Why agencies fire clients

Todd Defren is letting the cat out of the bag about why agencies fire unprofitable or unpopular clients.

Some campaigns are just not profitable since expectations and demands exceed the time and budget available to deliver. Sure there are peaks and troughs of activity, but there’s little point in a relationship which is one-sided and unprofitable. There’s an opportunity cost to continuing these campaigns, so it’s a fairly easy one to spot and to take action on.

The trickier one, which Todd refers to, is the unpopular account. Demands are fine, budget is adequate, technology is good but it’s just not fun to work on. We’ve all been there. You pitched the account, the campaign was great, but now new contacts have been brought in, and the chemistry is gone. This can be addressed with some frank chats and perhaps switching around the account team – we all have our styles and approaches, so a swap out can often fix the problem.

But fix the problem you must. And Todd hits the nail right on the head, since in the current market you need to safeguard your staff as much as your revenue, if not more. The last thing you want is for your team to leave since they are forced to work on a beastly account. Better to resign the client, find a new campaign and keep your strong team. Good staff won’t stick around working with bad clients. And more good clients will only be attracted by a great team. So, the long term view is to take the hit to revenues, disengage with an unpopular client, and find some new biz to work on. Thankfully in the current climate agencies can feel confident in finding new clients in short order.

In fact, it’s a useful exercise to sit down periodically and look at the bottom 10% of your client roster – not by budget but by popularity. Keeping a strong client roster is an intrinsic part of keeping and attracting great staff. And that benefits all of your clients, so best to manage the roster proactively.