Advertising Agency Call Preparation – 5 P’s of Poor Performance

How many times have you been in a sales presentation where the presenter had a very limited knowledge (or none at all) about your company’s core business and needs? After repeatedly seeing this situation occur when selecting a new service provider such as ad agencies and interactive design firms, I decided to write a blog how to prepare for an important visit with a potential prospect.

Remember the 5 P’s – Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

How do account executives at your advertising agency prepare for a sales call? Do they go into the meeting without preparing and ‘wing it’? Below is a list of three key items to review before visiting your prospective client.

1. Research, research, research!

Great, you have been working hard in the last few weeks and you’ve finally managed to schedule a meeting with your prospect next week. Now, it is time to spend a moment reading up on the company. What is their core business? Can you view their revenue model? What is their brand message? Is it B2B or B2C?

Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • Search the company website and read about their products and services.
  • Look at their competitors – what differentiates your prospect from their competitors?
  • Perform searches on the web and LinkedIn to find out more information on the prospective audience.
    • Who will participate in the meeting? Understand the buyer’s personas – marketing managers, operations, finance, etc.  Then, you will be better able to address their individual pain points during the presentation.
  • Proper preparation will build your account executive confidence and will make your team stand out from the competition. You can be assured that many of your direct competitors are not taking the time to do that.
  • Do you have any contacts within your own network who work at the prospect agency or can introduce you to the right contact there?
  • Do a quick search in your CRM system to see if your agency has a previous relationship with this potential client. Also, make sure you identify the contact name in the search, as the contact may have moved to another organization.

2. Planning your call

  • What are the main objectives of your call? What you want to accomplish during the call?
  • Create an agenda for your meeting to share with your stakeholders.
  • What is your value proposition?
  • Now that you have looked at your prospects’ competitors, it is time to understand what sets you apart. Why should your prospect consider you over a more well-known ad agency?
  • Qualify your prospect during the call. Can your agency solve their main challenges?
  • Make a list of things you need to find out about your prospect during the call. Then, you can be assured you have a real opportunity instead of continuing with a sales process that won’t bring in new business.
  • What roadblocks might you expect during the call? Make a list of potential roadblocks you may encounter and how you will overcome them.
  • ROI – can you measure what return on investment your ad campaign will bring to your client? Ok, so you are not developing a campaign, but a website, right? You still need to quantify the ROI for your prospect.

3. Communication

  • Ensure you have a communications plan in place – communication is key in building rapport with your prospect.
  • Have a list of success stories and testimonials in your back pocket in-case you are asked to provide them. I wouldn’t recommend using that ammunition, though, unless the conversation starts heading in that direction.
  • When you set up the call, send an email confirmation with an outline of the call objectives – it is important to set the expectations from the start.
  • Give your contact a call or send a brief reminder email confirming the call one or two days in advance of the meeting.
  • Do you need a computer or are you using your own laptop? Do you require an Internet connection? Any special adapters required for your MAC Book ( who doesn’t use one these days?).

You may be thinking there’s a lot of preparation required before a meeting! Keep in mind that you can adjust how much preparation time you need depending on the importance of the call.

A recent IDC study says that “only one out of six sales professionals were extremely prepared” for an initial meeting with a customer. Fifty-seven percent were either not or only somewhat prepared.  That being said, make sure the account executives in your ad agency are preparing ahead of time for sales calls.

Don’t forget the 5P’s in your agency: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!

See you next time.

– Leo

Leonardo Maia, fp. Director of Sales

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