Running your agency is easier when you keep your sales pipeline full.

Running your agency is easier when you keep your sales pipeline full—the big pile, not the small pile.

Life’s easier when your agency has a strong sales pipeline. For instance, a coaching client came to me describing her agency’s cycle of “feast-or-famine” on business development.

She said she was happy when she had lots of sales opportunities, and anxious when she had few opportunities.

I said that sounded like she was describing an addiction. She agreed, saying it’s like having a “pile of crack.” I asked her to elaborate.

She said, “When you have a big pile of crack in front of you, you’re happy and everything’s great. But when it’s a small pile of crack, you feel desperate and you start making bad decisions.”

I don’t think she was speaking from experience, but she provided a strong metaphor nonetheless.

Feast-or-famine is a real problem for most early-stage agencies. When you’re in your first few years of business, it’s common to experience peaks and valleys. Your agency is still developing its reputation and you’re building the team to handle the work.

But if you’re still experiencing the feast-or-famine roller coaster after more than 3-5 years in business, something’s off. Usually, it’s because the agency isn’t spending time marketing itself. Sometimes it’s because the agency hasn’t built a strong reputation as a specialist in something clients need and want.

If a client came to you, expecting to find customers without doing any marketing… you’d tell them they were crazy. Yet that’s what many agencies do—they assume clients will show up at their door, and blame the “shoemakers kids” problem.

“They’ll appear when you least expect it” is a nice dating trope—but it’s not a great way to keep your sales pipeline full. Take action! Pay consistent attention to business development—marketing, sales, and partnerships.

What about my client and her fluctuating pile of crack? She recently hired her first salesperson and things are going well.

Question: What are you doing to keep your sales pipeline full?