There are two business categories related to agency work that I’m beginning to feel like are a dime a dozen, lead generation companies and digital delivery companies. They’re becoming a great example for agencies, not to follow!
At A3 Media, my staff and I are always in search of the next great vendor or system we need to utilize for our clients’ success. So, we vet several companies every week. In fact, my staff is tasked with staying current in our industry by taking continued higher education classes every quarter and using that knowledge to lead us to the next “big” thing!
But what is getting very hard to find is a lead generation company or a digital delivery company that isn’t making the same pitch while explaining how their “proprietary information” and systems are different than everyone else’s. I just had two such presentations this week.
Truth is, I’m starting to feel like a hamster on a wheel. Same sh*t, different day and zoom time! In these two areas it just seems like a gluttony of businesses are selling the exact same stuff.
Now I’m the first to applaud salesmanship and hustle. I admire both but not when it’s clearly schtick or the presenter hasn’t done a single minute of due diligence investigating my agency, our clients and what our needs may be.
A lead generation company recently presented and guaranteed me 10 leads within a month and a sale within 30 – 60 days or I get a portion of annual fee refunded. After they made their bold guarantee, the salesman finally thought to ask me what our typical sales cycle is to land a new client. My answer was 6 – 12 months! He abruptly ended the call, thanked me for my time and openly admitted he didn’t think he could help me. I would love to say this was a single instance, but I’ve struggled through twenty just like that. The reason? They never investigate who they are pitching, and they think everyone sells widgets!
Then a digital company presented. They had three digital tools, all three were national tools. Immediately when the call began, I explained we are a regional and mid-market media agency, we don’t do national clients because were not experts in national buying. He proceeds to speak to me for the next 15 minutes about their national capabilities. Eventually I had no choice but to ask him what his points of differentiation were that would make me want to hire them. Boy did he look like a deer in the headlights! Eventually I answered the question for him and said “nothing”!
Here’s my point. With fiercer and more competition flocking to these industries maybe one of the biggest points of differentiation and success might be if the presenter does five minutes of research before, they bother to contact potential companies. Because I doubt, I’m an isolated case. This laziness not to do their due diligence will not only sour real leads but eventually make them the modern day used car salesman. Sorry salesman!
With the advancement of AI, various software, dashboards, DSPs, SSPs and other automation tools, companies believe they have found the “Holy Grail” but what they need to remember is these tools are readily available to everyone.
What is missing is the personal connection. And agencies need to remember this lesson. It’s not a one size fits all for your clients either.
Specialize in areas that you excel in, do your due diligence for your clients, determine where your niche’ really is and hone your areas of expertise to truly be helpful to the right clients and not be a “jack of all trades”.
As the industry moves forward and becomes more automated, remember clients are your customers and your clients have their own customers, and nothing replaces common sense, hard work and due diligence!