Business Technologies And Tools For Agency Growth

According to Mirren Business Development, and RSW/US’s respective databases of senior agency executives, “Salesforce” is the most often mentioned tool for agencies to support and grow their business. But many agencies want more from it in terms of customization or training.

To provide agency teams a roadmap for the coming cycles of new business, in terms of which tools to maintain and which to evaluate for the future, the report summarizes additional tools of significant interest to the agency respondents:

  • Social Media Tools continue to be relied upon to generate SEO, but agencies don’t agree on the best way to monitor the effectiveness of their social efforts
  • Email Marketing Services are also heavily relied upon, but as one agency principal noted, ‘the tool is only as good as the content you put into it’
  • Many agencies long for better Prospecting Resources in terms of more up-to-date information and granular details on leads
  • While many agencies rely on the Project Management Software used for client projects, many look for a tool that is more customized to the fast pace of the pitch process, and the limited resources of a small business development team, says the report

Usage Of Agency New Business Tools

Business Tools

2014

2013

Social Media Platforms

89%

87%

SEO Tools

74%

67%

Email Marketing Services

63%

55%

Research Services

58%

60%

CRM/Contact Management Software Platforms

56%

45%

Project Management/Collaboration Tools

54%

59%

Social Media Monitoring Tools

46%

53%

Prospect Contact/List Building Services

38%

43%

Marketing Automation/Inbound Marketing Platforms

18%

22%

Source: MIRREN & RSW/US, May 2014

 Certain categories from last year’s survey reported drops in research, project management, list building and inbound tools, with the largest drop (7%) in social media monitoring tools. The increases from last year are noteworthy as well: a slight uptick in social media tools, and larger increases in SEO (7%), email marketing (8%) and CRM tools (11%).

Employees In Responding Agencies Across All Locations

Employees

% of Respondents

0-25

35.5%

26-50

22.4%

51-99

14.5%

100-150

5.5%

150+

22.1%

Source: MIRREN & RSW/US, May 2014

The most senior agency role, CEO, COO or President, was the most likely to respond. Agency New Business leads were a close second. In 2014, saw an increase in Creative and Strategy lead participation, while Account Management stayed flat.

Survey Respondents

Respondent Category

% of Respondents

President/CEO/COO

44.0%

New Business Manager/Director/VP

37.1%

Account Manager/ Director/VP

9%

Strategy Manager/ Director/VP

6%

Creative Manager/ Director/VP

3.9%

Source: MIRREN & RSW/US, May 2014

Considering the most essential agency tools today, the study found that Salesforce was the hands-down winner in the top-tier. The other brands mentioned most often were LinkedIn and The List. In the second tier of most commonly mentioned essential brands, HubSpot is the next up-and-coming leader in this tier, followed by Mintel, Access Confidential and Basecamp.

When the respondents were asked to describe the ideal new business tool, or a major enhancement to a tool they were already using, the most common themes were:

  • More accurate prospect data 
  • Aggregation of new business information within agency
  • Better data about who’s visiting the agency website
  • A ‘match.com’ or ‘e-harmony’ service, for matching up clients and agencies

In terms of improving current services, three brands came up most often: Salesforce, LinkedIn and HubSpot. In the case of Salesforce, though it appears to have high penetration among agencies, many are frustrated with its lack of customization to agency parameters and fields. Salesforce is also mentioned as the most overrated new business tool. This may be due to the high expectations that agencies place on the ease of implementing this tool, says the report.

Nearly 90% of agencies use at least one social media tool for their new business efforts. This is similar to last year’s reported use, at 87%.

Social Media Platforms Currently Used (% of Respondents; Multiple Response OK)

Platform

% of Responses

LinkedIn

19.75%

Twitter

17.49%

Facebook

16.98%

YouTube

10.80%

Google+

8.13%

Instagram

6.07%

Pinterest

5.76%

Vimeo

5.66%

SlideShare

5.35%

Vine

2.67%

Quora

0.93%

XING

0.41%

Source: MIRREN & RSW/US, May 2014

Given the high awareness of Salesforce, it’s no surprise that CRM/Contact Management software use is higher at over 55%. This is a significant jump from 2013, when only 45% of respondents said they were using these types of tools.

Use CRM/Contact Management Software To Manage New Business Prospects?

  • Yes   55.56%
  • No    44.44%

In terms of the specific tools used, Salesforce dominates. However, the simplest form of CRM, Excel, closely follows it. Most other platforms such as ACT, Microsoft Dynamics and Goldmine are still trying to get a toehold in this market.

CRM/Contact Management Software Platforms In Use (Multiple Response OK; % of Responses)

Software

Contact Management Only

Full CRM Suite

Salesforce

40.00%

62.96%

Excel

26.15%

7.41%

ACT!

10.77%

7.41%

SugarCRM

7.69%

0.00%

Workamajig

7.69%

11.11%

Highrise

3.08%

0.00%

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

1.54%

3.70%

Goldmine

1.54%

0.00%

Daylite

1.54%

3.70%

Nutshell

0.00%

0.00%

Infusionsoft

0.00%

3.70%

Source: MIRREN & RSW/US, May 2014 

In terms of effectiveness, Social Media Tools are holding their own. Compared to other tools, Social Media Tools have a fairly positive reputation. Less than 5% see it as not at all effective, while more than 40% rate it at 6 or higher.

Effectiveness Of Social Media Tools At Helping Agency Drive New Business Efforts (1=Not at all Effective; 10=Very Effective) 

Effectiveness

% of Respondents

1 Not at all effective

2.99%

2

9.45%

3

20.90%

4

10.45%

5

18.41%

6

15.42%

7

15.92%

8

3.98%

9

1.49%

10 Very effective

1.00%

Source: MIRREN & RSW/US, May 2014

Concluding, the report notes that It is refreshing to see agencies embracing social to the same intensity as they recommend for their client’s brands. Social can be a very cost-effective investment in increasing an agency’s category awareness if the content is fresh and focused. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive, or on a daily basis. But it must be relevant to prospective clients, targeted by category. 

Please visit Mirren & RSW/US here to access the complete PDF file of the study.

 

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