89 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

With thanks to Matthew Syed for audio extract permission.
Host - Lucy Mann
Producer - Isabelle Jarvis

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

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 4 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

With thanks to Matthew Syed for audio extract permission.
Host - Lucy Mann
Producer - Isabelle Jarvis

    EP88: Beyond creativity - the commercial skills you need to succeed | Tim Perry

    EP88: Beyond creativity - the commercial skills you need to succeed | Tim Perry

    Early on in my agency career I often used to hear the expression 'great creative work will sell itself', and its close cousin 'do great work and the clients will come'. Of course we know that in reality, certainly for the majority, these things are rarely true, but I'm still surprised by the number of agencies I meet who continue to operate as though under this misapprehension, highly focused on the creative or technical output but lacking in broader commercial acumen or practice. 
    In this episode I talk to designer, agency leader and consultant Tim Perry about the most common commercial skills gaps he’s observed and how he’s tackling them through a range of bite-sized training courses designed especially for creatives.
    This feels like the perfect discussion to be having now. If ever there was a time to sharpen our networking, relationship-building and negotiation skills it is now!
    As always we’re giving away a copy of Tim’s recommended read: The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda - listen in to find out how to win. 
     

    • 24 min
    EP87: Why we need to stop 'doing' new business | Lucy Mann

    EP87: Why we need to stop 'doing' new business | Lucy Mann

    Over the recent months, I have observed how agencies have been experiencing the impact of economic uncertainty - including the stalling of client decision-making, frozen budgets, disappearing pipelines, and everything in between.
    In their recent BenchPress report, The Wow Company described last year as 'brutal' for agencies, and as 2024 adds more political uncertainty, there is no sign of any immediate relief.
    So, with this in mind, I wanted to share my thoughts on why 'new business' is such a problem for agencies and suggest some practical steps we can take to alleviate that ever-present feeling of needing to pull a proverbial rabbit out of a hat.
    There's no book recommendation this month; instead, I've compiled a short guide to help you reboot your new business pipeline in five simple steps.
    Download your free guide here.

    • 22 min
    EP86: In-house creative teams. An agency threat or opportunity? | Emma Sexton

    EP86: In-house creative teams. An agency threat or opportunity? | Emma Sexton

    Over recent episodes we’ve referenced many of the macro issues facing brands which have in turn slowed down or stalled new business opportunities for agencies. 
    But there’s an elephant in the room that we’ve yet to address; the growing trend of clients deciding to bring creative resource in-house. 
    In this episode I speak to designer, brand specialist, ex-agency owner and all-round magnificent entrepreneur Emma Sexton. Emma has long championed in-house creative teams having set up the Inside Out Awards over a decade ago. In 2021 this association blossomed into The Inside Out Community, a vibrant member community of in-house creative leaders. 
    Emma shares with us the latest statistics on the growth of in-house creative teams, both nationally and internationally and the key drivers behind this shift. We look at the role of AI and budgetary implications. Most importantly, we look at the opportunities for agencies in the face of a trend that isn’t going away any time soon.
    You can read more about these insights in the recently released report The Future of In-House of Creative Leadership.
    Our book giveaway this month is Emma’s recommendation: Madison Avenue Makeover : The transformation of Huge and the redefinition of the ad agency business. Listen in to find out how to win. 
    You can listen to Emma’s previous conversation with us about new agency models here.

    • 37 min
    EP85: Changing Perception | Steve Garside | TMW

    EP85: Changing Perception | Steve Garside | TMW

    EP85:  Changing perception | Steve Garside | TMW           
    Have you ever felt that your agency is pigeonholed by clients and prospects as being a specialist in just one thing, where in reality you have so much more to offer?
    Of course being seen as a specialist of any kind is a generally a good thing – we have many episodes where we have discussed this at length. But in some cases, over time, the perception of a narrow service specialism can become an inhibitor to growth.
    In this episode I’m joined by Steve Garside, Divisional Head of New Business & Marketing at TMW Unlimited as we discuss the challenge of changing the market perception of an agency know for decades as a CRM specialist.
    Steve takes us through his approach to broadening the agency’s appeal to a wider audience and shares his top tips for anyone looking to get out of troublesome pigeonhole.
    No book competition this time but you can download Steve’s recommended read: New Business: A guide to life on the frontline published by the IPA.

    • 37 min
    EP84: Reposition, rename, rebrand | Rachel Cook | ThreeTenSeven

    EP84: Reposition, rename, rebrand | Rachel Cook | ThreeTenSeven

    Here we are at the beginning of 2024 and it feels fitting for our first episode of the year to celebrate change.
    Last Summer, 40 year old agency Thompson Brand Partners rebranded as ThreeTenSeven - the final iteration of the agency’s repositioning following a management buy-out in 2019.
    At a time when we have seen so much uncertainty, in the economy, our working practices and our client’s changing needs, I was inspired by the confidence of this move, and wanted to find out more.
    In this episode I talk to Managing Director Rachel Cook, about the process the team went through to bring about this change, the implications for the agency’s new business and marketing and that small matter of showcasing diversity in leadership.
    Rachel’s recommended read is How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb, listen in to find out how to win a copy.
    As discussed in this episode we are always delighted to hear from potential guests with stories and expertise to share. If that’s you, please get in touch at lucy@gunpowderconsulting.com
    This episode is sponsored by E2M, the #1 white label digital agency partner. Visit https://www.e2msolutions.com/smallsparktheory/ to enjoy 20% discount on your first month.
     

    • 35 min
    EP83: Winning proposals | Joe Ardeeser | Smart Pricing Table

    EP83: Winning proposals | Joe Ardeeser | Smart Pricing Table

    December 2023 marks seven years of Small Spark Theory. Mindblowing then that’s it’s taken this long for a dedicated episode on the topic of proposals - such a crucial element of the new business process but a perennial pain point all the same. 
    Joe Ardeeser was so determined to find a better solution for turning around compelling proposals for his digital agency that he designed his own software. And so Smart Pricing Table was born. 
    Joe joins me in this episode to discuss the thinking behind the software; the power of packaged services; the proposal as a collaborative tool between agency and prospect and Joe’s love of marginal gains. 
    As always we’ll be giving away a copy of Joe’s recommended read: Good to Great by Jim Collins. Listen in to find out how to win. 
    Also mentioned in this episode:
    10 Rules Every Agency Must Follow For Winning Proposals
    Built to Last by Jim Collins
    Sell Like Crazy by Sabri Suby
    Thanks for listening this year. We’ll be back in 2024 with more conversations and more marginal gains designed to help you attract and win more business. 
    Enjoy the festive season!
    This episode is sponsored by E2M, the #1 white label digital agency partner. Visit https://www.e2msolutions.com/smallsparktheory/ to enjoy 20% discount on your first month.

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

Kat Thay K&C ,

Always relevant and always on time!

I love listening to Lucy Mann and her guests, each episode always seems to answer my pressing niggles and questions that I have running my agency. The conversations are extremely relevant at the right time, and I’m instantly inspired to leap to the next stage of growth and new mindset. Thank you!

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