Finding hunters is the biggest business issue for agencies

What’s the biggest challenge facing digital agencies?

The current challenge is finding good hunters according to the business owners I interviewed recently.

It’s about finding and getting new business. Or as one agency head put it: “The challenge is getting a foot in the door that’s not even open. We can’t find the right people to do that.“ It’s incredibly difficult to find people that can actually sell digital services to major corporates or government.David Jackson, S2m

Recruitment agency S2M Co-founder & CEO David Jackson, agrees: “More than ever agencies are looking to hire pure hunters.”

There is still a role for account managers or farmers who are given a portfolio of clients to maintain, and to cross sell and upsell. Hunters or BDMs identify new business opportunities, cold call, organise visits to potential clients and establish relationships. The emphasis is on actively growing revenue, rather than relying on order takers waiting by the phone for the client to ring.

So where do you hunt for hunters?

David Jackson says it’s difficult to find them, but is looking for them in different places. “We are placing numerous hungers in agencies at the moment. Typically they are coming out of the publishers. Media sales people are used to chasing the dollar, and are generally creative and hungry.”

Technology makes the process easier to find sales/BDMs particularly using LinkedIn. I’ve just noticed jobs being listed on Gumtree which personally is a scatter gun and haphazard approach.

The best BDMs are not the big brash old sales school personalities of old. They avoid the bullshit speak. Generally they are softly spoken, intelligent and articulate who get on with the job at hand. David elaborates: “The best hunters are used to dealing at C level. They identify with a particular industry say financial services, and know everything about that sector. They can sell cross platform or bundle offers into that market. They are not the big brash old style sales people anymore.”

In my dealings with smaller agencies it’s often the CEO or senior manager responsible for new business development, but they are overloaded with operational responsibilities, and hence the need to hire specialists. An agency needs to get to a certain size of revenue or staffing before a BDM becomes viable.

Who is responsible for bringing in new business in your agency or digital services business?

About Claudia Sagripanti

Involved in the evolution of mobile marketing and advertising from the early years, including co-founding Mobile Marketing and Advertising Awards, founding chair of AIMIA's Mobile Industry Group, development of mobile advertising guidelines for industry as well as commercialisation strategy.