In this case, experience does not matter…
Introduction: Determining who has the experience and understanding necessary, to lead New Business Development in a Digital Marketing / Agency or Client company context can be a tough thing to get right.
To make identifying those who’ve got the commitment and understanding that are necessary to do the job, I offer a suggestion on how to make the first cut. I suggest you cull those that “do”, the Digital Media Walkers, from those that “don’t”, the Digital Media Talkers. My lens for this article is for the most part, focused on an individual’s personal relationship with Digital Media, past their job.
Representing the greater whole
New Business represents the greater whole. New Business sits in front of a prospective Client, pulls it together, articulates issues, as well as navigates and engages with, many different pockets of deep subject matter expertise – on both “sides”, the Client, as well as within their own Co’s.
Early on, as digital media became more complex, with more moving parts to connect, I wanted more hands-on knowledge, allowing me to better understand and cogently explain, a lot of what my company, as well as digital media offers the digital marketer.
I decided to become a Digital Media, New Business Walker. I was going to use personal interests as the subject matter and content to fuel my participation. From soup to nuts, I’d figure it out, from buying URL’s to setting up WordPress blogs, and creating an ETSY store.
The Elephant in the room
Increasingly, I saw it was left to Clients and ecommerce pioneers to “stitch it all together” to make revenue. Agency prescribers didn’t live on a pay for performance scale; revenue was the Clients hassle. Having built a small ecommerce presence myself, I didn’t understand the disconnect: Revenue drives all, and is the ultimate metric – yet we Agency folk rarely spoke of it.
Are you all in?
Frequently, I interact with New Business Development talent; people whose work affect businesses deeply. Oddly they never speak of client revenue, ROI, profit, they don’t know the Client’s stock price; haven’t visited their site. They do not connect their work with client success or revenue, for the most part. Metrics are invented and “codified”, their connective tissue to the financial health of a Client company, is tenuous at best.
Many have no personal skin in the digital media world, no investment or commitment to digital media, past their 9->9 workday. They’ve no understanding from a first-person perspective, on how to stitch it together to make money, or how to make social media perform as a platform and toolset, even at a small “personal” business level. At work, they handle their specific piece of the puzzle, “the relationship/ conducting the orchestra” aspect of New Business, and punt to subject matter experts, when anything gets in the least bit specific.
Culling Walkers from Talkers
When I run across a New Business person (but this could be applied to any digital title) I do a little homework. The goal is to identify Digital Media Walkers from Talkers. It’s simple, and I suggest if you are considering hiring a “digital anything, especially a leader” that you follow suit.
I ask myself broad questions such as:
Does the expert have a personal website?
How does their site rank in terms of the content or subject matter?
Do they come up on Page 1?
Do they own their own name in a URL?
Have they activated: Twitter, FB, IG, flickr, Tumblr, Yelp, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Pheed, eBay, LinkedIn, a Blog?
Do they have followers/views in any channels?
Do they have an online ecommerce presence?
Do they have CMS experience?
Have they created an editorial calendar?
Have they built, or maintained a WordPress site?
Can they read a simple site traffic report and explain it in layman’s terms?
Do they understand real world analytics?
Do they have an AdSense account?
Have they managed keywords?
Have they ever written, designed or launched an email blast?
Is “digital media” a job, or their life?
You get the idea.
I’d not expect everyone can check every box, but if you have the goods, it’ll be clear.
An impartial audit
No matter your affinity for their particular subject matter, the [y/n] checklist gives an impartial view of a persons “digital investment”. If their “personal time” thing is quilting, I’d expect to see that they’ve participated in some quilting groups, shared pictures of some work, have their own site, or have some platform in place to share their work. If they are a reader, watch collector or film buff, I’d expect to see a picture, an interaction, maybe a critique or two, if they are a foodie, a Yelp review, maybe a Flicker foodie account?
My expectations are that someone who is committed to Digital Media/ New Business, has substantive hands-on experience, as well as an established personal, digital presence – that they be a Digital Walker, investing personal time and effort into gaining experience, earning “cred”.
What does a Walker look like?
If you are a digital “New Business person” and haven’t hassled with passwords, buying a URL, writing content, using CPanels, installing a Widget into your WordPress site, or getting an AdSense or YouTube account straightened out: you are a Digital Talker, and as such, aren’t qualified to lead New Business Development – Enterprise, SMB or Org.
In this instance, it really is less about “channel activation”, rather its more about the persons ability and willingness to mix it up, to express themselves. If you are active online, chances are good, that you are writing, thinking, focusing, interacting, honing writing and communication skills. Conversely, if you are a ghost, nowhere to be found, you are looking “in from the outside”.
Who has the time for this?
So, Hiring Manager, why take the time to make sure the executive, charming, well spoken, six-figure earning New Business person in front of you, is not a Digital Talker, and can stitch together the million and one things, a basic Internet marketer or social media maestro, must consider? Why ask, when many of the items in the list aren’t on the surface, anyway, seemingly relevant or mission critical to that person’s executive day-to-day job.
Well, the competitive stakes, the complexity of digital media, the necessity of navigating across organizational layers and specialties, and the investment in talent, make it just too important for that person not to love it, or be personally involved.
The ability to get granular, understand even at a high level, how things work and why – and be empathic from a consumer/ user perspective – helps immeasurably – especially in Business Development. Yes, the ability to connect, lunch it up, conference it like a pro, as well as build relationships is important, but personal dynamism does not take the place of love, personal knowledge and a deeper understanding of digital media.
Get on it! Get it on!
I hear the New Business Talkers howls in the halls…. WHAT! I don’t have the time for that.. It’s not relevant to my job… I work on global business… You don’t understand … My URL name isn’t available… I have no need for any of those channels, LI is enough… I don’t need my own URL…I don’t have a subject,… I am an EVP… I am not a writer… I can’t use a camera… it’s confusing… I’m busy traveling…. Who do you think you are!
It takes a lot of time and energy to be involved in digital media at a personal level – you have to love it. It is a long-term, time-consuming effort, to assert your place, to earn your own voice; a personal voice across channels. Taking your own medicine, building it yourself and thriving, is a powerful accomplishment, especially at the Exec level. Earning your cred by, “Walking It” is a strong competitive New Business advantage in a world chock full of Talkers.
- Take a look – hire digital leaders who love and live Digital Media, who’ve made a personal investment.
- If Digital Media is your game (yeah, YOU New Business Person!), be in it, get on it and get it on!
- To be able to explain much of what digital media offers, it helps immeasurably to live it.
- New Business people should be knowledgeable, knowing how and when to tap subject matter expertise to pull it together.
Thank you for your time!
Results _ Search for “steveb” on Google – 3rd listed
(I have happy customers: http://steveb.biz/notes/ )
STEVEB LEATHERWORKS ON FACEBOOK
Synopsis: in about 1000 words, I address the notion of the “Magic Rolodex”, New Business Hunter, and their relevance in the New Normal. I even squeak a Ted Nugent reference in, for good measure.
Hunters and Prey…
Not all that long ago (1980’s – 1996), it was possible for a New Business person to generate, billable work by beating the bushes and hammering away at their contacts. Today, I cringe when I hear the word “Hunter”, but the word Hunter, is one that is still oft used, when describing New Business talent. “He’s a great Hunter”…bringing it home…” Oh yeah.
Business people became contacts, when you got their business card – an important talisman for the Hunter of yore. Business cards were stored, most often, in a cool device called a Rolodex, proudly displayed, an odd homage to Industrial Design, on a desk, in an office.
Presumably, the fatter the Rolodex, the more connected the owner. Through attending industry events, conferences, trade shows, and appointments, and over time, you could fatten up your Rolodex up to the point; maybe, where it had some Magic in it.
What is a Magic Rolodex? What is its value?
The Magic Rolodex had enough viable, current contacts and suppliers in it, that, if you “worked it hard enough”, you could drum up some billable work, when things got slow.
Given the reality, and this description, it becomes clear that the magic Rolodex had woefully little magic in it, and in fact, it was a lot of work to keep the damn thing current, and in a usable state. It’s a struggle to keep your contact file trimmed down, to contain only qualified, solid prospects. Do some “let’s get real”, hardcore filtering, and your Rolodex gets real thin, real quick. It’s a little disconcerting at first, and definitely scary.
I mean, who wants an empty Rolodex sitting on their desks, for all to see?
Not surprising, the bulky, dual rail Rolodex found favor during, what I call the PUSH Marketing era – as did many other bloaty, self-centered, clueless, talking-at-you tools and tactics. A New Business person was an in-bulk, broadcaster: wrote letters, made phone calls, created FileMaker databases on a Macintosh SE, spoke at conferences (if they were able) – and found/leveraged whatever was at their disposal, to find business opportunity for their company.
It was fun, travel had not quite achieved Greyhound Bus status and you got to meet a lot of smart people – and make a good living.
Snagging & Sniping, making the Magic Rolodex perform
In that day, prospects, even executive level prospects, took phone calls. Recall the 7am, “snag the CEO at his desk” tactic? Sadly, that only worked once. Believe it or not, some exec’s answered letters, and were open to meet people/subject matter experts who’d bring real knowledge (and not simply information), and maybe share some catered breakfast goodies.
The best New Business people didn’t try to sell, I thought of us as “on-boarders”, we facilitated prospects “transitioning” to becoming clients. We delivered our Company’s best work; to qualified prospects: presentations, proposals,case studies, thought leadership insights, etc.
At it’s very best, New Business was, and still is about matchmaking, developing relationships with folks you really don’t know, but with who you share an agenda.
It is not about slam dunking RFP’s and producing over the top pitches. Those types of things don’t bode well, because, honestly – you are simply not listening, you are … performing – and that’s an instant relationship killer – even at the Enterprise level.
If we are going to be successful in the long run, we have to make sure we bring the very best, most well-suited and aligned clients in-house. Think on it, if you want to prepare a chocolate lover for a good, long-term experience, don’t deliver vanilla.
Figure out: are you looking for Clients or Projects? There is a big difference, and that decision will affect your approach and behavior.
This whole line of thinking is counter to a “sales” mentality, in my opinion – and so incentivization needs to reflect it. Both employer and employee should be committed to the long run, and all of the challenges you KNOW you will face, including failure. One, must have the others back…
I like my New Business well done….
New Business is about matching your company’s capability, with a client company’s need, and making billable work happen over the “long run”. This activity includes the myriad of attendant details involved with making that happen, including being blessed by a crack in the window of opportunity.
So, yeah, that was then, days of glory – meh. I had to dig around in our storage bin to find my old Rolodex, no one, me included, cares about that stuff anymore. Seems a million light years ago. To a digital native, it IS a million years ago.
Everything is different today, except the need for revenue.
It’s a.. Free for All.. as per the Nuge
Bless the Internet; it has disrupted everything to the point where, as Ted Nugent opined, “it’s a free for all” . There are no clear rules, the landscape is perpetually alien, and only the crafty, fearless, attentive and smart survive.
You have to understand how to Pull qualified prospects towards you, because “hammering away” trying to set appointments, chasing folks on the phone (or email) will net you a sore ear, crappy mood and the need for a stiff drink by noon. You’ll probably tick a few folks off too….
The Magic Rolodex, if it was ever alive, is now officially dead. Ok?
Hunters, gah, that term, lets consider that passé and dead too, please?
So…What do you say, where is the Magic today How do you make it happen?
Well, there is no magic.
The hard cold, yet liberating fact is, New Business Development is not rocket science, there is only work to do – if you want to enjoy the trifecta of revenue, good clients and a sustainable pipeline of new business opportunities.
The body of work that results in that perfect state, those functions and activities: Outbound Messaging, Editorial Development, Content Creation, Thought Leadership, Event Participation and Attendance, Sales (yes, even Sales) and Public Relations, that in aggregate, help make it happen for a business?
All of that work and effort?
It’s falls under the umbrella of New Business Development.
stephenberner @ me.com
This CEO is not waiting for your call…
Synopsis: In this article: Differentiating New Business and Sales in a marketing services company context. Description of how PR makes a significant contribution to New Business success and a shared personal story.
Wikipiedia defines New Business Development:
…Business Development is mostly seen as growing an enterprise, with a number of techniques. The mentioned techniques differ, but in fact all of them are about traditional marketing. The main question in these issues is: how to find, reach and approach customers and how to make/keep them satisfied, possibly with new products….
Really, is that New Business?
I’m not sure that Wikipedia really nails it down, so if its OK, lets agree, in broad strokes, that New Business is about developing a strategy, and complimentary set of actions, that result in a sustainable pipeline of qualified, prospective customers for your services.
So – what does this mean?
Who wants to be Pushed?
Sales is a PUSH activity: you push your message out to your target: you call, write, advertise, mail, etc. You broadcast a message at prospects. Sales works well in the consumer world (of products and services), but when it comes to selling Marketing Services to corporate clients and businesses, pushing a message, doesn’t seem to work so well. No one wants to hear it, (I mean really, do you?).
New Business back in the day
I worked for a leading Design & Branding firm, Gerstman+Meyers, from 1985 to 1991. We had a clear specialty; we focused on branding and packaging work, and stayed within that well-defined space.
Owners, Dick Gerstman and Herb Meyers were not sales guys, in the least, but they needed revenue and clients. They were smart, and made the decision to build an in-house Public Relations capability, and brought a PR pro in to run it, Judy Kalvin.
New Business staff at that time, was the VP, Betty and myself. Betty was a secret weapon. She was senior, Herb’s ex-secretary and she knew everything about the firm. Betty was a great talker, likable, a mother figure – and fearless on the phone.
Setting the stage for a good exchange
Betty was well received, in large part because of Judy’s work in Public Relations. Judy got the word out and her messaging in most cases preceded Betty’s call. Public Relations releases, publishing books that were written by the founders, speaking engagements, sponsorships, judging award shows – Judy played the PR orchestra brilliantly – and Herb & Dick delivered – and so were always asked back.
As Judy beat the drum, people heard good things about the Company. We were leading players in a clearly defined marketing services niche: Packaging & Branding, where we knew each of our competitors.
Connecting the dots: How do PR and New Business work together?
Our BD/PR process looked like this: PR stoked the fire on a specific, issue or cause. For this, the Company received recognition, Betty called to set appointments to meet with prospects in the niches upon which we were focused, and who’d seen/read our content, and I went on the calls/presentations, generally returning with criteria to write a proposal.
There was no sales activity, this was all Pull. The sales-iest we got was setting appointments, getting us face time – which is mission critical. You are not going to get work from someone you’ve never met.
In 2015, people don’t answer their phones, don’t open unsolicited email, open their snail mail in front of a shredder – and are tough to get to with a frontal approach. People don’t want to be sold, pitched or presented to, by someone they aren’t at least a little familiar with, or whom they’ve heard of. Attention is at an all time premium.
Marketing service businesses need to be found. Do you know a client, who when in need of a service, doesn’t ask a friend or colleague for a referral. Conversely, you can also be found through out bound communications, event participation and content marketing in social media channels – Public Relations, in the digital age.
So how do you “get found”?
Getting found takes time
Again, Public Relations, publishing thought leadership/white papers, speaking engagements, roundtables, webinars, trade events, charitable events, foundations, editorial submissions, education, POV pieces – I could go on and on.
New Business through this lens is a long tail endeavor, its an investment, it’s a lot of work, that pays great dividends over time. It paves the way for a call to be made, for the name to be recognized, for the thinking to activate conversation and for the value to be clear. It takes time for recognition, to stick and take hold.
New Business requires you to be an expert listener. Very often when proposing work to be done, you must listen studiously to the prospect. This is critical, if you hope to get a relevant document in front of them, approved.
In time, I left G+M and worked for other companies in the niche, who’d not made the investment in Pull Marketing – and found that it made the task at hand much more difficult – lesson learned.
The path into New Business
So how does one get involved in New Business today?
Well, you either move into it at your current company, or you find a new job. I’d suggest moving into it from an Account Management position. Why? Well, you’ll know the Company from the inside and out, you’ll have your own client work stories to tell and you won’t be starting off in a pressure cooker, because the people there already know you and understand this is a move to a new role… and you’ll have the benefit of a grace period.
In Summary, some things to keep in mind:
For a business:
1 – Business Development should be an ongoing, strategically driven investment –from Day 1.
2 – Public Relations and outbound messaging are critical to New Business success.
3 – Thought leadership drives PR, and ultimately recognition: you have to share.
4 – Participate in relevant industry events: juried shows, organizations, and committees – get out there, be present, face forward.
5 – Follow: a process, a road map, have an editorial calendar driving content and refer to it .
6 – Specialize: you cant be everything, to everybody, everywhere, all the time. This is the age of the Specialist, be clear in your expertise, and identify the fenceline.
7 – Hire experience – don’t send a junior to meet with a qualified prospect
8 – Consider moving into New Business from an Account Management role.
9 – Network: there are some smart people out there like Hank Blank, who share best networking practices, pay attention to them.
Next: Important considerations before taking on a New Business role.
This site serves as a portfolio, and as is true with most portfolios, it is waaaay behind in publishing my prodigious output! I cant keep up, its ridiculous to even try.
Not surprisingly to those who know me personally, a number of personal interests compliment my “new business” business life, and in a decidedly “non-renaissance age”, I have been described as somewhat of a renaissance man (no smirking please..c’mon!) This observation made by a friend, is probably due to my mashup of interests: imagery-driven marketing and messaging, content strategy and development, and storytelling, in a marketing and sales context .
A deep love and a boat load of new business (the nexus of sales and marketing) experience in digital media, branding, publishing, editorial and content development powers me. I like being creative when given the opportunity, and actually look at new business, as a creative endeavor.
In welcome contrast, to a life focused on the business of agency new business, I am a leather craftsperson, a photographer and a Harley-Davidson enthusiast.
I am always interested in hearing about new opportunities, so please, let me know what brought you here.
Email me > stephenberner(@)me.com
Sacred - by Kirk Taylor, Custom Design Studios
It was a rainy, kind of crappy cold day in March in California when I finally got to get a close look at a bike that I’d seen before, but not gotten up tight and personal with. I’d spied the beginning of the machine taking shape, a frame and a few tin parts, while visiting Custom Design Studio in Novato California some many moons ago and It was pretty cool to be able take a look at the bike in its fully finished state – no longer a fresh, out of the box bauble.
So during a busy weekend at the Custom Chrome Dealer Show in Santa Clara, Kirk and I rolled this machine out onto the loading dock behind the venue, gave it a final wipe and there ya have it, Sacred, a bike built by Kirk Taylor at Custom Design Studios – in tribute to our mutual, departed friend Johnny Chop. Plain and simple.
to buy the book, click on this link please….
Abandoned America_4: Nova Dye
This long shuttered fabric treatment and dying facility is typical of many East Coast industrial complexes that were built to serve a number of wars and a growing America. It’s a patchwork of buildings, areas, processes, catwalks and huge machinery, such as walk-in Autoclaves . You have fabric treatment next to fabric dying, next to fabric drying – giant machines, many of them with open flames, pits of solvents and bolts of fabric all butted up against one another – a sure recipe for disaster under any circumstance and if all of the signage in the plant is any indication – fires were a regular occurrence.
to see more of Nova Dye & to purchase the book, available in Hardcover (looks great) and Softcover (a shock just how good this looks!) go to BLURB
Another look at what is happening to America’s industrial resources.
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A new book on E-Fab is available on Blurb. See some of Lock Baker’s great machines, up close and personal.
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45dgree is proud to present TPJ Customs of Lodi California.
TPJ specializes in designing in and building unique, highly refined V-Twin customs, some of the leanest, cleanest around.
We dare you to find an ounce of fat in a TPJ machine! Take a look and see if you don’t agree!
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45dgree has published it’s first book on motorcycles – and Kraus Motor Company is the company I’ve decided to roll out with first.
Please take a look at this book, it is the first in what will be a ongoing series featuring the best the V-Twin industry has to offer.
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Abandoned America_2 is out and it is sure to strike joy into the hearts of those who enjoy abandonment & dereliction.
You can get it here on Blurb and as with all of the Abandoned America Series, I wil only print 100 of them and then – they are gone!
I will be happy to sign your edition at no charge and will arrange that with you through email, post purchase.
Thanks for the support folks!
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I have compiled my first images from my Psych Hospital visits (ha!) into a Blurb offering.
Where We Worked: State Psychiatric Hospital
Bless the internet and it’s myriad of creative support service Companies like Blurb that allow artists to self publish.
i hope you enjoy this first, limited edition picture book.
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