Welcome to The Drum’s Biz Dev 100, powered by The BD 100, which aims to recognize and celebrate important role played in the media and marketing industry by those who source and bring in new customers and keep the fortunes of businesses on track.
Below is Sam Ineson, one of those at the top of their field who work in the UK biz dev sector.
Name: Sam Ineson
Job Title: Business Development Director
What were your highlights of last year?
After nearly ten years at twentysix, I made the leap to join CDS - an agency with an incredible track record in the public sector that is now making its mark in the private sector. In a whirlwind 9 months we've launched our new brand, transformed our marketing and won a few fantastic clients to make the journey with us.
What has been your most memorable win - and why?
I've been involved in some huge and exciting pitches all over the world, including DLA Piper in Chicago, Smith & Nephew in Memphis, ECA in Geneva and Unicef in New York - but my most memorable win has to be be my very first win 15 years ago - a little ecommerce site for a small car audio retailer somewhere in Essex.
In a matter of twelve months of launching this newfangled 'internet website shop', the business had grown fourfold, the owner (who wore the same jacket as John Motson) had taken on 20 staff - and he hugged me every time he saw me. That win gave me the buzz that I've been chasing ever since.
How would you describe your approach to business development?
Get to know your customer's business and really try to understand the challenges they face. Empathy is everything - if you understand the client's business you will really care about it, and that means that you will be passionate about making sure they get the right solution.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Very early in my career I worked with a truly terrible account manager. I won't name him and shame him here, but he was disorganised, chaotic, blasé to the point of torpor and dreadfully rude to his clients. He never hit a deadline in his life. He was also a lovely bloke, but any agency who hired him did so at their peril.
I once asked him how he managed to cope with the stress of having all his clients continually hounding him for work he had neither the wit nor the will to deliver. He turned to me, and in his deep Irish brogue, intoned solemnly;
"Ah c'mon Sam, it's only a websoite. Its not loike anybody's doied."
Apologies for the accent.
What would be your number one tip to anyone starting in business development?
Being a tenacious, driven, hungry 'sales animal' will only get you so far. Chasing the deal can be fun, but the true rewards in our business come from delivering a great solution and a longstanding client relationship .
Learn your craft, and care about what you sell and to whom.
What is your new business soundtrack?
Brands looking to appoint a new agency should look to The Drum Recommends for help. The Drum Recommends offers reviews of agency partners by their own clients to offer insights to the rest of the industry when hiring.