Below are the Top 5 Winning Features of advertising agencies that consistently won new business. The study was done a few years ago by Peter Rogen, but the ideas are as valuable today as they were then. There are more features in the book, but these top five will give you an idea of whether your leadership has got what it takes.  This is a condensed version from The Pitch Doctor, by Neil Flett of RogenSi:

1. Successful organisations had a leader with a clear vision of what the company could become in three to four years. The study showed that this vision could be so strong that the leader could picture the company at that time, its people, its positioning, its products and its profitability.

2. The leader had an extremely strong level of intention – a desire to get there and a sense of urgency to make it happen sooner rather than later.  This is a classic leader feature and definitely crucial, but in isolation is not enough…

3. The study showed that an effective leader built a team of three to four people who shared the vision and had the same high set of values. Not only did these people share these values, but the expounded them persuasively to the rest of the team.

4. The team’s first priority was always the standard of present work for clients. This is a valuable insight for anyone getting on a roll. Not only does most new business flow from existing clients in one way or another, but the client base must be strong and solid to enable the diverting of team effort to new business.

5. A new business plan was then formulated which had:
a) A philosophy;
b) Goals;
c) Honest acceptance of strengths and weaknesses;
d) Criteria for prospective clients;
e) Key prospects;
f) Key people assigned to key prospects. By allocating team members to ‘tag’ prospects, organisations were ready when a pitch occurred. There was at least one key person in the team already familiar with the prospect’s business, problems and opportunities. It was not a last minute rush to research the business in a week; and
g) Resources were allocated.

The list goes on, but it would be prudent for SME’s to keep these strategies in mind as they look to grow their companies. Again, it places an emphasis on current clients for business, knowing how hard it is to generate new business.