Maximising revenue from small to medium-sized clients
Excerpt from 'How to Wrestle an Octopus: an agency account manager's guide to pretty much everything'. Available now!
Revenue generation can be a challenge for the account manager who has a smattering of small to medium-sized clients where the work is sporadic and unpredictable, and jobs you thought would come in may not eventuate.
When revenue flow is uncertain, you need to become more intentional about increasing the number of projects you work on, increasing revenue, and increasing the profitability of your accounts.
You need to come up with ways of selling to your clients without it looking like you are overtly ‘selling’. Here are some basics of ‘account management selling’:
- Keep your client up-to-date with the products and services you offer. Your client may only know your company for supplying one type of product or service. You need to keep reminding them of the range of services that your agency offers.
- Cross-selling. If your client wants you to print a brochure for them, suggest that you also do the design. If they would like to place a radio ad, offer to write the script and arrange the voice talent and recording (a.k.a. “would you like fries with that?”).
- Up-selling. If your client wants to print 500 brochures, offer to print 750 brochures for a mere $30 more. If you are arranging a product photoshoot for a couple of products, suggest your client has the whole product range photographed at the same time to maintain styling and lighting consistency (a.k.a, “would you like to upsize your combo?”).
- Be proactive. Suggest ways you can help your client that may result in sales for you and a win for them. Look for business or improvement opportunities for them; utilise new technologies or equipment; or show how they can achieve cost savings by changing the way they produce their projects.
- Add value. Make sure that whatever you do for your client adds value to their business, not just cost.
- Care. Demonstrate that you genuinely care about your client and their business.
- Become your client’s ideas person. By coming up with ideas that will help make your client money, you can create unexpected work for your agency.
- Get in front of your client. It’s far more likely that you will increase your sales if you spend quality, regular face-time with your client.
- Discover your client’s pain points. It’s only through dialogue that you will find out the needs and pains of your client. Ask pertinent questions to unearth information that will help you.
- Ask for referrals. If your client is happy with your work, they shouldn’t mind passing on the names of other friends/colleagues/business associates who may be able to use your services.
- Annual plan. Sit down with your client, once a year (or more) to plan out the activity for the coming year. You’ll get a good handle on the quantity of work that might come through (great for your budget forecasting); your client will see you’re proactive, and you will have a game plan that you can use with your client as the year progresses.
- Resurrect dormant clients. Create a strategy to contact former clients, showcasing work that you have done recently and how that may be of interest to them. Even a phone call asking them why they no longer use your agency’s services could be a kick-starter to renewing the relationship, or educational to find out why they stopped buying from you.
Project suggestions for existing clients to help increase your revenue:
- Website redesign.
- Creative ideas.
- Campaign ideas.
- SEO analysis on website.
- Infographic production (campaign analysis, social media metrics).
- Collateral audit.
- Social media management.
Remember that your agency offering is not one single service. Your offering is a culmination of services, products, your team, your experiences, your ideas, and your other clients. Showcase and sell them all!
When you are good at what you do, the service (or product) you offer is just the way people build the first link to you. It’s the top of a huge pyramid. But the base of the pyramid, the real service, is when your client has access to your team and their ideas, and when you can provide advice and the full power of your network.
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