How Small Agencies Can Win Fortune 500 Contracts According to Eight CMOs

You got your foot in the door. The VP of Marketing at a Fortune 500 company liked your proposal and has invited you in to pitch.

The pressure is on. Winning this contract could be a game-changer. The question is, how do you convince Mr. Fortune 500 that your agency is his best option, especially when he’s used to working with partners who have a more extensive track record?

Recently, George Sanchez decided to find the answer to this question. Over a few months, Sanchez interviewed eight former CMOs from Fortune 500 brands. It was an exercise in primary research that Sanchez hoped would validate the hypothesis behind his company. Sanchez is the founder of 49co:, a business development engine which represents a collective of specialized independent agencies, so these questions are key to his work: are big brands open to working with smaller firms? If so, what considerations do they make during the procurement process?

What follows are four major recommendations for growing agencies who want to bat in the big leagues, alongside the direct responses CMOs gave on those very topics. After you've reviewed their answers, learn how to seal the deal with a winning proposal.

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How to Strategically Research and Gather a List of Target Accounts

Building a list of targeted accounts is one of the most important elements of getting started with a list-based or account-based marketing campaign. It’s crucial to target the right leads early. It’s better to spend more time and resources upfront before you are deep into a campaign and realize you are producing and promoting content for target accounts that shouldn't have been on your list in the first place.

Here’s how you can set your company up for success by strategically researching and gathering a list of target accounts.

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What Is Account-Based Marketing?

Despite account-based marketing’s recent resurgence, the foundational ideas of the approach have been around for years. According to ITSMA’s Bev Burgess, who coined the name “Account-Based Marketing” in 2003, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers first introduced the tenets of ABM in their prescient book The One to One Future. 23 years later, digital technology has given companies the tools to execute Pepper’s and Roger’s ideas at an unprecedented scale.

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What Google's Announcement of Mobile-First Indexing Means for SEO

It’s just Google’s world and we’re all living in it. And now that’s a mobile-first world, Google’s rewriting the rules of the internet. Again. Google recently announced that it will prioritize mobile-first indexes over desktop indexes. If you are wondering what that means, then here’s a translation in plain English: Google will use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, even when you are searching from a desktop.

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Why Thought Leadership Is Important For Growing Agencies

Thought leadership is important, particularly for agencies or consultants looking to attract clients. Before you roll your eyes: we’re not advocating for tossing “Thought Leader” in your LinkedIn bio and expecting business to just roll in. However, we are saying that the habits of thought leaders—sharing ideas via blogging, speaking publicly, recording podcasts, distributing newsletters, etc.—are most definitely ways that you can increase the authority, competitive advantage, and visibility of your company.

Unlike “synergy” and “hacking,” thought leadership is a buzzword worth unpacking. Let us explain.

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14 Publications Every Agency Principal Should Be Reading

We live in the Age of Information overload. With so much coming at us, it’s difficult to keep up with our reading lists. Because of this overbearing trend, it's especially important for agency principals to understand how the way people interact with brands is changing. Snapchat’s in today, but what about tomorrow? To help stay up to speed, here’s our list of 14 best advertising publications that every agency principal should be reading.

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Checklist: How to Get Started With Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is all about designing a custom marketing plan for every account you are going after. If you are a company going after six-figure or more contracts, account-based marketing provides a framework for doing so. Before you dive into the tactics of ABM, however, there are important preliminary strategic conversations you need to have with your team.

To make life easier for you and your co-workers, here’s a simple checklist of things you need to decide on before you begin with account-based marketing.

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How to Measure Account-Based Marketing

In traditional B2B marketing, new leads and opportunities are the main metrics used to measure the success of a marketing campaign. But account-based marketing, a strategy used by companies going after a small number of large target accounts, takes a more realistic approach.

Unlike a lead-based marketing campaign, in which a brand measures its success based on the quantity of individual leads, the very nature of account-based marketing (ABM) is to focus on the quality of leads. The reality for most companies is that individuals seldom make buying decisions in a silo. CEB cites that on average, there are 5.4 influencers involved in the average purchase decision. As such, ABM targets multiple team members at key accounts in order to reach a larger community. As David Ogilvy, the “grandfather of advertising,” once said, “Don’t count the people you reach. Reach the people who count.”

When measuring account-based marketing, then, it is incredibly important to have a set of metrics that create a deeper context for who you are reaching. Thus the traditional metrics—and framework used to measure it—are much less relevant. Here’s what you need to know about measuring account-based marketing.

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