Hardships of a B2B consultancy

The Monogram Group is a small ad/design agency working out of Chicago. The Tribune spoke with Scott Markman, the founder and president, about the peaks and valleys of running a B2B firm. (free sub. req.) He makes the point that professional marketing help is absolutely essential, even for a small firm like his:

... By last fall, I realized we had to take a drastically different approach to generating leads. We were left with too many small clients with non-recurring needs; even if the client loved our work, once the project was completed we had to source a new client.

We could no longer survive just on what came over the transom.

The small business brought on a consultant who specialized in sales and marketing advice to professional-services firms. The advice?

  • Building a precise profile of an ideal client by revenue, location, Standard Industrial Classification code (which describes a company's operations) and other factors. For us, that meant upper-Midwest, business-to-business or business-to-consumer manufacturing companies between $50 million and 250 million in revenue, where marketing their brand and products play a critical role in their strategies.
  • Purchasing a list based on that profile and collecting more robust data on each prospect.
  • Investing more time prequalifying each opportunity
  • Hiring a dedicated new business director to create opportunities ... while I pursued more short-term referrals to maintain cash flow.
  • Cultivating a deeper network of strategic referral sources, such as PR firms, brand consultants and even larger ad agencies.

  • In