10 additional questions to ask before hiring your agency’s new business director

Having a working knowledge of social media isn’t even an option for an agency’s new business director – it’s mandatory.

Today it’s almost impossible to have a discussion about branding and marketing without considering the latest wave of how people are using “social media”. That is also true of your agency’s brand and self marketing efforts. Social media is having a big impact on how agency’s promote themselves and how they are found online by their prospective client audiences.

So before hiring someone responsible for your agency’s new business efforts, in addition to the questions regarding their new business expertise, think about asking some additional questions like these. How they answer will tell you what they really know about social media. 

  1. Do you read blogs?  Which ones?

  2. Do you have a personal blog?  What’s it about?

  3. What are the social networks do you participate in?

  4. Have you ever uploaded a video online?  What program did you use to do it?

  5. What’s your favorite search engine.  Why?

  6. Have you ever used an online classified service such as craigslist?

  7. Besides making phone calls—how else do you use your mobile phone?

  8. Have you ever registered a domain name?

  9. Do you use social bookmarks or tagging?

  10. Do you use a feed reader of some sort?  Which one?  Why?

Now think about these questions.  What are you looking for in the answers?  You are looking for empathy.  You are looking for a sense of understanding that only comes with experiencing something for yourself.  You are looking for honesty and authenticity.  And you are looking for credibility.  It’s not important to have done everything in this list—but for this new paradigm for agency new business, it’s critical to have done SOME of it.


Another article of interest: More Women Pursue New Business for Ad Agencies



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Michael Gass, agency new business consultant, primarily to small and mid-size advertising agencies, utilizing both traditional and new media tools.


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About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Michael —

    This is great!I would add, what is his/her favorite brand smartphone app and why and what is his/her POV on the future of TV and the 30.


  2. Good points John. Anyone else have additions to the list?

  3. Amazing but you would think they should know this.

  4. Great points. Any thoughts on whether it’s better to fill this position internally (i.e. someone that really knows the agency and has a talent for new biz) versus hiring from outside?

    I smell a new blog post coming … or perhaps you’ve already covered this. Thanks, as always, for all the great tips.

  5. Thanks for commenting Wendy. And you’ve definitely got me thinking about another blog post on this subject.

    I was hired from within to direct new business at my first ad agency so I can’t knock it. There is however a skill set that a person needs to fulfill the position and the agency principals shouldn’t burden that person down with a lot of unrelated responsibilities.

  6. I picked this up on Twitter last night, and it certainly got my attention. Not that I’m trying to throw stones, but I fail to see what any of these questions have to do with sales, selling or BD…great questions that go to the heart of a thoughtful, intelligent, participatory person…but none of these will get you a sense of whether your BD person can get a meeting, write a proposal, close a deal or manage expectations.

    Worse, do you just end up finding another “insider” who wants to talk about SM when they should be in front of clients or on the phone?

    VP, Biz Dev for a small interactive shop in Minneapolis.

  7. Business development for small to midsize ad agencies had a dramatic paradigm shift in 2008 that propelled social media into the mix of skills necessary for agency business development. Social media “teaches” ad agencies to do new business the right way, the way they should have been doing all along, leading with benefits instead of capabilities. Social isn’t a fad. It will be a integral part of the skill set for any agency new business director.

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