How to overcome your new business and marketing challenges

On today’s episode of Word on the Street, Katie speaks to Laura Holme, Founder and MD of Ballyhoo Coaching & Consulting – A new business & marketing consultancy offering specialist support to communications agencies from: One-off consultancy projects, to a fixed-term contract with a flexible number of days per week or month, including maternity cover.

Laura has been in the advertising sector in the UK for over 30 years, 10 in Client Services, and the past 20+ years of those heading up new business and marketing working for a range of agencies across the communications mix including CDP, Wunderman, Proximity, FCB, mcgarrybowen and Publicis. She is the founder and MD of Ballyhoo Coaching & Consulting working for communications agencies driving their growth and marketing programmes, and coaching and mentoring individuals and teams, as well as working for clients managing their agency search & selection process.

Laura is also a Lecturer at the Business School for the Creative Industries at UCA (University for the Creative Arts) and a Course Lead on the MA/MSc Global Marketing & Communications programme.

In this episode you will hear:

  • The biggest challenges agencies have and how to overcome them
  • The importance of collaboration between sales and marketing
  • The psychology behind pitching and decision making
  • Creating client advocacy

There were so many amazing takeaways from today’s episode, and these were just a few of our favourites.

The biggest challenges agencies have and how to overcome them

Each agency has its own unique challenges and are always moving through different business cycles. In smaller agencies, Laura typically works with MDs and CEOs who have very good ideas but need someone to bounce off and challenge them and help them build a cohesive strategy.

Laura has found that larger agencies tend to have challenges around things like interim cover, maternity cover and marketing, and supports them with the pitch process, mentoring, training, confidence building, and coaching. Additionally, you can have a great team of people, but individuals need the time to work on their skill sets and learn interpersonal skills as new business and decision-making require elements of psychology, understanding behaviours, and taking a human approach.

The importance of collaboration between sales and marketing

Market yourself for the things that you want, based on your strategy, in order to get work and briefs that are right for you!

Be proactive, not just reactive! By being proactive you are working towards your own destiny and giving yourself a brief for your own marketing activity. If you know who you are as an agency and who you want to attract, you will be able to market and sell yourself more effectively. Marketing is there to drive new business!

Creating client advocacy

It’s important to have an understanding of what your clients want and need, and having empathy and mutual respect. Are you the right agency for your client? Is this the right opportunity? What is the client’s evolution criteria in the pitching process? You should have a willingness to have conversations, even if the work doesn’t seem right for you, it might be right for you in the future, so building relationships and being open-minded is key.

Casting is the most important thing in the pitching process because people are buying into people! The energy in the room and the conversations you have are the most important things during the pitching process, and they are what are remembered afterward. It is important that everyone within your agency shows up with the energy and skill set to represent your agency in the best ways possible, in order to attract and win the right clients for you!

Links & references

Katie Street:
Laura Holme:

Our Sponsor

Series 6 of Word on the Street is sponsored by Tanba, The Agency New Business Academy, is a brand-new initiative aimed at equipping agencies of all sizes with the knowledge, content, partnerships, and opportunities needed to accelerate agency growth by optimising their new business ‘engine’. Tanba is an on-demand and affordable solution for agencies looking to upskill their team via training courses, content and insights delivered by our panel of industry experts, leaders, and partners.

The academy is all about empowering agency teams to get noticed, attract opportunities, increase conversion rates, and reduce the costs associated with the sales process. Visit to find out more and start empowering your agency.