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Build a Better Agency Podcast

Scale and grow your agency with better clients, invested employees, and a stronger bottom line, with Drew McLellan.
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May 21, 2018

No matter what kind of agency you own, where it’s located, or how large it is – there is a truth about your business. You are literally and figuratively on stage every single day. Whether you're on the phone with a client, sitting across the table from a few people, or standing on the stage at a national conference, we are constantly presenting.

We can’t afford to be shy about presenting. I’m not suggesting you do a TED talk but I am suggesting that you can’t afford to shirk away from any stage, big or small. You’ve heard me talk about the value of speaking as a way of creating cornerstone content but today I want to focus on a different aspect of presenting – selling from the stage (whatever that stage may be).

This week’s podcast guest loves to talk to business owners about how to do that bigger and better, and bolder. Dustin Mathews is an author of many best-selling books, and he has shared the stage with athletes, business celebrities, and titans of business. His latest book, "The No BS Guide to Powerful Presentations: How to Sell Anything with Webinars and Online Media Speeches and Seminars" is going to be a book that you are going to not only read but underline and highlight and share with others. That I promise you.

Dustin is known for creating content that drives people to buy products en masse. His companies and private clients have been featured on Forbes, Entrepreneur, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Inc magazine. He's literally marketed and filled over 3,000 events and has led 10 online product options. He and his work had generated over $43 million in sales. So he knows how to package and sell value.

As a part of prepping for the work that he's doing today, he did some recent research and has identified a process for creating and selling products and services that he calls the Irresistible Offer Architecture that is so unique that he was able to get recognition by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why it takes practice to get comfortable with public speaking
  • Testing and getting feedback on material before presenting it to a large audience
  • Why it doesn’t matter how qualified you look if you’re able to speak to someone’s pain point
  • Giving a speech that gets people to take the next steps you want them to take
  • How to sell at conferences when you’re told “don’t sell from the stage”
  • Creating excitement about your offer by teasing coming next in your presentation
  • The five elements every presentation should have
  • Giving people value in your speeches before giving them the ask
  • Separating your agency from your competition by giving your processes a name
  • Why you need to showcase case studies in your presentations to show off your expertise
  • The nine elements of the irresistible offer architecture
  • Why you should give people a physical giveaway (book, flash drive, etc.) whenever you can
  • How to overcome your prospects’ objections
  • Reverse engineering your presentations based on what you want to offer at the end
  • Why you have to get good at speaking now

Ways to contact Dustin Mathews:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

May 14, 2018

Branding has always been a cornerstone of my own agency. We've spent a ton of time and effort building brands for clients. We have, like all of you, created what we think of as a proprietary process around brand, and it's a topic that I have a great passion around.

Many of you are either too polite to ask or have point-blank asked me, "Drew, what is the deal with you at Disney." Brand is part of why I love them so much. One of the aspects of Disney that I really admire and connect to the most is that I think they're just about as good as it gets in terms of understanding their brand, building their brand, and evolving their brand over time.

One of the guys in the agency space who I think is really brilliant at branding is an Iowa based agency owner named Nick Westergaard. His new book, Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World, just came out and it is a brilliant blueprint for how to create a memorable, meaningful brand in today's chaotic time and space.

Nick and I talked about are how building a brand has changed in this digital crazy, crowded, distracted time, and what are some of the elements that we as agencies can really spotlight and offer as a huge value to our clients. How do we use brand as an agency offering to stay sticky with our clients rather than a one and done project?

Nick is a strategist, speaker, author, and educator. As Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, he helps build better brands at organizations of all sizes — from small businesses and Fortune 500 companies to President Obama’s Jobs Council. In addition to his new book, Nick is also the author of Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small.

Nick is a sought-after keynote speaker at conferences and corporate events throughout the world. He teaches at the University of Iowa where he sits on the Advisory Council of the Marketing Institute at the Tippie College of Business and the Professional Advisory Board for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He is also a mentor at the Iowa Startup Accelerator.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Working with brands in a distracted, digital age
  • How the world changed our views about how we should be looking at branding
  • Why simplicity in branding is more critical than ever
  • How agencies can help their clients understand what storytelling really is and how to help them construct better brand stories
  • Why “Story” is a buzzword and how we can rescue it
  • Why the main character in the story shouldn’t be the brand and why it should be the client’s end user
  • Why making sure employees understand the brand is so important for your agency culture and the work that they do for clients
  • The role agencies play in building brands and moving the brand forward
  • How to provide real value to clients in this era of distraction and rapid change
  • The opportunities agency owners are missing out on during the brand discovery process
  • Why a brand is everything a company does – and why that doesn’t have to be overwhelming
  • Why it’s important for you to plant your flag for your brand
  • How Nick’s book can help agencies work together on their own brand
  • The value of getting outside perspective on your own agency

Ways to contact Nick Westergaard:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

May 7, 2018

If you’ve ever hung out with me for more than 10 minutes, you’ve probably heard me say something like “there are no bad clients. But there are bad clients for YOUR agency.” I do believe that there’s an agency out there for every client. But it very well may not be yours. One of the most critical skills an agency owner/leader must develop is the ability to discern if a prospect belongs on your client roster.

Many of you have been emailing me lately asking me questions about problematic clients. And in some cases — they’re clients you never should’ve taken in the first place. You either haven’t yet developed the processes or the spidey sense to sniff out a bad prospect or even worse, you ignored that spidey sense.

We’ve all seen the money on the table and thought to ourselves, “Okay, I'm going to ignore that nagging feeling in my stomach and I’m going to take that client.” I’ve owned my own agency for 23 years and believe me, I’ve made that expensive mistake more than once. Every time I’ve ignored that little nudge saying, “Don’t do it Drew...don’t do it” — the nudge was right and I was wrong. I regretted taking that client and I’m guessing you’ve had the same experience.

The wrong clients, even if they have buckets of money, can literally kill your agency. A client that is not the right fit for your agency is almost impossible to make happy. So what do we do? We run around scrambling trying to make them happy. We do extra rounds of revisions that we don’t charge them for, and in the end, they’re still not happy.

Now we’re underwater and have lost money. We’ve literally paid for the privilege of serving that client. Or worse — the client berates your employees. They micromanage your team. They call or text 24/7 with no respect for boundaries.

And when you don’t step in to negate the situation because the client is giving you a lot of money, you’re at risk of losing your employees. In today’s tight labor market, your employees don’t have to stick around to work for in that environment.

Everyone thinks about “How do I find clients that make me money?” — but quite honestly, the first thing we should be thinking about is “how do I get rid of the clients that cost me money and how do I avoid them down the road?”

That’s what this episode of Build A Better Agency is all about. How you can find and keep clients who don’t cost you money. You can absolutely do this for your agency. And I’m going to show you how.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How agency profitability begins with attracting the right fit clients
  • How to identify the tangible and intangible things that make a client fit the “sweet spot” of your agency
  • Why you should rank every prospect whether they are knocking on your door, or you’re putting together a prospect list, or you’re getting ready to respond to an RFP
  • Why you should consider creating a “Biz Dev” committee within your agency to decide which prospects are the right fit prospects to pursue
  • How to put the “Sophistication Level Factor” to work inside your biz dev process
  • A specific process and tool you can use to kick-off your agency’s relationship with a new client in the right way — so it feels like a celebration and everyone is on the same page
  • How to provide a new client with the proper orientation of what it is like to work with your agency and the team they will be working with on a daily basis
  • The two key pieces to effective client communication and why staying in touch by email is not the answer
  • How a weekly status update can help your AEs gently nag a client so they stay focused on what they need to be doing and providing to your team
  • Why and how you as the agency owner should be spending time with the top 50 percent of your clients — demonstrating how much you love them and how committed you are to their success

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year — Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Resources:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Apr 30, 2018

One of the most rewarding aspects of AMI is that we can give agency owners a sense of perspective. Owning and running an agency is lonely and isolated. You make decisions based on what you know and usually you only know your own reality. I love it when I can shine a light on how other agencies are doing something or a best practice or metric that gives owners confidence that you’re on track or even that you’re ahead of the curve.

Hubspot recently completed a survey of over 1,200 marketing agency decision makers and I was invited to comment on some of the findings. After reading the report, I knew the insights were something we needed to explore together on the podcast.

Tim Dearlove is the Growth Marketing Manager at Hubspot, which as you know is a market leading inbound marketing and sales suite of tools that is very agency centric and they invest a huge amount of time and effort to support agencies all over the globe. (Note: And the presenting sponsor of Build A Better Agency)

Some of the findings will touch on themes you live with every day – the fears and frustrations of any agency owner. There are some trends and practices we’ll call to your attention and some opportunities for you to take the lead over your competition.

We’ll also look at how you can stay ahead of your clients – and the importance of ongoing learning not just for you, but for the talent you hire as well.

It’s an episode full of big ideas and targeted actions you can take to make your agency better and your life a bit easier.  

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Retainers/long-term relationships: why they are great for your agency as well as your clients
  • Retainers that allow your agency to provide services on an ongoing basis while keeping control
  • Some of the mistakes agencies make by not clearly defining what the service is and tying the value directly to the offering
  • Going through the process and making sure the decision to work on a retainer basis is thought out and not just tacked on at the end
  • Why the paid discovery process is the ideal way to enter into a retainer agreement (and why it’s not always possible)
  • The three categories a retainer should have to provide value to the client: optimization, insurance, and strategy
  • How to talk to prospects so they understand the value of an ongoing relationship
  • Three great ways to clearly define and price your services
  • Why your clients will test the boundaries of your agreement if you don’t clearly define them
  • The importance of saying “no” and the right and wrong ways to do it
  • Why consistent, clear communication with ongoing clients is a great way to upsell services
  • Building systems and processes for great internal and external communication
  • Why you have to work on your processes in small increments or they will never get done

Ways to contact Tim Dearlove:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Apr 23, 2018

A frustration for many agencies today is that it’s tough to get clients to commit to ongoing retainers. Post recession, clients are drawn to project work as opposed to the longer-term, on-going work that agencies prefer. There are many factors that play into this and some agencies have cracked the code of earning a client’s confidence and being positioned as an on-going partner.

Barry O'Kane has cracked the code. He has over 18 years of experience as a digital agency owner and a web developer. He and his team work in partnership with social impact organizations and creative agencies to solve their toughest challenges. Barry runs a virtual dev shop called endzone.io, and he also teaches web agencies how create recurring revenue for their shop and recurring value for their clients. He really believes that there are internal processes and systems and that agencies need to consider so they get compensated differently and create a whole new value proposition for themselves and their clients.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Retainers/long-term relationships: why they are great for your agency as well as your clients
  • Retainers that allow your agency to provide services in an ongoing basis while keeping control
  • Some of the mistakes agencies make by not clearly defining what the service is and tying the value directly to the offering
  • Going through the process and making sure the decision to work on a retainer basis is thought out and not just tacked on at the end
  • Why the paid discovery process is the ideal way to enter into a retainer agreement (and why it’s not always possible)
  • The three categories a retainer should have to provide value to the client: optimization, insurance, and strategy
  • How to talk to prospects so they understand the value of an ongoing relationship
  • Three great ways to clearly define and price your services
  • Why your clients will test the boundaries of your agreement if you don’t clearly define them
  • The importance of saying “no” and the right and wrong ways to do it
  • Why consistent, clear communication with ongoing clients is a great way to upsell services
  • Building the systems and processes for great internal and external communication
  • Why you have to work on your processes in small increments or they will never get done

Ways to contact Barry O'Kane:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Apr 16, 2018

It started with the cats. Who knew cats were trend setters but when it comes to video they were on board long before we were! One of the biggest trends I’ve seen over the last five years is the proliferation of video. You can’t go anywhere (Online, mass transit, Times Square or your home security system) without seeing a video these days. And these are not the videos of old. When I started in the business, we make gorgeous videos, shot on film and painstakingly edited for days. Today’s videos can certainly be that but more often than not – they’re run and gun videos that are often shot, edited and posted the same day, if not in real time.

To think any agency can avoid getting proficient at video is a fool’s folly these days and I don’t want ignorance, fear or the “I hate the way I look on video” worry to keep you from evolving your agency’s skills in this area. You simply can’t afford not to be good at video, not to understand how to leverage video and most important – how to create videos for yourself and your clients in a cost effective, profitable way.

That is why I invited George B. Thomas onto the Build A Better Agency podcast. This guy gets video and has a passion around it that is infectious.

George has an interesting past – he’s a recovering youth pastor, a former pub bouncer, but no matter what his title was, he's always been about helping people at different points in their journey. Now he is the Resident Nerd at the Sales Lion, an inbound and content marketing agency helping businesses become rock stars in their markets.

George believes that video is the next step of the inbound marketing evolution. He loves helping businesses wrap their heads around video. As he is quick to tell you – he’s a branding guru, a video marketing ninja, and an inbound Jedi. A little peek into George right there!

When he's not running video workshops or speaking around the world, he's hanging out with his family enjoying the beautiful world that is North Carolina. What I love about George is that he's got an energy and a passion for this, which you will feel in this episode, but he also brings the goods in terms of expertise and he's going to get down to the really needy gritty of telling us not only what to do, but how to do it.

I want you to listen to this conversation through parallel tracks. First, I want you to listen to it while thinking, “how can video help our clients grow their business and improve their customer’s experience?”

But the other lens I want you to be using is, “how do I use video better for the agency and our biz dev efforts?” Some of you are already swimming in these waters but many of you are not. Time to get to it!

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why George believes that getting great at video is the difference between having a successful agency and closing your doors
  • The difference between creative, big budget video that dominated agencies of the past and the much cheaper, revenue-driving videos of today
  • Making quick, easy videos that answer the questions your sales people get the most
  • How to sell clients on making these quick videos
  • The kind of equipment you need to own to make video for yourself and your clients that looks great
  • Everything you need to know to pick the right editing software
  • The skills needed to be great behind the camera and in the editing room
  • The kinds of videos your agency should be producing
  • Why every person in your agency needs a video of themselves in their email signature
  • The danger of being too salesy in your videos
  • How to become more comfortable on camera
  • Why you don’t have to be afraid of live video
  • Misassumptions agencies and other businesses make about video that consumers don’t make
  • Matching the right video to the right platform/audience

Ways to contact George Thomas:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Apr 9, 2018

When I think about this episode, it’s all about voice but not just in the way that you might first assume.

Stephen Woessner and I taught a workshop together in January called Creating Content that Creates Revenue. One of the big themes from that workshop was the idea that most agencies really haven’t defined their distinct point of view. I did a whole solocast on that that really does a deep dive on the topic. But it’s really all about finding your agency’s unique voice and weaving that through all of your content, your website, your new business decks, and your agency’s work.

The second way you can see the theme of voice in this podcast is in the idea of using content as the Trojan Horse of sales, as my guest Stephen coined the phrase. When you give your prospective client a voice through your cornerstone content (podcast, book, video series, blog, etc.) by putting the spotlight on them as a guest or subject matter expert, you can leverage that invitation to create a relationship with them that they’d never welcome if you were just trying to sell them something. Giving them exposure and a voice is the door opener that actually gets them to be interested in you and how you work.

I believe this is one of the most effective and least exploited sales techniques in our space and the agencies who master it will be several steps ahead of their competitors. It completely changes the landscape of the relationship you have with prospects.

Finally, we explore the idea of voice from a channel perspective. Voice controlled devices are becoming very mainstream and there are some huge opportunities for agencies in that space. We explore some of the possibilities as we wrap up the episode.

As you can see – this is an episode that is packed with content and thought ticklers. I can't wait to hear your reaction.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  1. Why success is not only about creating great content but it’s also about creating content that creates revenue for your agency either in the form of sponsorships, new clients, or other opportunities.
  2. How your agency can create your own Trojan Horse of Sales to open doors with your Nano 25 prospects, have a different kind of conversation than what most agencies are having with prospects, and all without your prospect ever feeling like they were a prospect.
  3. How to spotlight the wisdom and insights you collect from your Nano 25 and share that knowledge with your audience – and what happens when you do.
  4. A specific script you can use for a phone call with your Nano 25 to move the business development process forward.
  5. Why it’s important to plant your flag in firm ground using a channel agnostic content strategy.
  6. How monetizing your content extends much further than just attracting new clients sponsorships, speaking engagements, or books.
  7. How “Voice” has become a fast-tracking trend that will be a cultural norm within a year or two.
  8. How strategy and content creation for voice controlled devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home represent opportunities for agencies to jump in and help clients make sense of it all.
  9. How to restructure website content pages to make them more voice search friendly.
  10. Why the agencies that understand how to produce content around their point-of-view that then becomes the search result for voice activated search are going to have a huge advantage over competitors.

Ways to contact Stephen Woessner:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Apr 2, 2018

A lot of agency owners say to me, “Drew, I know you’re running your own agency and I know you’re running AMI. I know you've got some other things on the side like real estate. How in the world do you get it all done and how do you keep yourself organized, on track, and on-time?” So for today’s solocast, I want to talk about how you can get more out of your day.

I know that I may give the impression of being able to get it all done – but I never do. Let me be very clear about that. I don’t. I don’t want to say to you that my “To Do” list is ever empty because it’s not. But it’s manageable and I keep everything moving forward like I need to.

Like many of you, I have spent years trying to crack the nut of my own productivity. I’ve tested tools, tried tricks and heaped hacks into my day. Over the years, I’ve developed a reliable system for managing my world and my day so the most important things get done every day.

And that’s what I’d like to share with you in this solocast. It is my own blend of habits, tools and disciplines that allow me to consistently get all of the important things within AMI, my own agency and the rest of my business dealings done while still being able to take time away to relax and be with family and friends.

It’s possible and it can happen for you, too. I am going to share all of the tools I use, my daily habits, and what I think is my secret weapon for how I move through my day to make it all work.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How I use a task list management tool or electronic “To Do” list to keep myself on track
  • Why I break my to do list into “buckets” so they are easy to manage and less daunting
  • How I use my “secret weapon” to prioritize all my buckets and identify my the three things that absolutely must get done the next day
  • Why I think it is important for me to own and manage my own calendar
  • How I take control by chunking my calendar into time blocks that give me the space I need to get all of the daily priorities done
  • How a simple tool like an orange traffic cone could be a game changer for you and everyone on your team
  • Why I am a huge fan of taking time out and being absent from the office
  • My travel routine for how I set up my hotel room, how I unpack everything to stay organized, and the stuff I keep with me at all times
  • My thought process for deciding if I should keep a task on my list or delegate it to someone on my team
  • My biggest time saving tip
  • How I knit all of this together into a system that keeps me on track and on time

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today. AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Producing the weekly Build A Better Agency podcast
  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year — Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Mar 26, 2018

A healthy agency, on average, loses about 10-15% of their AGI every year through client attrition. That means that just to stay even, you have to sell. If you want to grow – you have to sell. If you want more money to give raises, bonuses or take a little for yourself – you have to sell.

Unfortunately, 95% of agency owners hate to sell. You hire sales people so you don't have to do it. Sadly – they rarely pay for themselves. If you have one that does, do what you have to do to keep them! But in most agencies, the best salesperson is the owner. You can have very different conversations with prospects than anyone else in your shop and based on the research we’ve done with CMOs – those are the conversations that move them through your sales funnel.

That’s why this topic is so vital. You can’t get or keep any momentum in your agency if you’re afraid of sales. Which is why I invited Anthony Iannarino onto the show. He’s a highly respected international speaker, bestselling author, entrepreneur, and sales leader. He specializes in complex B2B sales, which is the world that we are all living in. He’s also a founder and managing partner of two closely-held, family-owned businesses in the staffing industry, and he leads both entities in strategic planning while growing sales.

Anthony is best known for his work on The Sales Blog, which has helped him gain recognition as a top thought leader in sales strategy. He’s also designed what he calls the Level 4 Value Creation and Building Consensus methodologies that help sales organizations achieve transformational, breakthrough results.

A well-known author, Anthony recently released "The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the Ten Commitments That Drive Sales," and man, is that book brilliant. A few years ago he wrote "The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need." I highly recommend them both.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why most entrepreneurs go into sales with the wrong mindset that makes selling an unpleasant experience
  • Why the sales process isn’t linear and how to shift the conversation with a prospect based on where they are in the process
  • The Ten Commitments: the agreements that you need from your prospects along the sale’s path in order for a sale to happen
  • How giving a prospect the price too early can blow the sale
  • Why it’s so important to slow down and build trust
  • Talking to people with genuine interest in them and what they need
  • Consistently providing a ton of value to your prospects so that you stay top-of-mind when something changes in their business and they have a need
  • Why getting to the point where you get to have a conversation with a prospect is the most difficult part of sales (and how to actually reach that point)
  • Why you should never let a prospect sit alone with a proposal and the specific language you should use so that it doesn’t happen

Ways to contact Anthony Iannarino:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Mar 19, 2018

The truth is that our world as agency owners is in constant flux. Think back to the Mad Men days when we didn’t charge clients anything for creative or strategy. We lived and died off media commissions. That wasn’t hundreds of years ago, that was just a few decades ago. So it’s no big shock that our industry is, yet again, undergoing a transformation.

We’ve seen it coming for a while and for many of you, this may be something you’ve already been thinking about or experimenting with inside your shop.

Most agencies have been playing footsie with content. Your shop may be the exception but for most agencies, they’re good at creating content in volume but we’ve been too focused on getting done and not the true strategy underneath. It’s time for us (for both ourselves and our clients) to get serious about what thought leadership means, owning a distinct point of view/position and leveraging that point of view to generate revenue.

That’s why I was excited to have Robert Rose on the podcast. Robert’s most recent book that he published in September with colleague Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute is called "Killing Marketing” and it’s going to really stretch your mind in terms of what is possible and what’s coming next for us as agency folks.

Robert Rose is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of the Content Advisory which is a consulting and advisory group of the Content Marketing Institute. As a strategist, Robert has worked with over 500 companies including global brands like Capital One, Dell, Ernst & Young, HP, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

He's the author of three books including "Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing," a book about how marketing is shifting. It was called "a treatise and a call-to-arms for marketers to lead business innovation in the 21st Century."  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The rapid changes in the agency business and why those changes are coming more fast and furious than ever before
  • Why agencies need to make a big investment if they want to survive (and why so often they just splash around in the water until it’s too late)
  • Using content marketing to build an audience for your clients based on their specific needs
  • How to use your engaged audience to find more people like them with Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube’s lookalike audiences
  • Why you can’t expect clients to want to work with you if you don’t invest in your own marketing
  • Why Robert believes that your agency blog isn’t usually the best place to host your content (and where you should write instead)
  • Getting back on track when you find yourself falling into the trap of creating generalist content
  • Building client trust by helping them transform into something new
  • Why agencies have always been good at creating stuff for clients but why strategy and measurement need to be our new norm
  • How to start working with a C-Suite level person when your current client contact is not as high up
  • Why a media centric agency is the best kind of agency to build today (and how to retrofit your agency to become a media centric agency)

Ways to contact Robert Rose:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Mar 12, 2018

Agencies are in an all-out talent war these days. New business is coming faster and easier. Your clients had a good year and so did you. But if you’re like many agency owners, you’re actually considering shutting down the biz dev spigot because you can’t find and keep the staff to service the new growth. When you see it in writing, it’s ridiculous, right? But if you’re struggling with staffing, you’re not alone. Agencies like yours are the training ground for other agencies, clients building an in-house department and corporations who are going to pay a premium for your best talent.

We have to find ways to attract and keep key hires or we’re going to be on a treadmill forever. We can talk culture, we can talk creative benefits like sabbaticals, and we can even talk about assessments that identify people who are born to work in an agency. As compelling as all of that is, it’s tough to compete with money.

That’s what intrigued me about Kevin Monaghan and his strategies to help protect, incentivize, and compensate minority owners and key employees. Kevin and his team at Intuitive Compensation Group work with businesses to create compensation packages that keep your people in place, feeling rewarded and valued.

Today, Kevin speaks all over the country and helps business owners, partnerships, business brokers (buyers & sellers), and key employees align their goals with workable compensation models that incentivize over time without running into some of the roadblocks of giving away equity or being stuck with a minority stake in a company where you can’t control dividend distribution.

Interestingly, while taking a break from the business sector early in his career, Kevin briefly worked as a writer’s assistant for two of NBC’s top comedies, “The Office” and “Parks & Recreation.”  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why giving equity to employees can be a dangerous situation
  • Cash value life insurance is a way to fund a golden handcuff plan that ensures you get money back if the employee leaves (the employee can’t touch this money for a certain amount of time passes)
  • Putting money behind compensation promises so that both the business owner and the employee knows what they’re walking away from if they decide to part ways
  • Different ways to structure cash value life insurance policies so that the burden of tax falls to the agency, the employee, or a combination of the two (and examples of times where each of these would be appropriate)
  • How to use these cash value life insurance policies to set up your agency to be sold when you’re ready to retire
  • Figuring out what matters to the seller and the buyer when heading into an agency sale
  • What happens when an agency owner sticks around after selling the agency
  • The right and wrong ways to compensate young employees that you want to keep but you know aren’t even close to being ready for any agency ownership
  • What benefits young employees really want
  • Why it doesn’t hurt to start planning for your retirement / selling of your agency early

Ways to contact Kevin Monaghan:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Mar 5, 2018

I don’t believe in life/work balance. When I was a kid, my “work dad” would come home from the bank in his three-piece suit and he’d go upstairs and my “home dad” would come downstairs in jeans, looking for his martini and the download of our day while my mom cooked dinner.

Sounds very Leave it to Beaver, doesn’t it? It really was. My dad didn’t have a computer or a cell phone. I can remember the only time the office called him at home – the bank building was on fire. But other than that – there was complete separation of work and home life.

We do not have that luxury. At best, we can strive for life/work blend. Our personal lives will seep into the work day and our work will seep into our personal time. But for many agency owners, what that translates to is that you are always on and always working.

That’s not only unhealthy for you but it’s unhealthy for your business. You simply can’t grow your agency if you have to do everything that’s mission critical.

That’s the conversation I wanted to have with Scott Beebe who is a strategist, teacher, and business coach for My Business On Purpose. He is also the host of the Business on Purpose podcast.

Scott is all about about liberating small business owners from the chaos of working in their business and helping them get their lives back by being really clear about what their business is about, what they want to get out of the business, where they have unique opportunities to contribute to the business, and where they need to get out of the way.

His background includes direct and B2B sales, designing and implementing organizational strategy, training and development, marketing and fundraising, along with teaching and speaking.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The two biggest non-negotiables for agencies today
  • The value in building out a detailed company vision and reinforcing it regularly in team meetings
  • Understanding what clients you should and should not work with based on your company vision
  • Your mission statement: a portable, 15-word version of your vision story
  • Why you need to have 3-5 core values that are unique to you (hint: not table stables like respect, responsibility, excellence, etc.)
  • Scott’s spreadsheet for figuring out what tasks you can keep as the agency owner and which ones you should delegate
  • How to document processes so everyone is on the same page and can wear multiple hats
  • Using team meetings to stay on top of the week’s work and why you should end every team meeting with training
  • How to delegate to people who may not be your direct reports without throwing your agency into chaos and confusion
  • The four steps to achieving business freedom
  • Reinvesting your time into things that matter once you’ve delegated tasks away and have significant free time

Ways to contact Scott Beebe:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Feb 26, 2018

Have you ever walked around Times Square? I was in New York City last week, and if you’ve ever been here before, you know it’s crazy. With all the lights, the billboards, the chaos, the signage, and the people dancing and handing out flyers – it’s just sensory overload.

The eight blocks or so radius that makes up Times Square is a study in advertising and in messaging, sort of both from an old school and new school perspective.

It made me think about one of the realities in both life in general but certainly in our life in the marketing and agency business, and that is that there is no such thing as a constant. Even the most constant of constants, like out-of-home advertising, keep changing and evolving over time. The truth of the matter is, for all of us, no matter what channel we display our message on, no matter where we are talking about the work we do and the kind of clients we serve, the channel is changing.

So if you’ve got a robust Facebook page for your agency, that’s awesome, but you know that in five years, it’s going to be something different. If you are writing incredible blog content, or you’re producing a podcast, whatever it may be, there may be remnants of what we’re doing today around in five years, but the odds are that it’s going to look different, just like these outdoor boards here on Broadway look very different than they did back in the ’40s and the ’50s.

The other thing I noticed was I was watching the messaging for the plays and the restaurants and the souvenir shops, all of them, they all look and sound the same. We all face that problem too. I think one of the biggest challenges for agencies is how do you not look like everybody else? How do you differentiate yourself? We’re great at doing this for clients, but when it comes to doing it for ourselves, we really, really struggle.

This was actually a big part of the conversation that we had in the Creating Content That Creates Revenue Workshop back in January. We started day one by talking about how the reality for all of us is that the channels keep changing and so our presence in a channel isn’t enough to differentiate us. We have to have something that makes us stand out.

We talked a lot about having a unique point of view and about really understanding what your agency was all about. Where do you plant that flag? How do you plant that flag in firm ground so that, no matter what changes, that belief is rock solid? It needs to be so firmly anchored in the ground that you know it’s not going to be blown away by whatever fad or change is coming down the pike.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. For agencies, we all have to be able to define that for our prospects and clients. Why us? Why us over somebody else?

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Staying on top of the ever-changing channels for distributing our messages
  • The struggle agencies face in differentiating themselves
  • Planting the flag of your unique POV so firmly that you don’t feel tempted to change away from what’s important to you when a new fad comes around
  • Why you can’t afford to compete on price or proximity
  • Your unique POV: what you know to be true that you talk to clients about all the time
  • Figuring out what your best, most profitable clients have in common, even if it’s not an industry (and it often isn’t!)
  • Why you should have three different niches
  • How your unique POV combined with your niche industry knowledge makes you look and sound different from your competitors
  • Building your website to show off your POV
  • Infusing your POV into every piece of content you create
  • A litmus test for figuring out if you’ve defined your POV
  • How your POV attracts the right prospects and repels the wrong ones

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year — Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Feb 19, 2018

I don’t know about you, but I never feel quite caught up. Thanks to my high tech Post It Note strategy (Every night I list the 3 things, and no more, I must get done the next day and put it on my laptop) I get the most critical things done but there’s always more to do.

What saves my bacon every day is that I have a superb team around me and they have systems and processes that allow them to work miracles and keep me on the straight and narrow. Like most agency owners, I have a short attention span and it’s easy for me to get distracted. Our systems pull me back to center.

Every business is made up of processes and systems, whether you have them documented or not. If your systems are informal or tribal, then odds are you and your team aren’t being as efficient or effective as you could be. You are literally trying to shove more work into a system that is simply too small.

That’s where my podcast guest, Terry Ogburn comes in. He works with entrepreneurs and their teams to create repeatable success through a system he developed through his own experience and the teachings of some of his favorite business books.

Terry Ogburn is the owner and Lead Business Coach of Ogburn’s Business Solutions. His proprietary coaching system and personal devotion to the development of others has contributed to the success of hundreds of small to large business ventures.

Terry began his business career in 1979 when he invested his last $118.42 to start an air conditioning service business. At that time, he had no car or truck, but he did have the knowledge and ability to build relationships. By 1983, he was a top 5 nominee for Small Businessman of the Year. In 1985, successful in his business and recognized as a leader in the business community, he began to mentor other small business owners.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How the absence of good, repeatable systems keeps a business from growing
  • Terry’s eight steps of business development that can be applied to every business
  • Why you need job descriptions for every process inside your agency (and why each description doesn’t need to equal a full time employee)
  • Removing your ego from your business
  • What numbers agency owners need to look at, even if you don’t like numbers
  • Protecting your bottom line by passing costs on to your customers
  • How to carve out the time to work on your business when you are busy working in the business
  • Creating a business development plan

Ways to contact Terry Ogburn:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Feb 12, 2018

It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing my agency owner hat or my AMI hat, branding is one of the topics that I always love to talk about. It's one of the few things in our world that has stayed consistent. It's very difficult today to survive and thrive if you are indistinguishable from your competitors. I know many of you spend a lot of time and energy developing brands for your clients but struggle when it comes to articulating your own brand in a way that is easy to grasp and actually is distinct.

When I think about brand, Derrick Daye, one of the preeminent thought leaders in branding for the last ten years or more comes to mind. You may be familiar with Derrick; in 2006 he launched a website called Branding Strategy Insider. Back in the day it was a blog about branding, and today, it still functions that way, but for many people, it’s a branding bible of sorts. Derrick and his team use real examples and case studies to teach the art and science of brand.

It was also the launching pad for Derrick and his company, The Blake Project. It's where they launch research around branding, and dissect the best brands and what they're doing. It's a great resource for agencies and client side professionals to learn about cutting-edge thinking when it comes to branding.

My conversation with Derrick was all about what he’s learned about defining and building brands like the White House Press Corps, Coca-Cola, and the National Parks of New York Harbor, when they were trying to re-think the Statue of Liberty and how it could continue to be an icon for tourists and for all Americans in NYC and throughout the country.

We got into methodologies, branding clients, getting back into the C-Suite and much more. I think you’re going to find yourself taking notes.

Before Derrick launched The Blake Project, he spent about 20 years in advertising. He worked for Saatchi & Saatchi and several other agencies and then decided that he wanted to change his career a little bit and he wanted to go on the consulting side of the business.

Since then, Derrick has been working in many countries across the world, working with national brands. He has worked with everyone from He's done some really interesting work.

Today he spends a lot of time helping agencies to figure out how to articulate their own brand and how they can work with clients to put together the strategy behind a client's brand.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Derrick’s work helping brands figure out their unique value in their own marketplaces
  • How brand consultancies (like The Blake Project) do strategic work that define the brand and then hand it off to brand agencies who take that strategic work and bring it to life
  • Why you’ll never be able to differentiate your agency with creative, people, process, methodology, global network
  • How to rely on your relationship skills to develop new business
  • Why your agency’s brand is all about your distinct POV and why you need to focus on the customers that love that POV, not the customers that are the easiest sale
  • The three things brands need to lead today
  • Why consultancies have better access to CEOs than agencies do and how agencies can get into the C-Suite conversation
  • Turning prospects into clients by showcasing creative that had a great ROI rather than touting awards
  • Figuring out what a brand is fighting against and making sure that fight aligns with their goals
  • Derrick’s Un-Conference which is built on the idea that people learn better in small groups and groups marketers up in teams for “competitive learning”

Ways to contact Derrick Daye:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Feb 5, 2018

One of the most common challenges agencies of all sizes are facing right now is the finding the right people to add to the team. Client budgets and programs are growing, new business is getting a little easier and so everything should be rosey. But when you don’t have the right team to get the work done – it’s frustrating and frightening.

10-15 years ago the prevailing attitude was that agencies needed everyone under one roof. After all the work is so collaborative. But when the recession hit and people had to reduce fixed expenses to survive, many agencies who swore they would never use freelancers or hire someone virtual crossed over and did just that.

That’s why I was so interested in talking to Nathan Hirsch, the co-founder and CEO of FreeeUp.com, the hands-on hiring marketplace connecting hundreds of online business owners with reliable, pre-vetted remote workers. Nathan can also be found on leading podcasts, such as Entrepreneur on Fire and Eventual Millionaire, speaking about online hiring tactics.

If you listen with an open mind and a willingness to consider something different – I think you might get some interesting ideas about your own talent pool.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Remote workers give business owners an opportunity to level up their talent at a cheaper cost than traditional employees
  • The advantages freelancers bring to agencies
  • The idea of creating your own marketplace with your freelance pool so they compete with each other and always deliver their best work
  • How the freelance business is changing and freelancers have their own team working for them
  • Why Nathan believes you should pay freelancers on an hourly model
  • How Nathan’s company Freeeup helps its freelancers work with agencies so everyone wins
  • Minimizing risk when working with freelancers and what Freeeup does to make its freelancers less risky than other freelancers
  • Structuring interviews to weed out the wrong freelancers before you start working together
  • Tools to work more effectively with freelancers and virtual employees
  • The pros and cons of having your employees work remotely
  • Creating a feeling of collaboration and teamwork when your team doesn’t see each other regularly
  • Why allowing an in-office employee to go virtual rarely ever works
  • The importance of diversifying when you’re hiring

Ways to contact Nathan Hirsch:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Jan 29, 2018

Joe Kashurba started a freelance web design business when he was in high school and grew it into a digital agency with a world-class team and clients around the world. He went from building $300 websites to building $30,000 websites and managing 6-figure digital advertising budgets for some of the largest manufacturing and construction companies.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Joe’s agency that started when he was in high school
  • Why you’ll never get consistent clients without consistent marketing
  • Selling results instead of technology and why prospects respond better to that approach
  • How to know whether it’s better to have in-house employees or an outsourced team in any given area in digital
  • Evaluating digital partners that offer services that you understand but don’t know how to do
  • Using analog marketing tactics when you have time but not money to devote to your marketing
  • Why it’s hard to scale when you try to be everything to everyone
  • The cost of offering complex services
  • How Joe manages his completely virtual team
  • The differences between selling products and services
  • Clearly defining what you offer in a package to prevent scope creep
  • What to do to get caught up on digital trends if you feel you’re really far behind (and how to stay ahead if you’re on top of it)

Ways to contact Joe Kashurba:

Resources:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Jan 22, 2018

It’s funny what a single question can do. I was all set to record this week’s solocast about the content from the workshop I taught earlier in the week and then someone asked me a question that took me in a completely different direction. The direction of how much agency owners need a posse.

I’ll get to the workshop content next time but for this solocast I followed the nudge of the question and talked about how agency owners can surround themselves with people who understand the grind and who can make the journey a little less lonely and frustrating.

We’ll talk about the different kinds of groups out there that serve as coaches, mentors, support teams and accountability buddies. We’ll explore why this matters and how it can serve you and your business. But most of all we’ll talk about how much easier life and work can be when you have a posse!

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today. AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year — he has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The pros and cons of local business networking groups and what you can hope to get from one
  • The importance of creating genuine connections inside your posse so they become your greatest supporters on both the best and worst days as a business owner
  • How to build a mastermind group from scratch and fill it with the right peers
  • The accountability that comes from having a strong peer group
  • Being a good member of a peer group is about giving first. You will gain in proportion to what you give
  • Why being an agency owner is one of the toughest jobs in the world and why AMI was started to give agency owners other owners in noncompetitive markets to confide in
  • The virtual and in-person peer networks that AMI offers to pair agencies up with other agencies in non-competing markets

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Jan 15, 2018

Duane Melius has worked eight years in journalism, social enterprise, and media production in London and over six years across Southeast Asia in a digital agency environment. He’s previously had clients in banking, automotive, food & hospitality, FMCG, entertainment, and more, and those clients have been both B2B and B2C. He has millions of dollars of Digital campaign experience. Duane specializes in growing teams that use digital channels to reach niche and mass audiences with ROI-enabled campaigns, activities, and retainers.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The challenges traditional agencies are facing in going digital
  • Why you need to use digital in your personal life to be able to sell it (and why your team needs to do the same to create great digital content)
  • The importance of mastering the area of digital your agency has as its core competency while keeping familiar with other areas
  • Staying on top of what’s new in digital
  • Qualities that make for great digital employees
  • Using reporting to show your clients how your digital efforts are improving
  • Ways to interview for new digital skillsets that you don’t have inside your agency yet
  • Using a multi-step approval process to make sure mistakes don’t get made with digital content
  • Making the content approval process easier on clients -- especially when there is compliance involved
  • The good and the bad of digital tools (and why there’s often more bad than good, especially with social media)
  • Why clients might start to take their social media in-house and what agencies can do to stay invaluable
  • Unlocking the competitive advantage which exists within your people

Ways to contact Duane Melius:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Jan 8, 2018

As soon as I heard the tax law had passed, I made one call – to Eric Levenhagen, my personal tax advisor who has helped me craft my own tax strategy for years and today works with many agency owners across the country.

I had two questions for him: 1) How do we need to alter the tactics we’ve been applying for my businesses and 2) Will you be on my podcast and help my listeners understand how the tax laws will impact them?

As you’ll hear, we got right to the heart of the matter and spent the entire episode talking specifics about how we can take advantage of the new law and what we’re going to have to shift because it’s no longer advantageous or possible.

I hope you’ll listen and walk away feeling like you have a better handle how the new tax law is going to impact your agency and your personal finances.

Eric Levenhagen founded ProWise Financial Coaching (formerly known as ProWise Tax & Accounting) in 2005 Eric’s mission is to perform a comprehensive service for his clients, unlike any other firm out there, and help clients lead a life of financial abundance.

Eric is both a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Tax Coach who integrates both disciplines into a holistic, client-centered approach towards maximizing his clients after-tax income and wealth.

Outside of the office, Eric enjoys spending time with his wife and kids. His hobbies include reading, following college and professional football, and music. Finally, Eric is an aspiring traveler and hopes to be able to take his family many places around the world someday.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What isn’t changing with the new tax law
  • The big deduction changes you need to know about (both for S Corps and C Corps)
  • Income pass through: the specifics of the 20% deduction you will now get on income that rolls down to your personal taxes from your agency and any other businesses you may own (as long as you don’t make too much)
  • Why we don’t know everything about the new tax law yet (and why it will take months or years to figure everything out)
  • The loopholes that are going to appear in the next few years and why you need a tax strategist (and not just a tax preparer) to find you those loopholes
  • How the new tax law will impact agencies that make stuff for clients and those that consult and sell their knowledge as a stand alone product
  • How the way C Corps get taxed will help those making over $100,000 in net income but hurt those making under that threshold
  • Are there any things that agency owners should shift from their personal taxes back to the business?
  • Keeping versatility in your tax plan so you’re not stuck if and when things change again when the tax law changes again
  • How to get your money out of your agency to invest elsewhere under the new tax law (and why it differs for S Corps and C Corps)

Ways to contact Eric Levenhagen:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Jan 1, 2018

Jeremy Knight spent 20 years as a B2B publisher creating publications for the private equity and fast growth business sectors. With digital technology, the Internet, and social web Jeremy believed making clients the publisher in a new media age was not just a good idea, it was the foundation for building a business. After all, building an audience was a better proposition than renting a list or leveraging third party routes to market, right? He launched Equinet Media in January 2009.

Discovering HubSpot in 2011 was a game changer. The blending of a content marketing play with an inbound methodology propelled the business forward as everything we did for clients had measurable outcomes. Today Equinet is an Inbound Agency, working specifically for the manufacturing and professional services sectors, operating on the EOS system and delivering services through an agile scrum process.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Jeremy’s transition from publisher to agency owner and the challenges he faced in that transition
  • How Hubspot changed the game for Equinet -- even when it was far less powerful in 2011 than it is today
  • Why CMOs are going to lead revenue and why sales and marketing are two halves of the same whole
  • Hiring for attitude and training for aptitude instead of hiring based on skills alone
  • Why you need to focus on developing different skills in all your team member when you keep all the work inside your agency and never outsource anything
  • Why your team needs to have access to and understanding of the tools inside a tool like Hubspot, even if using them is not part of their day-to-day job
  • What Agile is and how its point-based system works
  • Learning how to implement Agile into your agency so that it matches up with inbound
  • Why Agile doesn’t work the same for every agency and why you need to be ready to customize it
  • Using Agile to figure out what works needs to be done to achieve the best results
  • Why Jeremy uses two sets of points within Agile -- one for the value it provides a customer and another for the effort it takes his team

Ways to contact Jeremy Knight:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Dec 25, 2017

Lindsay Grinstead & Bill Boris-Schacter have lived and breathed the experiential marketing space collectively for over 50 years. They started Tonic Consulting Group to take that experience and help other live event agencies, and their partners, grow both their top and bottom line. Through their combined experience, they bring an operations and sales expertise to their clients.

Lindsay has worn a sales & marketing hat for her clients and her agency throughout her career. In her 15 years at Jack Morton Worldwide, she grew small accounts into huge ones and created a few award-winning programs along the way. Lindsay understands the challenges in finding and winning new business and how to organically grow business. She expertly navigated Fortune 500 companies, maximizing opportunities for revenue growth.

Every client calls Tonic looking to "grow". Lindsay & Bill help their clients identify what is hampering their growth, develop a roadmap to success and then roll up their sleeves & help implement the recommended changes.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Treating your employees as your first audience
  • The importance of continually refining your agency’s message
  • Why your agency must specialize
  • Why agencies struggle seeing themselves (and their problems) clearly
  • What happens to your agency if you take an opportunity that doesn’t fit your niche
  • Using working documents to continually hone your agency’s message and why you need to have your team define your agency in their own words
  • Why your clients need to have relationships with more than just one person inside your agency
  • The dangers of keeping around employees that aren’t pulling their weight (even if they’ve been incredibly loyal to your agency for a long time)
  • Why social media may not be the best place to get on your prospects’ radar screens
  • Increasing the amount of work you do for clients who already love you
  • Learning how to build your budgets and staff accordingly with the AOR relationships on the decline

Ways to contact Lindsay Grinstead:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Dec 18, 2017

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. For the past 23+ years, he has also owned and operated his own agency. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an active agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year — he has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Agency ownership is challenging – be sure you maximize the benefits as well
  • Get real about your compensation – chart out all of the ways the agency compensates you with pre-tax dollars for things you’d spend post tax dollars on otherwise
  • All of our compensation isn’t monetary. You also have other amazing benefits and perks that come with owning the joint
  • Putting your agency at the core of your retirement plan -- even if it doesn’t sell (most don’t)
  • Building your wealth outside your agency while you still own it
  • The danger of leaving too much of your own money inside the business
  • Ways to invest your agency profits

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Dec 11, 2017

Based in Dallas, Stephanie Chung and Associates offer sales training, executive coaching, and small business mentorship services nationwide. Among her products is the High Ticket Selling Made Simple course, designed to help small business owners sell more and make more. As a former sales executive in the aviation and private jet industry, Stephanie has mastered the art of high ticket selling and has mentored, coached, and developed some of the highest paid, most elite, sales professionals in the country.

Serving business leaders, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals, Stephanie Chung uses her proven executive coaching and sales training expertise to drive your top line sales. Chung is an executive coach, trainer and advisor backed by more than 25 years of team management, business development, and sales leadership experience. Chung is also a public speaker, a contributor on ABC, CBS, NBC and author of “Profit Like a Girl: A Woman's Guide to Kicking Butt in Sales and Leadership” and “Embrace the Suck: How to Grow and Succeed in Business.”  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Doing sales right by caring about who you’re selling to and solving their problem
  • How to identify your ideal prospects and actually get in front of them
  • The importance of adding value beyond what you broadcast on your website
  • How letting people talk about themselves increases the chance of a sale
  • Why the agency owner is the best person to make the sale
  • What to do to get comfortable with sales
  • The five stages of sales
  • Making the close extremely easy by setting it up from the beginning
  • The importance of not being vague about when you’re going to follow up
  • The preemptive strike: overcoming common objections from buyers by bringing them up yourself first
  • Using silence as a tool when selling
  • Why you can’t afford to spend time chasing people around
  • How to get people to want to be your client

Ways to contact Betsy McLarney:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Dec 4, 2017

With 19 years of Outdoor Advertising experience, Betsy McLarney has planned, managed, and executed many fully integrated Out of Home (OOH) advertising campaigns throughout North America and worldwide.

Today she leads a team of experienced, dedicated strategists who help clients maximize the potential of Outdoor advertising (OOH), by complementing a robust integrated media plan. EMC Outdoor works seamlessly with their agency clients or direct with a brand’s media department to deliver pitch-perfect programs and outstanding results each and every time. Complete client satisfaction is their ultimate goal.  

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Out of Home (OOH) media: what is it?
  • How digital outdoor advertising really makes the experience come alive for consumers
  • Using OOH to hit consumers with messages at multiple touch points throughout their day
  • It’s not just for B2C: how B2B can utilize OOH to enhance their campaigns
  • Using street teams effectively to get your message out to live people
  • Why OOH isn’t just for national brands and can be used effectively for even local campaigns
  • Matching the budget to where the OOH campaign can be the most effective
  • Can OOH still be the main means of advertising?
  • How OOH makes digital advertising more effective
  • Creating buzz by finding creative ways to place ads outdoors
  • Why outdoors isn’t the place to tell a big story

Ways to contact Betsy McLarney:

Resources:

  • Outdoor Advertising Association of America: oaaa.org

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

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