This past month, I made my first trip to Australia since being given oversight responsibility for the region.
Our Sydney office and our colleagues there really impressed me. They would certainly give us in Canada a run for our money in terms of their creativity and professionalism. One afternoon, Sue Cook, managing director (CEO) of our Australian operation, arranged for me to see four case studies delivered by four of the most impressive and enthusiastic young consultants I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Their ability to deliver a message crisply, with effective use of graphics, was as good as I’ve ever seen. Given a chance, these young people could win over any client.
Like Canada, Australia has had its challenges this year. Clients are parsimonious with their budgets and RFPs—until recently—have been few and far between. Those of us who have been in the business for some time know this means a need to focus on creating opportunities so that the next generation can pitch their creative talents. We all have to get back to our roots and search for new business opportunities.
In Canada, we are very fortunate to have grown to the point where we have a strong “corporate development’ team under Selena Cameron to help us promote ourselves. As an example, we recently held a breakfast for clients with Philip Crawley, publisher of The Globe and Mail that provided unique insights on the state of the media landscape in Canada. The team also recently completely re-designed our website this year and have helped many of us find opportunities to promote ourselves via traditional and new media.
But obviously we can’t wait for Selena and the Corporate Development team to do it all. That’s why, under Goldy Hyder’s leadership, we launched a Tiger Team to chase down new business sales. Thanks to the Tiger Team and many key individuals across the country, we’ve pitched and won many new clients. Creating these types of new business opportunities is critical during a time when the transom business is slow. These opportunities are generated when consultants identify a problem and sell a solution to the company involved. It requires some thought, effort, and ingenuity, but there’s nothing sweeter than bringing in a client that wouldn’t have existed were it not for your own personal efforts.
Returning to our roots also means we must follow through on leads we generate. There’s no point in investing money and energy in marketing unless we relentlessly hound our prospects into giving us an opportunity to show what we can do. One of my very best friends and a successful global president once told me that his idea of good marketing was to badger a prospect for so long that they’d agree to give him business just so he’d stop calling. That may be a little over the top, but you get the spirit of the attitude we have to create in both our countries.
No matter where you work, the basics of our business are the same: get out of your office and be a new business player!