Ad Agency New Business: Cold Calls are Dead…but Warm Calls are King


As automated inbound efforts gain popularity, some new business experts say that outbound calls are unnecessary. Beware of the snake oil salesmen. Having been on the front lines of many successful programs, we can tell you that this mindset is completely WRONG!

Although a strong inbound effort is an important element in any comprehensive program, removing the personal outbound component is a big mistake. Why? Because it requires your agency to have all of the following going for it.

  • A strong and defendable position based on a clear point of differentiation

  • A system for creating a steady stream of effective content to support that position

  • A resource (or automation system) to push that content appropriately to all inbound channels, noting a unique approach for each platform

  • The ability to maintain the above in an ongoing manner

  • And, most importantly, a recognition and awareness among your prospects

The reality is that most small to mid-size firms struggle with many of these requirements. So, how do you support your burgeoning inbound program and position it for long-term success? We believe that you should subscribe to the following proven formula, the details of which we will explore in subsequent posts.

  • Create a top prospect list where your niche (industry or service) story is the strongest.

  • Research and personally uncover the key decision makers within each of those organizations. Build a targeted and comprehensive list that includes all of their vital statistics (purchased lists are expensive and notoriously fraught with misinformation).

  • Make a formal introduction with a well-constructed direct marketing piece.

  • Place a timely personal call following the receipt of that material, introducing the agency and conveying a professional interest in connecting personally.

  • Continue to build awareness with a combination of inbound and outbound tactics via multiple, scheduled touch points until penetration is achieved.

Having successfully conducted these programs for many years, the results are clear. Well-placed outbound activity (supported by a strong inbound effort) always opens the door to opportunity.

Don’t get sidetracked by the latest quick fix. Conducting an effective business development program is not an automated function. It’s personal. Build your inbound program to bolster a multi-pronged effort. This industry was built on personal relationships and creating those connections is still where the real accounts are won.