When a major deal contributes to 50% year-on-year growth, how do you make sure you upscale without damaging other client relationships, make sure you don’t grow beyond your means (a sure-fire killer for many eager entrepreneurs who weren’t ready for the growth), oh, and get the deal in the first place?
First things first when securing a big deal, is either finding the right client for your idea, or choosing a prospect and then tailoring an offering to their needs. This isn’t about you; it’s about them.
In the case of Velti Events, Paul Veltman has understood the value of a major event like the Durban July since he launched his business in 2010.
This wasn’t his first Durban July, but it was his biggest, mainly because instead of selling a model, he pitched an idea with a big media partner already attached – and then, once interested, built the model around them.
Once you’ve chosen a prospect, get the pitch right. The key is to show real return on investment, and be clear about how you’re going to do that.
Veltman had already worked with MTV in 2011. Having proved himself, he was able to pitch an even bigger event for 2013.
Sometimes you have to start smaller before you can land that dream partnership.
Once you have one key player in place, the rest will follow. It’s important to have a holistic view of what you’re trying to achieve, and a clear strategy on how to get there.
In Veltman’s case, MTV was the magic piece in the puzzle. Once the media partner was secured, Fish Eagle Brandy, Playstation and Wella Koleston fell into place. It’s important to hone your focus. If too many brands were approached all at once, the driven focus over four months that it took to get the MTV deal secured wouldn’t have happened.
Once the deal is underway, don’t neglect your other clients.
Velti Events follows a clear strategy: Instead of hundreds of clients, Veltman has focused on 35 high-value clients. This means he can upscale as a client is secured without detracting from his existing clients because the business never spreads itself too thin.
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Make sure you can deliver on your promises.
This means careful planning and research. When you’re doing what you’ve always done you’re in safe territory. Growth is by its very nature risky, which means you need to think about every eventuality, and understand where those risks lie (and then plan for them).
In Veltman’s case, the event was extremely cash flow intensive. He needed to ensure he could pay for everything throughout the event while also taking care of all of the other ongoing projects around the country, and this meant he needed millions in cash in the bank.
This took careful planning, meetings with his bank manager, and keeping a sharp eye on expenses. Without cash in hand, the entire event would have been a disaster.
For great return on investment and to ensure future partnerships, make sure the deal you are pitching suits the client.
Veltman won’t pitch an event to brands whose strategies don’t align with what the event offers. Brand synergy is extremely important in experiential marketing, and Veltman’s differentiator is being able to show clear ROI. If the mix is wrong, this won’t be possible.