” I want bigger clients”. After hearing that sentence too many times from too many different business owners, I decided to write this short guide. But first, you need to recognize that if corporate clients are the type of clients you are after then changing your mindset and supporting it with practical actions will substantially help you to achieve this goal.
The problem: The more clients you manage, the less time is left for strategy
As a CMO of a company that is working closely with more than several businesses over the years, I see it a lot: True experts, appreciated by their clients, working in great teams who manage 30, 40, and even 100 clients – all of them small businesses.
Turns out that multiple business owners suffer from the same phenomena – the more clients you manage, the less time is left to plan and execute your business strategy.
Why does this happen? Because daily tasks and client management take most of your precious time, resulting in loads of repetitive work, while the paycheck stays the same at the end of the month.
The typical profile of a small client – easy, safe, and no freedom to act
To be honest, working with small clients (who are not really looking to grow) has its benefits. First, they are easy to handle – You are most likely dealing with maintenance, doing repetitive work, and from time to time you report and get feedback by scheduling a call or a meeting with the client. Also, in terms of risk management, losing a few small clients has less impact on your business than losing one major client. Therefore, it is clearly easier to take risks with small clients.
On the other hand, small clients usually have a small budget, they are extremely strict on performance and want results right here, right now. This means that you have almost no ability to test new campaign types, channels, etc. Also, due to limited budget, all other aspects of digital marketing will be limited as well: Website designs, ad creatives, marketing automation, and tracking tools. Altogether, keeping you from evolving.
The corporate client – why should I bother?
Corporate clients, on the other hand, usually work with large budgets which allow you higher degrees of freedom to manage all the aspects of their digital marketing activity. It will also help you, as a business, to get better, improve your service, and of course – it pays back with a meaningful increase in commission once you reach success and growth.
Now that we understand the WHY, let’s dive into the HOW.
1. Change your mindset
Before making any actions, the first step needs to be to change your mindset: From a small business mindset to an enterprise-yet-to-be-discovered mindset. This is the most important part!
This is the most important part!
No wonder I wrote it twice.
An enterprise mindset means to think, act, and present yourself as big. It differs from branding since it is not about how others perceive you and your business, but how YOU perceive yourself.
This mindset involves everything you do: How you act, which words you choose, who you talk to, and so on.
An enterprise mindset can not be achieved in one day. Therefore, constantly look for feedback and think about how to improve yourself until you feel that you have adopted the mindset. You know it once you start talking in “We” instead of “I”.
2. Define your long- term goals
A large business will always have more than one goal. While small businesses mostly look for ways to increase their monthly income, large businesses are not necessarily aiming for a quick ROI.
business goals can be remarkably diverse: Increasing market share, establishing a wide network of business partners, or strengthening your position in front of suppliers. To better understand your long-term goals ask yourself: “What is the key to develop my business?”.
Good long-term goals need to be measurable and time-limited. A few examples:
“We will master 3 more services that I can provide to clients by the end of Q2“.
“We will sign up my first international client in 3 months”.
“We will be the go-to-guys in every real estate related digital marketing campaigns”.
3. Make sure you know how to measure these goals
Once you have defined your business goals, choose what your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are: The metrics and roadblocks that need to be achieved and can indicate whether you are on the right path to reach your goals. It is also important to add how and when you are going to track these metrics.
These can help you prioritize your efforts and raise your head over day-to-day chores. More importantly – they will help you get into the big-clients state of mind, by sharing similar challenges.
Let us expand a bit about this subject:
For example, your goal could be to double my monthly income by the end of the year.
In this case, your KPIs can be new clients oriented, existing clients oriented (also called organic growth), or both.
New clients oriented KPIs are:
– The number of cold calls you make. 100 cold calls per week.
– Number of sales meetings. 100 sales meetings per week.
– Close deal rate. Increasing the close deal rate to at least 25%.
Organic growth-oriented KPIs are:
– Clients churn rate. Lowering churn rate to max. 5%.
– The average number of services that each client pays for. At least two paying services per client.
– Average Lifetime Value*. Increasing LTV to at least 10,000$ for each client.
* Average Lifetime Value (or LTV) is calculated by multiplying the average monthly income per client with the average number of months a client stays. For example, if on average a client pays $500 per month and stays for 18 months, your current LTV is $500*18 = $9,000).
Now you can decide to review your progress every quarter by prioritizing and planning your actions based on each KPI performance. For example, in case the number of cold calls is only 50 instead of 100, you can decide to dedicate two workdays of only reaching out to new businesses.
4. Provide a business solution by adjusting your service to suit large clients
If you want to work with larger clients, they must feel that you can handle them. How can you make them feel it? First, you need to provide solutions that are compatible with their scale.
Start by defining your Service Level Agreement (SLA) – what is the service level that your clients can expect from you to provide them?
Service level elements include clear definitions of the services you give and what each of them covers. For instance, frequent reporting and meetings to which you commit; communication options and availability; the team that will be allocated for your client in terms of both size and expertise. All these can signal your future client that you are an “I have seen it all” expert.
5. Availability is crucial
Remember that a big business consists of many people acting simultaneously and they are often required to respond quickly to changes. When working with big companies you will need to focus on business solutions – providing them not ‘just’ a service but a solution that fits their business culture and needs.
In most cases, big clients will look for a Premium service, which means constant availability on your end. This is opposed to the ‘standard’ communication that is necessary when working with a small business. With big clients, your communication must be stable and frequent: Weekly meetings, news calls, and a direct contact person, combined with on-demand support and handling delicate business service crises.
Take, for instance, a situation we had a couple of months ago. Prior to an important meeting at our offices, the computer in the meetings room unexpectedly crashed, and we had to replace it. We called Assaf, a business owner who sells computers and accessories. Assaf immediately took control over the situation, explained to us what happened, assisted us, and supplied a new computer within less than 8 hours. In this case, shipping time was crucial and Assaf knew how to provide our business with the relevant solution. Needless to say, we will continue working with him for years to come.
6. You are a partner – not a service provider
A PPC service provider will create campaigns, optimize them, and send a report. He can initiate another campaign or wait until someone asks for it. If the campaigns perform well, but the sales are slow, it isn’t really his problem.
A partner knows that everything is his problem – high pricing, weak sales team, bad service – everything that damages the partner’s chances of showing growth is his problem. This makes him much more involved in the business and an integral part of it. I have never met a manager that decides to leave a partner – only clients that leave service providers.
7. How to shout “big”?
Every interaction says something about you. Think about how your clients feel when they read your emails, schedule a call with you, look at your website, review your contract, and so on.
Let us take a small test: Search for a business solution on Google, go to some websites, and try to guess what the company’s size is. Now, go to LinkedIn and check whether you were right or wrong.
Surprisingly or not, you can instantly guess who’s big and who’s not.
Think about the things that made you assume that the company is big (or small) and try asking yourself: What can you improve in your business that shouts out “big”? It can be ‘small indicators’ such as your email signature. Or it can be your contract structure or looks, website design, copy, social presence, and so on.
Client stories are great to scale indicators as well. Try gathering 3-4 case studies that tell a story about how big and successful your business is. Use these case studies on your website and remove all others. No matter what, do not mention stories such as “how you helped your local grocery stores to increase their revenue by 20%”.
8. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”
Most of the large businesses started small. One way to reach large clients is to turn them into large clients. To do so, you need to believe in your client and think big. You will be amazed to see how much clients love ambitious plans.
Even clients that are always tight with a budget and unhappy with performance will eventually prefer to work with someone who is ambitious and confident. Someone that can recognize the huge potential of the business and help push it forward. That is opposed to the ones that don’t challenge their clients and agree with everything.
Plan how they can double their spendings, and in return, their revenues. Then, initiate a quarterly call and present them with the plan. It never fails.
This also takes me to the next step.
9. Make room for growth
If you have clients that take a good portion of your time and don’t aim for growth – this is the time to say goodbye. These clients will not take you anywhere and you’d be happy to leave them for your competitors. Saying goodbye to this type of client will also support your big mindset.
Tell the client that from now on your service includes monthly strategy calls and quarterly growth plans, therefore, you must increase your fees.
10. Investigate your future competitors
There are bigger and more experienced agencies out there. You need to investigate this new territory by researching your competitors. Follow them on social networks, PRs, and news to understand how and what they do. Think about their weak spots and how you can surpass them.
It can be by suggesting a better price, plan, location, additional services, anything. Eventually, this process needs to lead you to two main insights: First – what is your USP? And second – what should be your next step? It can also help you to define your expertise and diversify your solutions and services.
11. Define your expertise
Service providers tend to believe that they are good at everything, but it might only hold them back from excelling in a specific subject. There must be one thing you do better than all the others. It can be a certain tool, audience, industry, business goal, whatever.
Prepare a list of all of your clients, divided into different segments like industry, platforms activity, goals, GEO location, communication type, and more. Check which segment is working best for you and build your story around it.
For example: If your expertise is a young audience, develop dedicated solutions for this audience. Understand their needs, analyze their behavior, use TikTok to communicate with them, etc. Once done, turn to related businesses and offer them your expertise and solutions.
12. Diversify your solutions and services
You should be aware of your weak spots and you should start thinking about how and which areas you would like to strengthen. To do so, prefer clients that can help you to diversify the solutions you offer and improve your skills.
If all your clients are in the eCommerce industry – consider suggesting your services for free (or for a reduced price) to other industries like B2B, finance, travel, and more. Thus, you will have expertise once you need it. The same goes for tools and platforms; if you work only with Google, suggest your current clients start an activity on Facebook, and so on.
Notice that expanding services must support your expertise and not act against it. So, if your expertise is a young audience, a good example in that sense would be to become an expert with TikTok Ads.
13. Build an infrastructure that will work for you
Managing large clients is time-consuming. The time that you would want to invest in building your new relationship with the client and not in planning or in doing the day-to-day tasks.
Therefore, you should already try, test, and look for automated solutions for everything you do. Email automation, campaign creation, report generation, activity alerts, scheduling meetings, and basically anything you can find. This will save you the time and effort that you will surely need.
Go get them!
The time has come! Now, use your connections, spread the word about your services to family and friends, expand your social network, show your knowledge on Facebook and Linkedin, follow the people you want as customers: Engage, engage, engage.
You can write an article, talk about new events, analyze market changes, and so on. Be wherever your big clients are, see what their problems are, and come up with solutions.
This should generate at least 2-3 meetings every month. From one meeting to another, write to yourself the questions and concerns they raise. Improve your answers and solutions for next time.
“Si vis pacem, para bellum”
Publius Flavius once wrote that if you want peace, prepare for war. The same goes here: If you want big clients, be, act, and think bigger than them.
Make sure they receive premium service every time they communicate with you. Once they feel the confidence to add you as a partner to their company – it is in your hands. Up until then – never stop improving.