Among responding agencies, 61 percent reported that they had a proactive new business plan in effect. This is a dramatic increase from only 39 percent in the 2011 Annual Agency Survey.
"It's gratifying to see smaller and midsized agencies more proactively planning their new business efforts," said Laurie Mikes, COO of Second Wind, a business consulting firm in Wyomissing. "In the past, too many agencies ignored their own new business efforts until compelled to hunt for accounts, usually because of a larger client's sudden departure. Today, agencies must conduct regular, targeted new business efforts year-round to ensure a steady flow of new opportunities, and never be caught without options when they lose an account or end a client relationship."
The top three methods of identifying new business prospects were referrals at 96 percent, more business from current client at 89 percent and "KOEP" (keeping our eyes peeled) at 71 percent. Other noted methods included agency websites at 68 percent; cold calls were at 41 percent, with persistent, 365-days-a-year pursuit at 31 percent and direct mail at 26 percent.
According to respondents, approximately 16 new business pitches were made resulting in an average of six new projects and/or accounts. This is down slightly from prior years. However, agencies saw their biggest growth in acquiring new business from existing clients.
Few agencies set annual budgets for new business pitches, which is consistent with last year's survey. The average budget was $24,571 per year. Respondents were also asked if their agency responds to RFPs; 84 percent said they do.