Speaker Highlight – Lucy Mann, Gunpowder Consulting

Thursday 16th May saw Filter Digital embark on their first ever Filter Exchange meetup; a new type of event where the sole objective is to provide an informal environment for agency owners, founders and leaders to share knowledge, insights and best practice whilst making some positive connections with like-minded people.

When considering who Filter wanted to present, CTO Paul Halfpenny placed Lucy Mann at the top of the wish list. A big fan of Lucy’s podcast, ‘Small Spark Theory’, Paul knew Lucy had valuable insights to share about new business and the concept of marginal gains.

Lucy is currently Director at Gunpowder Consulting where their mission is to help agencies take control of the new business process, creating workable new business plans that get results and providing tools to measure success and mentor in-house new business teams.

As a highly experienced agency new business and marketing consultant, Lucy is passionate about helping agencies take control of new business by increasing efficiency and effectiveness. She also has wide ranging agency experience including branding and design, research, digital, creative comms, content, marketing, and PR.

We were therefore delighted that Lucy accepted our invitation and after meeting in person, we were not disappointed with the presentation she delivered. During her time at the Filter Exchange, Lucy shared some great insights and valuable tips into managing new business which both resonated and helped those in the audience. Here is a small summary of what she spoke about:


With many creative and digital agencies facing “the roller-coaster ride” of new business, Lucy shared her thoughts on how to help agencies avoid that slow curve of disappointment. She spoke about the importance of creating lean and workable plans to track and measure new and existing prospects, whilst ensuring that the plan fits with the objectives of the business and the skills of the business.


Building relationships was central to her presentation. She spoke about how ‘New Business’ is a catch-all term and that there should be no one person within an agency responsible for it. Developing new business is about building longer term relationships but understanding that takes time is crucial to developing the pipeline. Lucy also advocated the building of your “little black book”.

Finding and Managing Prospects

In addition, Lucy shared the importance of managing prospects. Ensuring there is a data process in place is crucial to understanding the current pipeline, allowing you to measure existing activity and in turn the activity which will then lead to results.

She championed the use of LinkedIn Sales Navigator, a tool to help build and nurture customer relationships. Sales Navigator is an advanced sales tool that helps you build and nurture customer relationships on the network. It helps you target the right people, understand key insights and engage with a personal approach. Her positive experience using sales navigator was also echoed amongst others in the room.


Lucy shared her belief that not only is forming many positive connections important, but forming strong partnerships is also hugely beneficial. The benefit for a small agency, of course, is that they feel a little less lonely, but they also build a network where referrals are made – and a high referral rate means a high conversion.

Marginal Gains

Finally, her belief in marginal gains theory also took center stage. The theory that says that if you make small incremental improvements in any process; you will see significant improvement when they are all added together. Using the example of LinkedIn, Lucy advised that if you spend just 15 minutes per day on the platform, engaging with, and building your network, it will lead to positive conversations and in turn opportunities.

Within a short space of time, Lucy provided a wealth of hints and tips that could be applied by all those in the room, and the feedback from everyone who attended was incredibly positive.

We want to thank Lucy for giving the Filter Exchange her time and we look forward to welcoming her to the next event in September, when we will be extending our invites to more friends and connections in the creative and digital agency sectors.

For those who would like access to more of Lucy’s thoughts and insights, we would highly recommend that you check out the Small Spark Theory podcast where there are 28 episodes to choose from. You can find it here:

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