Ad Agency New Business: Build a program. Don’t buy a list.

For most agencies, buying a list is like shooting an ant with an elephant gun.

Here’s why:

A successful new business program is a methodical one, designed to maintain regular and personal contact with key decision makers within VERY targeted organizations.

Collecting a large volume of contacts via various list services (many of whom may not be perfect fits) is counterproductive. Focus your efforts on identifying prospects that would make the best clients – those ripe for your unique expertise and market position.

Consider these tips when building your own customized list:

1.  Begin by identifying 50-100 prospect organizations based on your agency’s unique selling proposition (the narrower, the better).

2.  Research all of the decision makers and influencers within each, along with their relevant contact information (phone, email, mailing, social info, etc.).  Use LinkedIn and InsideView to help gather this information.

3.  Call and verify the information.  That’s right…CALL.  Especially if you bought or are working with an inherited list. Confirmation is key. Many lists are fraught with outdated contacts and misinformation – all of which can lead you down rabbit holes that waste valuable agency resources.

4.  Load into your CRM system. We recommend Salesforce. It’s affordable, easy to use and integrates with other new business assets like Constant Contact and Hubspot.

5.  Pace yourself. Begin your outreach and build your list in batches. Most mid-size agencies with a strong and narrow position realistically target approximately 500-800 organizations. Remember, this is not a mass marketing exercise. It’s a personal, relationship-building approach that takes time and discipline.

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Your new business program is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Take the time to choose your ideal prospects well, then research and confirm the identity of the decision makers and influencers within each of those organizations. Quality over quantity is the key to winning this race.

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