Cheat Sheet

Winning New Business For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Winning New Business For Dummies

By Stewart Stuchbury

The world of winning new business never stands still; there are always new things to take on board. Consider digging deeper into the topics of data compliance, data quality, avoidance of the “no new business” approach, and qualification.

Knowing That Data Compliance Is Critical in Winning New Business

Data compliance is a critical business issue, especially in winning new business. Unlimited fines await those who flout the clear rules. There’s no excuse for not knowing or understanding the rules and certainly for not abiding by them.

Don’t assume that data sets that you receive from clients have already been through any form of compliance testing, because the burden of responsibility lies with you and no one else. If you have any doubt about compliance testing, you need to do it again and be able to provide an audit trail.

Compliance rules vary by country, and a good starting point for understanding what you need to do is to check out the Direct Marketing Association in the country in which you operate. The specific elements to check also vary by country, but a number of them are common: permission to contact by mail, email, and telephone are perhaps the most important. You need to check your data against frequently updated lists, usually on a monthly basis. It’s a good discipline to dedicate a CRM field to the date of checking along with an audit trail showing when it has been done and by whom, and when the results returned.

When purchasing data for use in campaigns, don’t assume that it has current or indeed any compliance testing. Again, the responsibility rests entirely with you as the data user.

Being Aware of Data Quality as You Win New Business

Data quality is one of the cornerstones of any new business campaign. Get this wrong — for example, with name or address errors or with inaccurate sector or demographic information that you use for data selection — and you put your entire new business campaign at risk.

In an ideal world, you already own the data, and when dealing with your own clients, you will. However, this is the exception and not the rule. Generally, any new business campaign uses masses of bought-in data at some stage, generally before the new business salespeople begin the qualifying work, and it’s essential that you check it for accuracy or you risk ruining your campaign and potentially your reputation in the market as well.

Only two really effective ways exist for testing the accuracy of information: an eyesight test and a random sample test:

  • The eyesight test involves just what it says, taking a cross sample of the data and checking it by looking at it against reference data that you know to be accurate. Check for simple things like the address being correct (doing this is simple with a quick online search) and the sector being correct (in your business, you likely know the key players and the key targets already). If your sample passes these tests, then move on to the random sample test.
  • The random sample involves contacting the companies using the given data and testing for accuracy. Anything less than 90 percent accuracy overall isn’t good enough, and you should push back on your data suppliers.

Also check your known contacts in client companies and suppliers, existing prospects, and the like for two things. First, are they present? And second, is the data accurate? When you’re confident in the quality of the data, you can move on to compliance testing before adding it to your CRM.

Avoiding the Words “We Don’t Do New Business”

The “we don’t do new business” stance is bull. You may be a single client agency that has grown up servicing the needs of one or a few key clients and be at capacity. What happens when a key person at your client leaves? What happens when he decides on a change? Every company should invest some effort into new business all the time, regardless of how busy you convince yourself you are.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, a famous London West End creative agency took the “we don’t do new business approach” and did brilliantly for some years. Where is it now? Taken over by a rival many years ago because the clients went away, the work dried up, and it had forgotten how do find new business. Many small and not-so-small businesses fail due to lack of new business. Don’t be one of them.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. Another way to drive new business is to invest in a winning new business program. Winning new business programs are worth their weight in gold and should never be considered an optional extra. Even when times are tough — in fact, especially when times are tough — continue to invest in new business programs because they are the best way to grow your business.

Qualifying New Business

How well do you qualify new business prospects before meeting with them and certainly before committing valuable resources to work on ideas for them? How do you handle qualification? What sort of criteria do you use?

Check out the minimum qualification you should perform:

  • You must be speaking to the decision maker or a key member of the decision-making unit. Discussing a sale at any other level is frankly a waste of time, because you need to be dealing with the people who have the need and will be making the decision.
  • There must be a real project to discuss — be wary of reviews or pitches — that needs special qualification. You need to qualify that the project being discussed is one that is actually going to happen and is on the priority list. Discussing vanity projects or projects that are simply not going to be signed off on wastes valuable time.
  • You must know the budget, and it must be within reasonable guideline figures that your company can cope with. The budget also needs a reality check to ensure that your prospect isn’t specifying a luxury car when he has the budget for a secondhand wreck.
  • You must know the timescale, and it must be within your company guidelines. Too close to the start point may be a sign of prospect panic at not being ready, and that should send out its own warning signs, whereas too far away risks wasting a lot of your time that could be better utilized on near-term projects.

If you can’t tick those four boxes and if the budget and timescale aren’t within the parameters you decide are right for you, then you don’t have a qualified opportunity. Keep talking to the prospect by all means, but don’t commit resources and don’t consider this deal a “banker.”