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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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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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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How to Find New Clients on Using LinkedIn Advanced Search Hacks

Update 3/6/17: It appears as part of their recent redesign, LinkedIn has moved most of their advanced search features to their premium Sales Navigator plan. Although it will run you $65 to $80 a month depending on your plan, we still think there are few better ways to prospect based on firmographic data.

Finding new clients has never been easier. Whether you’re a freelancer, a consultant or a brand, the internet is a wonderful place for B2B brands to reach out to that ideal client criteria list you made. In fact, you can do it from the comfort of your computer; you can even amplify those little efforts with a credit card. You just have to know where to look (and how). If you’re a B2B brand, you know the best place to start finding new clients is LinkedIn. As the social network for B2B professionals to cultivate relationships and leads, LinkedIn is a massively useful database that contains all the contact information you need to turn that ideal client into a real one. Want to know how to find new clients on LinkedIn? Look no further.

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B2B Inbound Marketing: Five Strategies You Should Steal

Every B2B brand, new or old, knows they need to market themselves. It’s just a matter of how. The marketing of the past emphasized sales-y ad spots on television, radio and print; cold calls; direct mail; billboards—your standard outbound marketing. The marketing of today is a different beast. Inbound marketing has proven to be very successful at attracting leads and prospects to your business by drawing them inwards. To do that, here is a list of five B2B inbound marketing techniques your company can utilize.

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Calculate the ROI of Your Content Marketing With This One Simple Equation

How much money does your business make thanks to your content marketing program? No idea? You're not alone.

Tying content marketing efforts to profit is a complicated task—and it's not getting any simpler. Customer journeys are increasingly non-linear: our leads hit many different marketing touch points, often out of "order," producing multiple sets of metrics to analyze. As a result, the amount of data at our fingertips becomes overwhelming, even distracting.

As CB/I Digital COO Mike Le recent pointed out, it’s easy to get tied up in the vanity metrics of each channel and lose sight of actual conversions. We've all been there (as we'll get into shortly). To avoid data distraction, we'd like to resurface an oldie but goodie practice: look at the big picture.

The way we see it, there's one simple equation for understanding true ROI: the total amount of money invested in your content marketing versus the total value of the generated leads. Let's go back to math class for a second and build out this equation.

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