Pimento BD Club: One-to-one vs. One-to-many

In all new-business endeavours, there is a well-known dilemma that all BD professionals will be familiar with: an ever-present need to balance marketing hard data and technology, with building deeper, more personal prospective client relationships.

It is, without doubt, one of the most critical aspects of new business, but it is so often overlooked.

Frequently, agencies start to build relationships at the pitch stage – which is too late. So, to build a relationship that can turn into a sale, you need to strike that tricky balance between being present in your prospects’ minds, without annoying them. Easier said than done of course.

To help with this, we invited Keith Smith, Managing Director of The Advertist, and Scott Millward, Managing Director of Voir Agency, to explore this in more detail on the Pimento BD Club with our Head of New Business Paddy Woods. They gave some advice on how we can nurture and gain personal relationships for effective New Business. This article delves into some of the insights that were discussed.

Where to Start: Understand Your Clients

The very first question to ask yourself is “Who do you want to work with? For example, list 5 or 10 individuals or businesses.” If you don’t know who your prospective clients are, how can you expect to brand yourself in a way which is going to get you closer to building relationships with people you want to work with? So one of the first things we should do is get really clear on who those people are.

Once you’ve established a list of clients or people you’d like to work with, Scott’s tip is to implement a traffic light system:

“Red is 10 to 20 names of people that I want to work with. No relationship. Don’t know them. Just, I would like to work them.”

“Amber would be awareness. An awareness of who I am through my content or whatever it might be.”

“Green is awareness plus the right client. There’s some kind of relationship or maybe some trust or rapport, on a personal level, that maybe you haven’t yet broached.”

The rationale is that it’s a lot easier to close business with people that are aware of you and trust you and get you as a person or as a business. It might take 3 months or it might take 12 months to build a level of trust and respect.

Hard Data in New Business

There’s a balance to strike when it comes to hard marketing data vs client relationships. And technology does help.

In terms of marketing automation, the more reference points, tags, auxiliary fields you have, then through dynamic content, you can make every email personal and critically, more value-laden.

Also, depending on how far along your nurture sequence they are, the messaging can be slightly more pushy or more reserved. If you get more data as you build and before you start nurturing, it’s going to feel more bespoke.

However, “To a certain point, and beyond that, YOU have to be the best judge of who is the best client or the best prospect, and how best to target them. And if you haven’t got time to target all of them, then find something that reaches all of them: a broadcast, white paper or webinar” said Keith.

Building Relationships with the 5-to-1 Content Ratio

There’s a concept of: give, give, give, give, ask.

Work out four pieces of value-lead content, and then you get one ask. Every time you do your ask, it’s more effective because you’ve got more traffic, a better core audience and more awareness. If you started at point one and did your ask, no one cares, because your audience isn’t listening to you.

There’s different rings of context that people will relate to, and once you can connect with people on some level, then you can extrapolate that out and your ask will be much more effective. If you’re not trying to be relatable and open, you will struggle to build relationships.


Thanks again to Keith at The Advertist and Scott at Voir Agency – it was great to hear their thoughts and advice on our shared new business dilemmas.

If you missed this particular BD Club, you can watch it here.

If you have any queries, please do get in touch.

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