At Sotogro we apply the numbers to keep each of our clients on track. Our averages – or ‘gauges’ – are, for example, six introductions to one meeting. Two meetings to one tangible opportunity for business. What makes us unique, however, is the work we do post-meeting to help our teams drive client acquisition.
As we continue to work with each of our clients, we start to get a real sense of how each client is progressing in relation to the conversion of the opportunities we develop for them. Almost every new agency we meet tells us that they can convert upwards of one in three of the pitches they get. Bravado, reality?
What’s for sure is that when we apply the Sotogro process and track it, this conversion rate will be tested in real time. Our experience over the years has provided us with an average ‘opportunity to conversion ratio’ of five to one, and we use this as our guide. If an agency is able to acquire one in five of the opportunities that we bring to the table, then our relationship will be a resounding success. If they can do better and we’ve had clients who achieve four to one or even three to one, the agency will go through the roof!
From experience we understand that the number of new clients an agency needs to win depends on circumstance. For example, a big agency can grow substantially by acquiring two new clients in a year, if the rest of the agency remains stable. Agencies in less traditional spaces need a continual flow of new projects to keep them level.
One thing is certain however, every agency will at some point lose the client they have now, so the ability to acquire new clients is of paramount importance.
In looking at the clients where we achieved marked success in relation to client acquisition, distinct patterns emerged. These were a unified drive towards new business by the team and importantly, an ability for us to work as an extension of that team in driving all of the relationships we developed beyond the first meeting. Helping our clients to keep ‘all of the plates spinning’ and playing an integral role in the management of this aspect of the process emerged, as a result.
We call this aspect of our efforts ‘the tracker’ and it’s a fundamental part of the work we do. The value of this is apparent when you look at specific new clients, where the lead-time, from first meet to win, was up to two years.
Tracking each relationship towards a tangible opportunity, then working with our teams to provide an objective sounding board to increase the chances of conversion, is a fundamental piece of the business development puzzle. A space that we are uniquely positioned to fill.