Talent Crisis: How To Fill Your New Business Pipeline When Resources Are Stretched

The advertising and marketing industry is in the midst of a talent crisis. In 2020 and 2021, the sector lost 52k global jobs due to the pandemic. Yet, according to GroupM, “The global ad market will grow 22.5% this year and exceed $1 trillion by 2025, a historic projection. It’s likely the fastest growth rate in the industry’s history.”

Because of this, firms are struggling to recruit and retain team members to work on client work, leaving little mid or long-term planning for new business development.

Given constraints in talent and time, agencies and marketing service providers must rethink how to continue building relationships with prospects and keep their pipeline full. Otherwise, they risk losing the gained momentum and will be left scrambling for new clients 6, 12, and 18 months down the road.

Why isn’t the talent coming back?

But if the industry is experiencing a rebound, why isn’t the talent coming back as well?

According to the ANA’s “Bridging the Talent Disconnect: Charting the Pathways to Future Growth,” four key reasons contribute to the disconnect:

  1. Digital transformation complicates new marketing and advertising career paths.
  2. Marketers and agencies now directly compete with technology companies for highly skilled talent.
  3. The expectations of today’s crop of young talent differ from previous generations.
  4. College and university curricula cannot keep pace with the rapid change in the industry.

The mass shortage of marketing and advertising talent is only further solidified by the increasing demands for dramatically higher compensation and better work/life balance of those willing and qualified to fill these empty positions.

And yet, the market is hot for new business right now, with the need for experienced Business Development Directors at an all-time high. But Business Development Directors remain one of the most challenging roles to recruit, train, and retain.

The tenure of a New Business Director is less than two years for 80% of agencies

According to RSW/US, the tenure of a New Business Director is less than two years for 80% of agencies. And it’s only gotten worse. So how do marketing service providers bridge the gap between the talent crisis and market demand while ensuring the focus remains on new business?

Focus on right-fit opportunities

As marketing service providers feel the squeeze of the talent crisis now more than ever, it’s of even greater importance to get laser-focused in pursuit of only the right types of new business opportunities.

But how do you ensure only right-fit opportunities get into your pipeline?

Also known as outbound business development (or outbound sales), it’s the proactive engagement of prospects through strategic cold calling, cold email, and social media to generate a predictable pipeline of opportunities with target companies. It’s about being intentional with your firm’s growth, whereas inbound is reactionary.


Recommended Reading: Building A Rebound-Ready Business Development Program


In its simplest form – you select the ideal clients and the type of work you want to win. Then instead of dealing with unpredictable and/or unqualified inbound leads, you only target and pursue right-fit companies.

Strategic prospecting and filling the top of the funnel is a critically important step to spread awareness, warm up prospects, and generate virality for your business. Without top-of-the-funnel activity, it’s incredibly difficult to keep your pipeline full with right-fit opportunities.

But how can busy, understaffed marketing service providers focus on outbound prospecting?

In most firms (even pre-talent crisis), prospecting is the first part of the new business process that falls by the wayside.

Not only does it take a lot of time and effort away from the core areas of the business, but it’s also grueling work most agency leaders and senior business development directors hate. And without the right sales tech tools, licenses, databases, CRMs, etc., to make the process effective, it can feel like a massive waste of time.

By outsourcing non-core activities, agencies can improve efficiency and productivity

Because of this, managed services companies that specialize in outbound business development for marketing services providers have become a critical tool in top-performing agencies’ belts.

Instead of depending on, and paying for, an in-house team, outsourcing uses the developed workforce of an outside organization. Agencies can use outsourcing to better focus on their business’s core aspects, such as strategy, creative, and account services. By outsourcing non-core activities, agencies can improve efficiency and productivity.

Managed services companies solve several problems.

  • Save countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars recruiting. Instead, outsource and instantly benefit from a team of talented business development professionals experienced in marketing and sales to get the job done.
  • Eliminate the learning curve. Unlike internal hires, who take up to a year to reach full productivity, when you outsource, you’re immediately met with a professionally trained team ready to execute on your behalf.
  • Enjoy 100% uptime. Too much time, money, and momentum is lost due to turnover & scrambling to hire a replacement. Outsourced agencies deliver 100% uptime, so you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck.

How to find the right managed services partner

Engaging a managed services provider for outbound prospecting is less expensive, faster to produce results, and more consistent in uptime. If you’re considering outsourcing, here are the 4 steps to finding the right partner.

1. Gather Requirements

This is your opportunity to ensure your outsourced partner aligns with your current needs, business requirements, and existing resources. To be successful, you must first ensure you define what you need. For example, do you need a hunter to get more opportunities with the right companies? Or do you need a closer to help manage pitches and close the businesses?

2. Create a Brief

Document the expectations and requirements in a brief. Include the following:

  • An overview of your brand
  • Clients and industries you serve
  • Desired areas of growth
  • The timeline and amount of revenue you’re looking to win
  • Competitors
  • Other current marketing activities
  • Samples of work/case studies

3. Partner Presentations/Demos

Spend time identifying appropriate partners based on their alignment with previously gathered requirements and set up presentations and/or demos accordingly. Some critical information you’ll want to understand includes the following:

  • Information on their background & credentials
  • How they would deliver results
  • How they’d show success and report on activity
  • What they’ll need of you to be successful
  • Their costs
  • Their onboarding process
  • Get final proposals & ask for references

4. Selection

After requirements gathering, presentations, and proposals have been submitted, decide who the best fit for the project is. This is a critical decision, so don’t rush it. Take into account the information provided by vendors and other research to determine who best aligns with the project’s requirements.

Ready to Find Your Perfect New Business Partner?

As the talent crisis continues and the global ad market exceeds historic levels, there’s never been a better time to explore a managed services firm for business development.

With the right partner, you’ll bypass time-consuming recruiting, jump ahead of the learning curve by leveraging fully trained professionals on day one, and keep your pipeline full by focusing on right-fit prospects.

You may be busy now, but ignoring top of the funnel prospecting will later set your firm up for failure.

If you’re interested in learning more about outbound business development and how to land 6- and 7-figure opportunities predictably, check out our Free Agency Growth Keys Masterclass.

Christian Banach

Christian Banach

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