When it comes to new business development, not everyone has the tenacity to succeed out in the constantly changing field. For Doug Davila, the lack of predictability is one of the aspects he loves most about his position. While some might opt for a little more consistency, Doug has never been fond of routine work.
In fact, he has found that on days where he is the most productive, he spends the least amount of time in his actual office.
Q&A with Doug Davila
What is an average workday like for you? What can you usually expect to do?
It depends. I’ve got multiple things on my plate on any given day. Typically, an average workday involves following up on contacts that I’ve made recently, prospecting, working on presentations and pitches, as well as working with the partners and senior members of the CBD team on new initiatives.
The good news is that I can always count on new things to do everyday. The challenge mostly lies in making sure I get everything done according to plan.
How do you approach an important prospect? What have you found to be the most effective strategy for earning new business?
Honestly, prospecting has a lot to do with timing. Many of our clients have a longer buy cycle. They may be under contract for a couple of years at a time. It goes to show that most prospects aren’t going to drop their agency partner and work with somebody new unless a major change needs to be made, or their contract has just ended.
An effective new business development strategy often consists of patience and nurturing those prospects until they’re ready or in a better position to partner with a new agency.
What advice would you give to a business that is struggling to sign new clients?
Go back to the basics. Ask yourself:
- Are you speaking with the right customers?
- Are they in a position to buy?
- Does your offer address their needs and solve a problem?
- Does your offer and pricing make sense?
In my experience, most struggles go back to these basics, or a lack of promotion.
What’s the biggest effort you’ve ever made in order to win over a prospect?
The CMO of an electronics company once told me that he thought Stan Lee (Marvel Comics) was the best storyteller of our age. It just so happened that a Comic Con was coming up. I ended up talking my way into a private event at the convention and got an autographed picture of Stan Lee just for the CMO. And yes — we got the business.
How has the process of new business development changed as a result of advances in technology?
Social media is a huge game changer. Not only can you try to contact prospects via social, but you can also learn something about them. And vice-versa. It’s very important to keep an active presence online.With some prospects, you’re almost friends before you meet them for the first time. One important tip to remember — keep the politics and personal stuff off of LinkedIn. It’s better for business that way.
In your opinion, what is the most common mistake that businesses make when searching for new prospects?
They often go after too wide a pool of prospects. It’s much more important to know who your best potential customers are. Spend your resources going after them. Even though the group is smaller, you’ll end up with better results. If you’re going to hire someone in new business development, make sure they have the resources and a plan that will allow them to succeed.
Last but not least, what is meaningful to you outside of your role at CBD?
Family. My wife and our sons. I also lead a local scout troop.
Want to know more about Doug? Follow him on Twitter @CBD_dougdavila for more tips on new business development. Next up in the M2M series, we’ll be featuring CBD’s senior-level Account Director Celina Guimaraes and her best practices for account management in B2B marketing.