Business Development is Everyone’s Business

For business developers there has never been a better time to instil a culture of business development across the agency. “Getting in front of a new CMO is almost impossible now due to the current situation therefore you need to nurture relationships across the agency, not just one new business person.” Said Camilla Harrison, CEO, Anomaly.

This theme was reiterated throughout the day including by former BD100 winner Helen Lee, Wunderman Thompson who suggested agencies go further, “We talk broadly about growth and building a growth mindset across the organisation. That includes the growth of people not just our clients or our own bottom line. When you make that shift growth in genera becomes everyone’s responsibility.”

While for many it has always been the ambition for business development to be a part of everyone’s to do list it is often easier said than done. Rose Bentley, Propeller Group pointed out that is often because of perceived barriers. Account teams will say their clients like it that they don’t sell to them, as an excuse. Its therefore a business developer’s job to show them that it’s not about selling but solving problems. Her top tip to get the rest of an agency on board with new business was to, ”find yourself someone to become an ambassador and get them to sell the approach to the rest of the agency.” 


For all agency business developers there is a close relationship with marketing and for many it’s just another hat they wear within their organisation. There was therefore a lot of discussion about how marketing tools and techniques have evolved with a focus on high calibre thought leadership and the relationship between inbound and outbound marketing. 

Cheryl Calverley, CEO eve sleep spoke passionately about the marketing industry and revealed that she reads a lot of industry content but warned that it needs to be as much about the placement and context as it is about the content itself.  When asked what content she would like agencies to produce she said, “I’d love to hear how agencies are embracing different operating models. I think many are a bit scared to approach this, but I believe there has to be different options beyond in-house and outsourcing”.

Stephanie Bell, Avon agreed that thought leadership that challenges or provokes was a good way to attract her interest, but warned, “I don’t want two-minute reads that repeat what everyone else is saying.”

Martina Lacey, Head of New Business & Marketing at iCrossing said that they have had good success making commentary where they can have a real opinion. And many of our the 2020 BD100 proved that tweaks to their marketing this year have paid off. Siji Onabanjo said Cyber-Duck have adapted to produce more content and replaced in person events with webinars. But said that the follow up from webinars was even more important that with face-to-face events. 

Lauren Futter, Partner Acquisition Specialist at HubSpot agreed a content marketing approach is useful to generate new business but warned, “There is no need to create more top tips content. However, great thought leadership that speaks to a very few of your top targets is really powerful. Then with outbound you need to identify who those targets are, many of which may never have heard of you before. I’m an advocate of both inbound and outbound marketing, one feeding the other”

In order to make the most of a content led approach, it was universally agreed that agencies needed to invest in technology, tools or resource to ensure it go into the right hands at the right time and the conversation was sustained. 

Andrew Nicholson, CEO and Founder of marketing automation platform, Kulea said, “It’s hard to get your voice heard in the noise. You should complement your inbound strategy with strong outbound content. Don’t wait for people to come to you, use your data to push your message out and put your content in the hands of the people that need it”. He suggested agencies are well placed to do this as they’ve always been about adding value and building long term sustainable relationships rather just sales However, he warned that, “when a pitch comes in everything has to drop so we have seen a lot of outsourcing which can bring consistency”

Winning Together also celebrated the best in the business of business development, featuring The BD100. Click here to find out who won.

If you are looking for help bringing together and managing tools, content and new business, then you are in luck! Propeller has just launched a new content and marketing focused offer – contact us now to find out more.