Agency Management Series: How one PR firm has created sector specific content to create its own sales funnel
19th February 2018
One of the things about agency life that I think is consistently undervalued and overlooked is ensuring that everyone, from account executives up, truly understand the sales funnel.
Specifically, it never ceases to amaze me just how few folk working agency side can actually put a finger on how, and why, leads are generated – prior to proposal or pitch. And that always struck me as a bit odd. Since, if the team doesn’t have a grasp on this, how can lead generation ever be leveraged? How can you be accountable to any speculative fee income sales target? How can the team ever deliver this growth?
I suspect that much of this head-in-sand mindset comes from a belief, in PR, that “sales” is a dirty word. That one is smart, strategic positioning and all that good stuff, while the other is just bashing the phones and hitting targets.
The reality of course, couldn’t be further from the truth. Sales and new business is critical – it’s the lifeblood of agencies – and the way it is handled will ultimately determine the success of a business.
For us at Tamarindo, we’ve always felt that understanding our target market – through drilling down into a sector specialty – is objective number one. However, this is rapidly followed by creating a solid, quality sales funnel by building trust with our target audience and buyer persona. We have achieved this through the establishment of a wider, like-minded community that offers clear, no-strings benefits, prior to any further “sell”.
It’s an approach we started exploring when we first opened our doors for business five years back, and it’s a strategy that we continue to deliver against to this day. Specifically, what we’ve created, in the process of building that early-stage trust, is an entirely independent, profitable, six-figure recurring revenue membership/subscription business – we call it www.awordaboutwind.com.
It is this entirely independent business that acts as our eyes and ears for market intelligence, whilst at the same time showcasing everything that we, as a group, excel at.
That showcasing includes brand building and positioning, powerful written and spoken work, conference and networking events management and delivery, report draft, development and production, inbound content marketing tactical and strategic execution, the establishment of a paying membership management platform and much, much more.
Increasingly, we’re also using this editorially independent platform – which has a dedicated editorial and analysis team, and sits within The Tamarindo Group – alongside the PR advisory, as a training tool. Using it in this manner enables us, as a team, to rapidly onboard new joiners in understanding the intricacies of the sector within which we work, as well as schooling them first hand in the workings of the media.
In structuring the group in this way – with a paying membership on the one side and with a specialist PR advisory on the other – we’ve not only taken control of our lead generation, we’ve simplified the pitch process, driven up our value in the eyes of a prospect and reduced the volume of competitive RFP’s to which we respond.
Our system is by no means perfect, but we do think it is an important structural shift that breaks the traditional agency mould and helps us to set ourselves apart in a crowded market.
Written by Adam Barber, managing director of The Tamarindo Group