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How To Transition From Pitching Projects To Selling Subscriptions
How To Transition From Pitching Projects To Selling Subscriptions

The SaaS model differs in many ways from the mainstream approach taken by traditional advertising agencies. These differences are many but the most obvious  come in the transition from pitching projects to selling subscriptions. Pitching is (traditionally) synonymous with agency life. It’s an MO that’s dominated the fabric of ad agencies since the heyday of Mad Men. So, it’s normal that making the transition to selling subscriptions can seem daunting. Luckily, there are some clear-cut rules to follow that will make the transition a whole lot easier.

Build and Grow Relationships

Let's say you've setup your SaaS business model, pitching has gone out the door for your agency. This process of selling your product in a do-or-die situation is done and dusted (excuse the alliteration). When your client on-boarding process becomes automated, the first face-to-face meeting with your client is a different ball game. You now need to rely on other ways to make an impression on clients. The key here is to focus on building strong relationships.

A strong relationship means a high level of trust. Fostering and nurturing your rapport with clients makes them more likely to listen to your advice and more likely to respect you and your business.

Try to position your ad agency as a partner rather than a service provider. Let your client know that their success is your success.

Establish Primary Connections

Whilst it may seem simple on the surface, building strong relationships requires a great deal of tact, effort, and time. Work on the basics like good body language, remembering facts about your client, and keeping things light-hearted. Always stick to the truth about your products and services, even if the news may not be the most positive. Being upfront and honest will do wonders for trust levels.

When communicating, ditch the PowerPoint. Instead, prioritise primary connections such as face-to-face meetings, phone calls, or Skype sessions. Try to avoid endless email chains where possible.

Scalable Resources

A subscription-based model means you’ll find yourself moving away from customized work. The move to service packs is designed to help you save time and resources. As such, many of your packs will contain similar offerings, which you can tailor slightly to suit each client.

You should pay close attention to the actual cost to your business of each service and service pack that you offer. Efficiency is key, and if you can be clear about the amount of time and internal resources needed to fulfil each service pack you can manage your human resources and equipment according to the amount of work coming in.

Customized Work

Whilst we do recommend the use of templates to lower the cost of your services, this does not mean that all your customized work can go out the door. We respect the fact that customized work is always going to exist. What’s more, it’s this kind of product that can really make an agency stand out from the crowd. It’s all about balance.

Importantly, you need to place real value on custom jobs. The outcome of these projects should be something that your ad agency

Retaining Authenticity in Templates

Some of your clients may have the extra budget for one-off pieces of work that can be added to their packs. Others may not. Clients without huge budgets will still want authentic, reliable deliverables. Something that will work for both their brand and budget. Herein lies the opportunity. Target these businesses with well-executed templates that require little to no customization. This method is less resource intensive, which will allow you to keep your prices low. It also means your clients will receive deliverables that won’t cost the earth, and retain authenticity.

The nature of the subscription model is such that servicing a broad range of clients through the use of templates becomes more important than one-off resource intensive pieces. Keep this in mind when planning the inclusions of your packs, and monthly planners for clients. Ensure that work you propose won’t be at risk of blowing out into more than you’d planned.

Making the Transition

There are many ways you can prepare your business to better transition from pitching to selling subscriptions. Many of these involve changing the way you deliver work. Think about how you can best scale your deliverables. Try to make servicing a broad range of clients well your top priority. There is much you can do in the way of planning, however at the end of the day, selling subscriptions to your clients boils down to fostering and building great human connections.

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