
  • Agencies often don’t “take their own medicine”; how do you encourage them to do that?
  • Content marketing and Inbound, in general, takes a LOT of time to execute well, how can an agency avoid burnout in that area?

Full disclosure: I work with agency clients on their new business approaches (and sometimes help write pitch decks) and I have a point of view but I don’t claim to be an expert, my focus is more overall board advisor and chief operating officer territory. So it was great to collaborate with a dedicated specialist in this area.

Thanks to all who came along and for sharing tales (good and bad!) in the spirit of cooperation, to learn from each other and elevate the Leeds agency scene (which part of the wider All in. Leeds ethos of course).


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