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In some of our past blog posts, we’ve covered processes for new business development that include nurturing your Dream 25 and developing automation that will help you consistently nurture those leads. But we recently had a chance to talk with an expert whose entire business is to teach others how to create sustainable new business development programs. We were inspired by her custom approach and some of the insights she shared on what holds people back.
Jody Sutter is a career-long business development professional who has always worked for or with creative services firms in advertising and creative marketing services. In her transition to creating The Sutter Company her focus has evolved to support the small agency owner who struggles when it comes to business development. Jody's coaching and training are aimed at giving these agency owners the skills and confidence to sustain their success in the long term. Jody's niche is mostly small agency owners, those with between five and 55 employees, who need a system to master the skills necessary for business development.
I was initially drawn to Jody by a blog post she shared that talked about how most organizations have a gold mine in their current database and fail to leverage the relationships they already have. She understands the value of personalization and you’ll see that comes through in how she approaches her system design for each company that she works with.
Being an expert in helping her clients design new business development programs, the first thing I wanted to learn was some of the best practices she has used and experienced. She shared with me that, just like the customized approach we take at The Expressory for Strategic Engagement, her recommendations are usually specific to the client.
Jody's process for designing a new business development system revolves around identifying the strengths and tendencies of agency owners and their team members. As she shared with me, “There are going to be people who no matter how much you incentivize them with bonuses, they’re just not going to be comfortable” with certain tactics, which means there is no one size fits all solution.
Through her experience, Jody has developed profiles based on how people are comfortable working. Her 4 profiles of behaviors include: hunters, communicators, promoters, and thinkers. By identifying these profiles, Jody is then able to build an outbound program around the strengths of the agency owner or their team.
Below you’ll find a description of each profile/category. See if you can identify which strength may be in play with your own team.
Hunters - These are your typical salespeople. They are comfortable with one-on-one interactions and can walk into any room of strangers and have an easy conversation. They are often the primary focus of Jody's outbound programs. Jody will generally work with these agency leaders to further develop and enhance their skills in cold calling and other outbound activities.
Communicators - These are your big idea people. They are skilled at taking complex ideas and making them easy to understand. They are often great in pitch rooms, large group presentations, or on keynote stages. However, they may struggle with the details. Jody finds it helpful to build a support system around them, so that the interest generated by their presentations has further action.
Promoters - The poster child for the promoter is Gary V. These are people with a lot of energy, smart, and enthusiastic. They are great at sharing their ideas with others, even if they are not fully baked! They often use social media as a platform to share their ideas and are extremely comfortable with public speaking. Jody helps these people harness all that energy and create compelling content that resonates with potential clients, moving them further into the funnels.
Thinkers - These are your introverted leaders who may not be comfortable with public speaking or making cold calls. However, they have strong interpersonal skills. They are the ones who value structure, like a highly refined elevator pitch. Jody helps these agency leaders to develop a good value proposition so that they understand the company’s position and purpose. When thinkers have a clear purpose and some structure, they are more comfortable and confident in networking and selling situations.
Once you identify which strengths are present for you and your team, you can begin to identify the types of activities that will need to be part of your strategic business development efforts. You will also know relevant responsibilities for each team member since you’ve based these efforts off of specific team member’s strengths.
It’s important to note that there needs to be a fine balance of participation from the owner through all of this. Once you have a system in place, it’s easy to delegate more of this work, especially as you get to be a certain size. But an owner should never be removed from this process. Clients value a relationship with the owner, and you want to make sure that you’re never at risk of someone on the team walking away with a client to start their own company.
Only 50% of the agency owners we have spoken with have a formal process in place for new business development. I wanted to explore why that number isn’t higher for organizations that often teach some of this stuff to their clients. I asked Jody when people realize that they need to hire her and why they don’t have systems in place for strong new business development already. She shared that there’s often an underlying fear that needs to be worked through in order to implement and maintain successful business development. Some common examples include:
Fear of rejection: This often shows up as hesitancy to reach out to potential clients, reluctance to follow up after initial contact, or a lack of confidence in pitching services.
Fear of not knowing where to start: This shows up as procrastination, feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about which tactics to pursue, or an overall paralysis by analysis.
Fear of not being able to maintain momentum: This generally shows up as a lack of consistency in implementation, giving up too soon when results are not immediately apparent, or a lack of follow-through on commitments.
Fear of uncertainty: This manifests itself as a hesitation to invest time and resources in a new strategy, reluctance to take risks, or a general lack of faith in the chosen approach.
I’m sure if you’re like me, you’ve probably experienced one or two (or maybe all) of those fears. It’s very common to work through these things, and this is where Jody sees the value of understanding those profiles come into play. When you understand your strengths and have designed processes around them, it’s a matter of reminding yourself to trust those processes, have confidence in your efforts.
In today’s high-tech world, new business development is going to need a much more consistent and personal touch in order to cut through and engage prospects. The only way to sustain a process at this level is going to be if you have something that everyone is comfortable and confident in executing. Jody’s approach to designing a new business development process ensures that teams can leverage their unique talents to help prospects fall in love and trust their company.
As always, we invite you to sit with the information presented here and bring any questions you might have to one of our upcoming Q&As. We’d love to brainstorm with you on how to apply learnings from any of our material to your own relationship building efforts. Register for an upcoming session here. Or feel free to schedule some one-on-one time to talk through new business strategies that could work for your team.