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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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Now displaying: March, 2018
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!

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