New business dev is bloody hard work

New business dev. is bloody hard work

To grow a design practice, it’s obvious that you need a constant supply of work either from existing clients or new clients. We know that 80% of your growth will come from existing clients. And we know that many agencies have clients scattered across a range of industry sectors.

So how do you develop new business from existing clients.

Our Design Maturity Report shows that the huge growth for design agencies is in selecting a few clients and concentrating on getting deeper into each business.

The start point is to identify a narrow target market. Three sectors (eg. education, hospitality, health) is ideal. The wider you make your market the more difficult it is to identify specific triggers that motivate clients to use your services.

Analyse each client (eg University of Technology Sydney, The Grace Hotel, Teachers Health) in the sectors and then describe your ideal prospects in this target market. Your ideal prospect is one who absolutely should buy your product or service. It’s just perfect for them (eg. Head of Marketing for an Annual Report design service). They have the need, they have the money, they have more buy-in than any other stakeholders. You need to define who they are and where they are – the more detail the better.

In our Design Maturity Report we identified 10 activities that occur in every business and we looked at how well design is currently used in each activity. This approach allows you to identify at least 10 key contacts in each business.

Define the triggers for those contacts.  These are the events that prompt the client to say, “I think we need help here”.

The logical triggers that you can respond to (“I need an annual report before the AGM”) should be easy for you to document.

But to get beyond the obvious triggers you need to understand what their job is and their practical and emotional pains. This can be done with jobs-to-be-done analysis and empathy mapping.

These two activities will give you a design value proposition that will make your pitch far more targeted.

Let’s look at an example.

Teachers Health

Let’s assume that you have done a small amount of work for them in the past.

I would build on that by looking at their website.

We quickly understand who they are, who their clients are and what services they offer.

We identify the key players and the areas where design can be used to aid communication and develop good customer experience. In just a quick browse I identified 25 areas that design services could be sold into this organisation.

By looking at the LinkedIn profiles of the key players we get a basic understanding of each person. We find their head office through LinkedIn and also look at the type of environment the key people work in and also the health centres in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Because most of us know a teacher we can ask them to give feedback on the way that Teachers Health projects itself in their market.

From all of this we develop an empathy map and a design value proposition for each activity in the organisation.

This give us the start for a new business development plan for just one organisation.

To aid in this type of planning we have developed the Design Maturity Report to show how to analyse the existing and potential use of design in a client organisation.

We will be launching the Design Maturity Report in each city. Contact me if you would like to be put on the invite list.

Want more?

If you would like to gain from my experience hit me up for a coffee and we can chat.

Got a question?

Want to share your point of view? Please feel free to email me.

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Greg Branson

Contact Greg Branson if you would like to learn more about the many programs the DBC offers.

Greg’s passion is the research and development of methods that improve design management and the role of design in business.

Greg has developed The Design Business School to help owners manage their business better along with showing designers how to get more involved in the studio and develop their career path. Contact Greg.

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