Which Levers Do You Need to Pull to Scale Your Agency Faster?


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Do you know which levers you can pull in order to scale your agency faster? Greg Bond believes his purpose in life is to add value to other people's lives. He is the head of revenue at SharpSpring, a company that aims to help businesses better understand their customers so they can maximize their value proposition. Greg oversees the sales function and works really close with the marketing team. He understands what it is agencies, and end-users, are really trying to do with that platform. Greg discussed the levers agencies need to pull to scale faster, some of the challenges agencies face, and what works for showing ROI and continuing to grow.

3 Golden Nuggets
  1. Levers you can pull to scale faster. One of the biggest challenges for agency owners is when they need to hire new employees and must raise their prices to be able to afford that. Will their clients pay that? Well, that depends. Do they know how much value they are delivering to their clients? Sharpspring focuses on ROI and being able to report specifically on this piece of revenue. With the consolidation of tools and bringing data into one place, you’ll have a centralized data repository that drives your automation engine and behavioral tracking, making your message more relevant. This is what gets you extra conversion rates and will help you grow your revenue.
  2. Why are agencies bad at their own marketing? You probably recognize this. The cobbler’s shoes. Agencies spend a lot of time and effort working with their customers and they don't do a great job of marketing for themselves. Agencies spend all their time trying to blow their clients away to get more clients through word of mouth. That’s great, of course. It’s the first requisite to start scaling. However, you can’t raise your prices when you’re built on referrals. About this, Jason asks, what if you hire a hunter? That way, con can stop self-sabotaging, you’ll continue to scale, and you can finally raise your prices.
  3. What works for showing ROI. For Greg, it’s all about showing value at the end of the funnel. Agencies bought into the lead marketing approach, he says. But with new customers these days there are multiple interactions before they actually make a purchasing decision. So the idea is being able to track all the different interactions across the entire funnel. Having all that data in one place and being able to map it to a singular campaign and then show when this deal actually does close enables agencies to tell what contributed to a sale and report on it in a way with confidence.



Levers You Can Pull To Scale Your Agency Faster and Why Agencies Are Bad at Their Own Marketing

Jason: [00:00:00] What's up, agency owners? Jason Swenk and I have another amazing episode with my friends at SharpSpring. We're going to talk about what are the levers you need to pull in order to give your clients better results to scale your agency even faster. We all want to know this, so let's go ahead and get into the episode.

Hey, Greg. Welcome to the show.

Greg: [00:00:25] Hey! Thanks, Jason. Happy to be here, man.

Jason: [00:00:28] Yeah. Excited to have you on. So tell us who you are and what do you do?

Greg: [00:00:32] Yeah, so my name is Greg Bond and I'm the head of revenue over at SharpSpring, which very recently we were acquired by Constant Contact. So, um, a lot of really cool integration stuff going on there between those two companies.

And yeah, I just kind of oversee our entire kind of sales function and work really close with our marketing team. I actually, I've been with the company a while and I came from VP of customer success. So very close to our customer base and really understanding what it is that our agencies and even our end users are really trying to do at the platform and kind of what their pain points are and what they're struggling with.

And I've been able to bring a lot of that into the revenue focus of the company. So…

Jason: [00:01:13] Awesome. Let's get into it. Let's talk about some of the levers that agencies can pull in order to kind of scale their agency faster and get better results for their clients.

Greg: [00:01:25] Yeah. And I, I think, you know, when we talk about this, especially in the context of SharpSpring, I think what a lot of it focuses in on for us is tool consolidation. I think is one of the main things. Over the years, the technology revolution of the past 10 years, you know, the past decade. Um, has brought a lot of different point solutions to market that are fantastic tools.

But the problem with them is that you end up with siloed databases and all this information that, that sits in each individual tool. And you almost have to have a whole team of operational wizards to connect these things and pull all that data together.

You've got all this different reporting that's ended up end up in silos. And you can't really work to unify that customer experience and report on where exactly what attribution is the attribution that you should be pointing towards for your clients that you're working with to say, hey, this is where that sale came from.

And at Sharpspring what we really focus our customers in on is ROI and being able to report specifically on this piece of revenue, where did it come from? We talk a lot about being a full-funnel marketer, and I think that's really the space where we want to play and where we think agencies can leverage to improve their own results.

Jason: [00:02:45] So ROI has always been very important. And I think a lot of… You know, when I talk to agencies, one of their biggest challenges that they have is well, I can't afford to hire someone right now. I'm like, well, why don't you charge more? They're like, well, I don't know if they’d pay that. Um, and then my next question to them is, well, how much value do you deliver your clients?

And a lot of them go, I don't know. And which is really freaking scary. So depending on your industry, sometimes it's hard to show an ROI. How have you found... Or what are some of the things that have worked for agencies for showing ROI in order for them to, you know, have the client stay with them longer, as well as to charge more?

Greg: [00:03:29] It really is about showing that value at the bottom of the funnel. I think agencies in the past and marketers, just digital marketers period, they… They bought into this inbound marketing approach where you have the lead magnet. Somebody fills out a form and that form gives you somebody's email address in a really nice tidy bow of, hey, this is where this person came from.

But the new customers, these days, there's multiple interactions before they actually make a purchasing decision. And so you have all of this noise in the system. So being able to track all the different interactions across the entire funnel, sometimes people move into the middle of the funnel and then back up to the top and then back down.

And, you know, they may not necessarily be ready yet when they talk to your sales team. And to be able to kind of… Keep all of that data in one place and be able to map it to a singular campaign and then show when this deal actually does close. That's the place where I can now track all of those interactions back and say, whether I want to look at first touch or last touch or any different number of touches and attribution. I can tell you what contributed to that, that sale and be able to report on it in a way with confidence, right?

Like being able to go to your client with confidence and say I am 100% sure that our marketing efforts drove this sale. As well as your sales team, right? Like, I don't want to take the sales team out of it. The sales team has a role to play as well.

But marketing runs alongside the sales team and helps enable them to be able to close those deals. And you need a singular system that can track all of those interactions without some sort of XL ninjitsu happening there in the middle of it. Yeah.

Jason: [00:05:14] You know, Dean Jackson always talks about out of a hundred percent of the pie.

Like he always draws like this square and then he basically draws a line down the square and says 50% will never buy from you. And that out of the other 50%, they'll eventually buy from you, but maybe like 10% are ready to buy now. Then the other 40% is over time, right? And so it's really important to really kind of think about it in that way, because a lot of people just go after the 10% and they forget about the 40%.

Like, when I look at our data and the different things… There's a lot of times people don't engage with us or, well, jump into the mastermind or buy a, our framework for like two or three years. Which I'm like, that's awesome. Like we held their attention that long, but you know, some people. Yeah.

Greg: [00:06:07] And I talk a lot about it with our teams. I talk a lot about the buyer's journey. And there are plenty of people who fall into the bottom of your funnel, who are ready to buy right now. It's the first time you ever talked to them, right? But that's where they are in their buyer's journey. And they just happened to find you at that time.

I think so many people look for that, you know, zero moment of truth, that, that place where, you know, that's all marketing is like targeting that person. But there are so many other people, like you said, there's a, the vast majority of the people who will buy from you in the future are not at that point yet. And how do you nurture them to get there?

And how do you drop them in at the top of your funnel? Where at the top of your funnel, it's damn near impossible to keep them accurately it attributed to the right campaign over a long period of time. But you still have to fill that top of the funnel and help nurture them down. But with a unified database and behavioral tracking and a tool like SharpSpring, you now have that ability to get all those different touch points in and have them all in the system so that when two years from now three years from now, they actually do convert into a sale, you know exactly how to attribute that marketing spend.

Jason: [00:07:19] You've been working with agencies for a long time. Why are agencies so bad at their own marketing?

Greg: [00:07:25] That's a great question. I mean, I think one of it is, it's, you know, the cobbler shoes. They've spent a lot more time and effort working with their customers and in collaboration with their, their clients. So they don't do a great job of marketing for themselves.

And I, and I think the other one is the number one way that agencies get businesses through word of mouth. Word of mouth is about delivering results, right? If you deliver results above and beyond the expectations of your clients, that's where you get that word of mouth from.

And so they spend all their time and I believe rightly so, they should spend all their time trying to blow their clients away and just deliver those results. Again, being able to point back to the ROI and say, hey, this marketing spend this effort that we drove, drove these results. And if you do that over and over again, you'll get word of mouth.

And so it'd be great if you could also fill the top of your funnel with a bunch more content, but if it comes at, at the risk of losing the results for your clients, then I don't think it's worth either.

Jason: [00:08:28] Yeah, I see that, you know, I, I just had, um, as we're recording this. A week ago, we had 28 of the best agencies over at the house for a three-day experience.

And we all talked about like, where were the biggest challenges? Some of them were, you know, we're not doing our own marketing. And they thought, well, in order to scale my agency, the lever I need to pull is the sales. And I need to find a hunter. I, I started asking more questions as well, why? I was like, well, what about the business coming to you?

And they said exactly what you're saying, most of their businesses generated by word of mouth. I said, well, congratulations, you're doing a great job. That's prerequisite one for scaling an agency. Right? Like, because there's a lot of people that take a stupid Facebook course and go, I'm a Facebook ads agency. They can't deliver shit. And then it screws it up for all the legit people out there.

But what I told them, I said, what if you actually hired a hunter in order to scale? They're like, what about the leads? I'm like, well, that's the other thing, you pull the marketing lever, you can start generating and building your pipeline.

Because what I found was there's a lot of owners that the better they do in marketing, the more meetings they have. Soon they get overwhelmed and then they start self-sabotaging themselves. And a lot of you listening right now, you're doing this shit right now. I can promise you. You're self-sabotaging yourself, but if you hired a hunter, then they can start closing that business. They're not going to sabotage you. They want to do well. And then you can scale.

Then you can raise your damn prices because when you're built on referrals, you can't raise your prices because they're like, oh, I paid 10,000 a month. You can't charge a hundred thousand to a guy that just referred you 10,000.

It's just a different playing field.

Greg: [00:10:16] And I think agencies, it's such a unique business because it is a professional service. And, in professional services businesses, it's the expertise that people are buying, right? And the agency owner and the principal is that main source of vision and creativity. So you have to have them involved in the sale.

And you also want them involved in every client engagement. That's what the clients purchased, right? So it becomes a scalability issue for your agency, right? Like there's only a certain amount that you can scale yourself. And so you have to hire people who have that ability to cast a vision and be that sort of thought leader as well alongside of you.

And you need to be able to share the spotlight a little bit with them. Or at least have, like you said, that hunter that goes out and brings people in front of you and does it in a way that doesn't require a ton of your time so that you can spend the time delighting your customers with incredible results.

Jason: [00:11:09] Yeah, exactly. And, and I look at it to have going, you know, as your business scales and you scale the agency, you better damn well start putting the people in place for this, right? Like you should have someone like the director of happiness, making sure you're delivering the results, right? That's what we have. So I don't have to.

Like, my attention to detail is probably like everybody else's, that's why I was telling you, like our shows use like 10 to 15 minutes. Like we're all like attention to detail, like bird, where's the bird? So… Well, this has all been amazing, Greg. Is there anything I didn't ask you that you think our audience needs to know about?

Greg: [00:11:47] I don't think so. I mean, I think we kinda covered all the, all the main topics that I think are worth really focusing on. But I think one thing that I want to make sure is clear here is when we talk about tool consolidation… And I think everyone hears cost savings, right? They hear that, oh, I can make my life a little simpler, have fewer log-ins and things like that.

And that's not really what we're saying. What we're saying is the consolidation of tools and bringing all that data into one place and being able… For that CRM, that centralized data repository to be the thing that drives your automation engine and all that behavioral tracking, being able to make your message more relevant. The right person, the right message. The right person, the right time.

That is what gets you those extra conversion rates. That is what helps you grow your revenue. And it's not just, oh, you get to save some money. Yeah. Okay. That's cool. Yeah. That's another benefit. But the real benefit here is... It's actually the right way to build a customer experience that people will go nuts for.

Jason: [00:12:52] Awesome. I love it. Now, Greg, you guys have a special offer for our audience for a short time. So tell us about.

Greg: [00:12:59] We do. We want to offer anyone that that's a listener of your podcast series a half off their onboarding and their first month free. So big offer here for, for you guys, um, especially for, for this podcast and your audience, Jason.

Jason: [00:13:13] Sweet. Thank you very much. Where can they get this? Cause now they're, you know, if you want to get… right? Like, we need to tell them. So where's the call to action, so you can give me attribution for it?

Greg: [00:13:24] So head over to sharpspring.com/smartagency, and you can schedule a demo right there and that will help us secure that offer for you.

Jason: [00:13:35] Awesome. And you'll be able to schedule with one of their cool strategists that can walk you through everything and set you up.

So I highly recommend SharpSpring, go check it out and get your half month or the full month and a half off the onboarding. That's a tongue twister.

Greg: [00:13:52] It is a tongue twister. You know, it's about a $1,600 value right there.

Jason: [00:13:55] Ooh, go get it, guys. Go get it while it's hot. But, uh, thanks so much for coming on the show and uh, until next time have a Swenk day.