44 episodes

New business is one of those subjects guaranteed to get a reaction from agency owners everywhere. Many will have a nagging feeling they should be doing a bit more, wonder how other agencies manage to land the accounts they covet, have moments of wild inspiration and energy then falter because the day job just, well gets in the way.

Gunpowder’s Lucy Mann has worked in agency new business for over 25 years and has witnessed these scenarios, and many more like them, as an outsourced new business telemarketer, a new business recruitment consultant, in house new business developer, in house head of marketing, and new business mentor across multiple disciplines and agency shapes and sizes.

Regardless of size and discipline, many agencies encounter the same new business challenges, and more and more, the solution is not necessarily an ambitious marketing plan, or expensive sales resource, but instead a forensic application of process and a marginal gains approach to performance improvement.

Gunpowder’s podcast, Small Spark Theory® explores the small changes we can make to our sales and marketing process to achieve better new business results. With contributions from a range of experts, each episode will examine a single element of the process in detail, providing manageable tips for improvement.



Find our more about Gunpowder Consulting, please visit gunpowderconsulting.com

Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation at #smallsparktheory

Music from Jukedeck - create your own at http://jukedeck.com.

Host - Lucy Mann

Producer - Isabelle Jarvis

Editor - Clair Urbahn

Small Spark Theory: a marginal gains approach to new business and marketing Lucy Mann

    • Business
    • 5.0, 64 Ratings

New business is one of those subjects guaranteed to get a reaction from agency owners everywhere. Many will have a nagging feeling they should be doing a bit more, wonder how other agencies manage to land the accounts they covet, have moments of wild inspiration and energy then falter because the day job just, well gets in the way.

Gunpowder’s Lucy Mann has worked in agency new business for over 25 years and has witnessed these scenarios, and many more like them, as an outsourced new business telemarketer, a new business recruitment consultant, in house new business developer, in house head of marketing, and new business mentor across multiple disciplines and agency shapes and sizes.

Regardless of size and discipline, many agencies encounter the same new business challenges, and more and more, the solution is not necessarily an ambitious marketing plan, or expensive sales resource, but instead a forensic application of process and a marginal gains approach to performance improvement.

Gunpowder’s podcast, Small Spark Theory® explores the small changes we can make to our sales and marketing process to achieve better new business results. With contributions from a range of experts, each episode will examine a single element of the process in detail, providing manageable tips for improvement.



Find our more about Gunpowder Consulting, please visit gunpowderconsulting.com

Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation at #smallsparktheory

Music from Jukedeck - create your own at http://jukedeck.com.

Host - Lucy Mann

Producer - Isabelle Jarvis

Editor - Clair Urbahn

    EP43: Business planning for agencies | Deepa Shah | Lab Eight

    EP43: Business planning for agencies | Deepa Shah | Lab Eight

    One of the biggest challenges we face for the remainder of 2020 and beyond is undoubtedly our ability (or inability) to plan ahead.















    Almost daily, we are bombarded in the news by a roll call of redundancies, rumours of regional lockdown, interspersed with “is it a V, U, W or ‘swoosh’?” predictions for our economic recovery. 















    The end of furlough, Brexit (oh yes), and the prospect of a Covid resurgence over the winter all paint a picture where the only real certainty is uncertainty. And yet, if we are to survive and thrive, plan we must. 















    So where to start?















    This is the question I put to my guest, founder of Lab Eight, Deepa Shah.















    Deepa is a vastly experienced, multi-award winning agency CFO and a fresh new voice on the agency growth advisory circuit having launched Lab Eight in April this year, exactly as the pandemic struck. 















    Deepa shares her advice for where we should be focusing now, and how to plan ahead. 















    It’s worth noting good proportion of the guests on this podcast are people I have known and worked with for many years throughout my career. They are the experts I have turned to for advice again and again, who can be relied upon for their deep knowledge of a specialist subject.  















    Then there are those who have been recommended to me and others (mostly authors) who I have simply stalked until I could persuade them to join me. 















    Deepa is someone who first appeared on my LinkedIn radar at the beginning of the year and quickly became a regular fixture in my feed, adding a constructive and positive commentary to the most interesting of threads. Aside from her insights on her specialist subject – Deepa’s use of her network and LinkedIn as a platform has been a masterclass in how to launch a consultancy. But perhaps that’s an episode for another day. 















    In the meantime listen in and find out how to win a copy of Deepa’s recommended read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

    • 27 min
    EP42: Design industry outlook | Deborah Dawton | Design Business Association

    EP42: Design industry outlook | Deborah Dawton | Design Business Association

    Regular listeners will have noticed a slight change to our usual programming. A global pandemic has shifted our focus from the very specific, detailed insights intended solely to improve new business performance, to include a more contextual viewpoint. Of course, context has always been important to new business, but with so much change and uncertainty around us, it now seems imperative to broaden our discussion. 















    From the very beginning of this crisis I was blown away by the speed with which the Design Business Association team leapt into action to provide a virtual space for discussion, advice and community support. On any given week, agencies (members and non-members alike) could access free webinars to understand the implications of the evolving crisis and tap into expert advice to help navigate a way forward. 















    So here we some 4 months on. What have we learnt? And what is the outlook for the design industry? I managed to wrangle some time with Design Business Association Chief Executive Deborah Dawton to find out.















    You can find out more about DBA membership here and access the ‘Ask an Expert’ scheme here. 

    • 34 min
    EP41: Positioning v proposition | Robin Bonn | Co:definery

    EP41: Positioning v proposition | Robin Bonn | Co:definery

    There aren’t enough podcasting hours to do justice to the agency positioning and proposition debate. We’ve explored this before in episode 13 with David C. Baker and then again in episode 36 with master of the agency messaging, Roland Gurney. 















    But with entire industry sectors in crisis and an uncertain economy ahead it has never been more important for agencies to clearly define and signpost their expertise.  So buckle up, we’re going in again!















    In this episode we talk to Robin Bonn from Co:definery to get the lowdown on why positioning is dead but proposition is king and the perils of a pivot. Listen in to find out how to win a copy of Robin’s recommended read: Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt















    You can read Robin’s latest musings here and follow his Marketing Week column here.

    • 41 min
    EP40: Agency leadership | Sally Henderson

    EP40: Agency leadership | Sally Henderson

    Across the world, leadership is under scrutiny.  















    Citizens are looking to their politicians, employees are looking to their employers. Amid continued uncertainly, everyone needs direction and reassurance. 















    So what does good leadership look like? Does it change in a crisis? And how can agency leaders look after their teams, and their own wellbeing, as we move from the challenges of lockdown to this next phase of the pandemic?















    In this episode we explore these questions and more with Executive Change Mentor Sally Henderson.















    Sally has worked with leadership teams at some of the most influential agencies and brands across the world. She joins us to share her top tips for leading with clarity, confidence and authenticity. 















    As always we’ll be giving away a copy of Sally’s recommended read: Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, also mentioned in this episode is Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. 















    You can find details of Fearless Fuel, Sally’s peer-to-peer leadership round-tables here. 

    • 34 min
    EP39: Maximising cash | Michelle Cook

    EP39: Maximising cash | Michelle Cook

    Over the past six weeks I’ve been speaking to lots of agency leaders. Those one-on-one conversations have highlighted to me, just how many variables there are determining how agencies are able to weather this extraordinary storm. 















    Aside from agency size and structure, services, client sector focus, and the deeply personal experiences of managing pipeline, clients and teams whilst either squashed together with, or isolating without family, there is the issue of cash. 















    In almost every case it is the agency’s cash position going into this crisis that determines how able they will be to emerge. Cash provides time. Time to think, to adapt, to respond. 















    So as we move into this next phase, and negotiate anew with clients and prospects, how can we maximise our cash? How do we make sure we still get paid for our ideas and solutions?















    In this episode, I talk to Independent Financial Director and cash flow specialist Michelle Cook. We learn how Michelle has harnessed Just-In-Time methodology used in manufacturing to revolutionise cash management and her top tips for invoicing, negotiating terms and avoiding payment delays. 















    This is another perfect example of how small changes in our processes can deliver marginal gains. 















    We’ll be giving away a copy of Michelle’s recommended read The Innovation Book: How to Manage Ideas and Execution for Outstanding Results by Max Mckweown. Listen in to find out how to win. 















    You can find Michelle on LinkedIn here. And if you want to discuss a new business challenge, you can book into my diary here.  

    • 50 min
    EP38: The first new business hire | Dave Corlett

    EP38: The first new business hire | Dave Corlett

    I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about small agencies. Typically, those with headcount up to 10/12 and/or annual revenues under £1m.















    It’s worth pointing out that this band of agencies makes up an increasing large proportion of the UK landscape. But regardless of their specialism, at this size, effective new business resourcing is a common challenge. Whether the goal is steady growth or revenue maintenance, often the numbers simply don’t warrant a dedicated new business recruit and good external lead generation resource can be out of reach.















    It was this thinking that prompted the launch of the New Business and Marketing Bootcamp – designed specifically to provide leaders and founders of this type of agency with the tools to create effective new business and marketing plans and take control of the process.















    But what about when you break through that threshold and are ready to hire your first in-house new business talent? Our industry is littered with war stories of new business hires that that were at best ineffective and at worst, damaging to the agency brand. And for new business folk, there can be wildly unrealistic expectations to manage.















    So how to get the balance right? For this episode I chatted to Dave Corlett from Workbrands. Having spent 12 years in new business development roles, Dave shares his insights on making new business roles stick, the importance of collaboration, communication and how to stay competitive.















    If you are running an agency and considering your first new business hire or starting out on your new business career – this is the episode for you!















    Listen in to find out how to win a copy of Dave’s recommended read: Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age.















    Details of the New Business & Marketing Bootcamp can be found at www.smallsparktheory.com 

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
64 Ratings

64 Ratings

Sir Grillington ,

Plenty of learnings

There are so many podcasts competing for our time, but this one is always so full of learnings

gjgsfjfh on cdjshfs ,

Really helpful, simple insights.

Listening back through the episodes this podcast appears to offer really practicable solutions for every problem I’ve encountered, at every agency I’ve ever worked. Great stuff.

AlexSibille ,

I recommend it to everyone

The best education that exists for an agency Business Development Director

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