One of the biggest challenges facing agency owners and limiting their growth is the depth of their account staff’s business acumen. How about your team?
Over the years we’ve hired and trained account managers who are good at selling marketing “stuff,” but not immersed in knowing what drives businesses and their decisions.
What does every business or organization care most about at the end of the day?
Every member of your account team should understand how your prospects and clients generate revenue. What percentage of your team knows the many sides of your clients’ business that influence how they generate their revenue?
Here’s a checklist of what to know:
- Distribution channels
- Industry/channel challenges
- Pricing pressures
- Sales force structure
- Relationship between marketing and sales
- Production processes
These are all important elements for your team to know the answers to as they work to build strategies that will produce measurable results. Without this knowledge, chances are what you’ll recommend to the client will miss the mark and you’ll be closer to that client becoming a former client.
Companies are starving to find agencies that “get it” when it comes to business. Want to guarantee your seat at their management table? Then build an account team of business strategists who actually understand business.
Avi Dan, founder of Avidan Strategies – an agency search firm – sounded the warning bell about what agencies need to do. “If you want to have an impact you need to own the high-level business strategy, something that ad agencies have completely abdicated.”
It takes a top-down commitment from you as the agency owner to develop a team who approach prospects and clients from this position. This is an opportunity to accelerate beyond your competitors, separating you in your market area; whether you work locally or regionally.
Developing the proper talent for your agency’s account team is crucial to long-term success. But, as an owner, your time is limited. You need to spend it wisely when building your account team’s bench strength. Consider this from a Forbes article Keys to Developing Talent in Your Organization: “Senior executives make the biggest impact when they distinguish between individual coaching and organizational coaching. It’s the latter that lacks most. Call it the culture, or environment, of development that’s missing.”
Build a profile for a business-focused account manager. It’s time to make an honest assessment of your account team. How many match up to that profile? Your agency needs to be more than just you. When you have a team that truly understands the inner workings of your clients business, it creates a different client/agency relationship than what you’ve had in the past.
When you increase your account team’s bench strength, you’ll have client relationships that will result in greater agency profits, longer tenure and elevate your position among their key decision makers.
So what will it be? More of the same or will you take the steps to transform your agency into a valued business advisory?