Sponge New Business - www.spongenb.com - 01708 451311 - hello@spongenb.com - 161A High Street, Hornchurch, Essex, RM11 3XS - Sitemap
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Running a new business agency is a big bundle of highs and lows, work and results, frustration and resolution. I’m in the room now with a small but effective team – we’ve just hired a new guy that we’re really excited about. He seems like our sort of person and that’s important – enthusiasm is a part of what we do. My enthusiasm for what I do hasn’t ever wavered. There’s a small problem though: when I meet people that my parents have told about Sponge NB, they never understand it. I think one person that Mum and Dad described Sponge NB to in the last 5 years has understood what Sponge NB does without a lengthy explanation. This is my attempt to explain it.

Okay, our office is full of phones, computers, marketing books and magazines. If you walked in now, you’d see the Account Managers making calls and me typing on my Samsung laptop. Same as any office.

We work for marketing companies mainly. They hire us to find new clients for them (that could be someone small like a local pet shop or someone big, like Tesco). Our part in that is to phone those companies that may need their services (services including advertising, design, online, PR, sales promotion, events or any other marketing discipline). We find these companies through research – something we do a lot and are very good at. When we phone these companies, we call in the guise of our clients. If I’m calling for a client called Monkey Marketing (fictional company…), then I introduce myself as Steve from Monkey Marketing. Making sense so far?

So, the aim of the call we make is to identify an opportunity for our client – not easy. Then we have to try to arrange for our client to pitch to them, either in an existing pitch, where they’ll be responding to a brief, or perhaps to something more project-based, maybe where we’ve created an opportunity from scratch. There a lots of people out there who are easy to book meetings with. There was a chap at the DTI called Rupert Marsh. He looked after Online Marketing stuff there. He was always (I don’t know about now, I haven’t called him since I worked for nb ltd) very easy to book if you were calling from a web agency. The meetings always seemed good too, but he never once gave any of my clients any business. These people are best avoided – this means missing out on booking loads of meetings. Our company prefers to go for the good leads exclusively. This means we make fewer calls, so we have time to do our research. It means fewer meetings per month for our clients, because we don’t want to book easy ones. It’s a tough brief and one that’s hard work to sustain. Tough months are very tough, but of course the good months are fabulous. Our clients pay us a retainer of around £2083 a month for a proportion of an Account Manager, plus me backing up their activity. They get a huge database of companies and contacts and they get the benefit of our research as well as the business wins that result from all this. When they win business, they pay us a commission, based on the Gross Profit from that business. Sponge NB pays this commission to the staff. It makes them focus on finding business wins.

To get this done, we need more than phone calls. Here are some things we do for our clients:

- Research

- Investigative calling

- Assessment of their marketing materials

- Management of their Twitter output (optional extra)

- Database generation and cleaning

- Multi-stage email campaigns with follow-up phone calls

- New Business training

- Affiliate introductory service (some of our clients end up partnering to provide a wider breadth or services

- Other things which escape me right now

So that’s it, I think. That said, the “comments” bit below is a handy place to ask any questions, so if you’re an agency, a competitor or just my Mum, feel free.

What’s a new business agency, Mum?

Below is a post from our blog that we felt would help to sum up the way we do this. Please have a look at our blog, or if you’re feeling friendly, subscribe to the RSS feed here. This one’s from 2009.