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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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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!

Nov 27, 2017

Ryan O'Donnell is a midwest kid who moved to NYC after college and landed a job on Wall Street making 500 calls a day. He hated it, followed a passion for tech, and ended up joining a company early that eventually sold to Yahoo for $850M. He grew a business unit from $0 - $20M and left Yahoo to startup.

Fast forward 3 meandering years trying to generate sales and Ryan decided to build a product to speed up the time to revenue for any business selling a product or service B2B called Sellhack. He’s successfully running this company today, helping his clients get in front of the right prospects faster and with a better close rate than they’d been doing on their own. He’s a father of 3, husband, and hobbyist prepper, and he’s in relentless pursuit of scratch golf.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why sales is all about automation and efficiency
  • Using data to take the guesswork out of the prospect search
  • Crafting compelling emails to prospects based on what you know about their competition (that you already work with)
  • Figuring out how many prospects you need to capture every week at the top of your sales funnel in order to get the number of new leads you need at the bottom of the funnel
  • SellHack’s algorithm for verifying the email address of a person who you might just know their name and company
  • Replyify: a tool specifically devised for sending out cold email campaigns and building a sales process to contact prospects in other ways
  • Strategies for crafting an email that works for cold selling B2B products and services
  • How and when to ask to schedule time with a prospect
  • Tiering your offerings and basing communication with prospects based on the tier
  • Using the ideas from this podcast not only inside your agency, but also with your clients

Ways to contact Ryan O'Donnell:

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!

Nov 20, 2017

Sam Mallikarjunan is a Marketing Fellow at HubSpot and former Head of Growth at HubSpot Labs, the somewhat-secret experimental arm of the world’s #1 Sales & Marketing platform. Sam teaches Advanced Digital Marketing at the Harvard Division of Continuing Education, and he is also the co-author of the book How To Sell Better Than Amazon (which, thanks to the publisher, is ironically available for purchase on Amazon).  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The way the internet has changed selling so that there’s almost too much information
  • How salespeople can help consumers sift through the breadth of information out there
  • Structuring sales calls so they’re all about asking the buyers questions about their business
  • The power of inbound: competition where no one else is competing
  • Learning to say no to bad revenue
  • Why you need to build buyer personas -- both for your ideal customers and customers that you don’t want to do business with because they’re going to cost you money
  • Why clients need agencies to teach them what to do -- not how to do it
  • Getting involved with your client’s complete business -- including the sales side of their business
  • How to get your clients to treat your agency like a partner instead of a vendor

Ways to contact Sam Mallikarjunan:

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!

Nov 13, 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:

  • Why all agencies weren’t made to grow to the same size (and why that’s okay)
  • Why agency owners have to work extremely hard when they’re at 0-5 employees and why all the employees in an agency that size have to wear multiple hats
  • The bench strength problem for agencies with 5-12 employees and why there might only be one employee with a certain skill and no one to back them up
  • Why the systems in processes must change for an agency once it hits 12 employees
  • The change around 15 employees that takes an agency from being a family to being a team
  • The decision-making process: why decisions are made collectively before agencies reach 12 employees and why agency owners need to take more autonomy at times as the agency grows
  • Why around 35 employees is a great size for agencies in terms of cash flow (and why a gorilla client can be very dangerous at this point)
  • Bigger, better clients and bigger, better employees: why 35-65 employees is the point where agencies “level up”
  • Why bigger doesn’t equal more profitable for agencies anymore

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!

Nov 6, 2017

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of Content Marketing Institute which is now a UBM company. It is the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s fifth book “Killing Marketing” was just released. His third book, “Epic Content Marketing” was named one of “Five Must-Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The evolution of content marketing
  • Focusing on your core verticals to help clients out with some part of the process that they’re terrible at
  • How agencies can help clients build an audience of people that knows, likes, and trusts them and how that has a large impact over time
  • Why elevating someone to the status of an expert with content marketing is a long-term process
  • Focusing on clients that already value and have a budget for content marketing
  • How delivering value to prospects on a long-term basis will all you to do business with them without going through an RFP
  • How getting your audience to know, like, and trust you with content marketing will allow you to sell easily
  • Some of the many different ways to monetize your customer list
  • Changing the defined idea of marketing to match consumer behavior
  • Why you can’t be everything to everybody and need to focus on a niche
  • Why your sliver of opportunity to get started in on a niche is right now

Ways to contact Joe Pulizzi:

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!

Oct 30, 2017

Steve Boehler is a founding partner at Mercer Island Group - a strategic management and marketing consultancy. The company has three key practice areas: strategic business consulting, organization effectiveness, and client-agency relationships. They help companies and executives succeed. One of the ways they do that is by helping them better position themselves and sell more effectively by better bonding with prospects around the prospects' needs. They work with agencies of all sizes and types as well as consult to major clients in the US and across the globe like Microsoft, Ulta Beauty, PetSmart, Starbucks and many other fine firms.

Steve started his career at Procter & Gamble - in his decade there he was the second youngest brand manager in that venerable company's history, turned around the Pringle's business, led Jif Peanut Butter to market leadership, and turned around the Tide business.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why clients likely don’t know about your agency and why you have to make yourself findable
  • The importance of consistency with content creation
  • Making your pitch unique so that it stands out from other agencies (and why agencies struggle with this so much)
  • Selling and pitching: why it’s all about the prospect and their business and not about you
  • The importance of doing your homework and actually bringing that homework into your presentation
  • What to ask every client person in a pitch meeting to get them all involved
  • Why you need to get prospects to agree to an agenda for a pitch meeting
  • How getting prospects to define a problem helps to get them to buy into your solution
  • Why you need to limit how you introduce your agency in a pitch to five slides (and what should be on those slides)
  • What to leave with a prospect after the pitch
  • Why you have to pitch to win

Ways to contact Steve Boehler:

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!

Oct 23, 2017

Luke Summerfield wakes up each morning excited to discover, experience, and share moments of inspirations. He does this at HubSpot, advising startups, writing, and speaking.

He founded the Growth-Driven Design movement which is transforming the world of web design. In the first twelve months, they grew from 0 -> 940 agencies in 50 countries offering GDD services to clients. Previous to HubSpot, Luke helped grow a digital marketing agency until it was acquired in 2014.

Outside of work, he trains Mixed Martial Arts / Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and rough houses with his pug puppy, Mac.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Growth-driven design: what this “smarter way to do web design” is all about
  • Why the platform you use for your website doesn’t matter with growth-driven design
  • How growth-driven design was born out of the pain both agencies and clients felt around web development and why this system is so much better than previous ways of doing web dev
  • Step 1: getting an empathetic understanding of your client’s audience’s world
  • Step 2: building a “launch pad” website -- something that looks and performs better than what the client already has but is not the final product
  • Step 3: continually improving websites
  • How to sell and price growth-driven design to clients
  • Why you should always sell at least 15 hours a month of growth-driven design and why you need at least a six month engagement from a client
  • The stats that prove that growth-driven design gets more leads than traditional design
  • Why growth-driven design still works great when you outsource the coding piece of web design
  • All the assets Luke has on his website

Ways to contact Luke Summerfield:

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!

Oct 16, 2017

Gerald Sexton is Director of Employee Enablement at Goodway Group.

Gerald joined Goodway in early 2016 and brings significant experience in leveraging human resources to improve business performance and employee experience. Throughout his career, he has worked in the consulting, medical, aerospace and defense, and satellite-entertainment industries. His most recent position as Senior Human Resources (HR) Manager for DIRECTV’s premier customer-retention center in Boise, Idaho, allowed him to demonstrate just how much impact a strong HR partnership can have. Using an integrated approach with site leadership, Gerald helped the site reduce attrition by 7 percent, creating three million in cost savings.

He holds a BS in psychology and an MA in organizational psychology. His fascination with solving complex problems in organizations led him to a career in HR with a strong emphasis on talent and organizational development.

Gerald has a passion for cooking and enjoys traveling (and eating food from) all over the world. He lives in Boise with his wife, Robyn, and daughter, Rowan.  

“Leaders of virtual teams need to be great at giving feedback and being transparent.” - Gerald Sexton

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The history of Goodway Group
  • How Goodway succeeds with a virtual company with employees in 41 states
  • The best tools for managing a virtual company
  • What Gerald looks for in the hiring process to figure out if someone is suited for the hiring process or not
  • Why Goodway looks at their team members results -- not their hours working
  • How to build and maintain a strong company culture when running a virtual team
  • Goodway’s twice-yearly all company meet-up
  • The costs involved in a virtual team
  • The benefits of working from home -- both on personal and business life
  • Giving your team the freedom to plan out their day in a way that works best for them
  • Why leaders of virtual teams need to be great at giving feedback and being transparent
  • Why -- if you’re not comfortable going all virtual -- you should start small -- but not too small -- and build from there
  • Benefits Goodway offers their employees that they couldn’t offer if they had a physical location
  • How to get started trying going virtual

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!

Oct 9, 2017

Drew McLellan is the Top Dog 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:

  • Why the days where creative led agencies have passed and why creative has been replaced by strategy, content, and lead gen
  • The shortage of writers compared to the abundance of art directors and why that’s a pretty big issue for agencies
  • Why creative directors aren’t in that high of demand anymore, and what traditional creative directors look like in the agencies that have them
  • Administrative, account service, and creative services: the three departments that make up most agencies today
  • The triad of leadership - a writer, art director, and digital producer lead the creative services department in lieu of a creative director
  • Why you don’t usually even need to produce spec creative for a pitch anymore
  • Figuring out which roles inside your agency you still need
  • Allocating funds from cut positions elsewhere to serve your clients better

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!

Oct 2, 2017

Ryan Meo has worked with hundreds of agencies and built thousands of websites over the years. About 10 years ago he started a company called Sitetology which turned into TheWebsiteProject.org and has been recently re-branded to ScaleSquad.com. They are a private label website services outsource solution for freelancers, small agencies, and even big agencies. They have helped more agencies than they can count go from trying to do everything on their own, to having a dependable, scalable, and affordable solution.
 

“The only way to scale a service-based business is by learning how to say ‘no’ appropriately.” - Ryan Meo

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Ryan started selling websites — even though he didn’t know how to build them
  • Taking a custom service like web design and making it scalable
  • Why you have to prevent scope creep by being firm with clients on what their deliverables are (or by moving them up to a higher package)
  • How Ryan is able to charge a low, flat rate for his websites and why he puts a lot of focus on what isn’t included in those packages
  • Why you shouldn’t turn away customers who can’t afford your bespoke services
  • Why agencies make a big mistake by talking too much in the initial call with a prospect
  • Building a strong relationship with an outsourced web-dev shop like Ryan’s
  • Why your project manager makes or breaks your agency
  • The importance of over-communication
  • How to mitigate unrealistic expectations
  • What the ideal agency looks like for Ryan

The Golden Nugget:

“The only way to scale a service-based business is by learning how to say ‘no’ appropriately.” – Ryan MeoCLICK TO TWEET

 

Ways to contact Ryan:

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!

Sep 25, 2017

John Hall is co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., a content marketing agency that helps companies and individuals extract and leverage their expertise to create, publish, and distribute content to their key audiences.

In five years, John has grown Influence & Co. into one of the largest providers of high-quality expert content to more than 1,000 of the world’s top publications. Under John’s leadership, Influence & Co. was ranked No. 72 on Forbes’ “Most Promising Companies in America” list in 2014 and was named Empact’s “Best Marketing and Advertising Company of 2014” at the United Nations. Influence & Co. was also recently mentioned in Inc. as the No. 1 company dominating content marketing.

John has weekly columns for Forbes and Inc. and has contributed to more than 50 publications, including  Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, The Washington Post, and Mashable. John was recently recognized as a “must-see” and one of the most authentic speakers in Forbes. His talks have inspired thousands of leaders, marketers, salespeople, entrepreneurs, and others to improve their performance.

 

“If you don’t work hard on thought leadership, you will be passed by a competitor who does.” - John Hall

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Thought leadership: why it’s something you have to do
  • Creating a thought leadership content marketing blueprint
  • Why your blogs should have the author’s name for a byline -- not the agency’s name
  • Strategies for creating content that isn’t generic
  • How to build thought leadership into your schedule so that you actually spend time on it -- and what to do if you can’t
  • Finding the ideal mix for publishing content on your own site vs. externally
  • Big mistakes agencies make with their content
  • Why thought leadership content marketing is here for the long haul

Ways to contact John:

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!

Sep 18, 2017

Mark Winters’ passion is helping entrepreneurs get unstuck so they can pursue their freedom. Depending on the unique situation, Mark’s talent for introducing just the right combination of perspective and process sparks teams to start moving, move faster, or begin moving in the proper direction - with clarity. As a teacher, coach, and facilitator, Mark spends most of his time directly engaged with entrepreneurial leadership teams as a Certified EOS Implementer—helping them implement EOS in their own companies. He's delivered over 400 full-day EOS workshops with companies from around the U.S.

Mark has been an entrepreneur since the age of 28, after catching the “bug” during B-school at the University of Chicago. At last count, he's started/bought/sold/shut down 11 different companies. One recent venture, as a Founder and CEO, had a very successful exit – yielding a 100x cash return in less than 3 yrs. All this activity has led to some recognition, including being named a Tech Titan finalist as an emerging company CEO, and listed as “40 Under Forty” by the Business Journal in both Milwaukee and Dallas. Mark is a "Freedom Forum" member as an EOS Implementer. He was also awarded Rookie of the Year and Chair Excellence distinctions by Vistage International.  

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The “visionary” and the “integrator” from “Rocket Fuel” by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters
  • How visionaries and integrators can build trust so that integrators can take control of what visionaries create
  • What business owners need to do when they are an integrator and they need a visionary (most owners are visionaries)
  • If you are a visionary, how to determine if you have an integrator on your team and what to do if you don’t
  • The seven-step visionary integrator connection process for finding the right integrator
  • How to know if you’re going to be able to sell your agency to your integrator or not (and what your exit plan can look like in both scenarios)
  • Things that make visionary-integrator relationships fall apart
  • The five rules and five tools for visionaries and integrators
  • Assessing whether you need an integrator
  • Why you need to read “Rocket Fuel”
  • The Rocket Fuel Maximizer for getting more out of this topic

Ways to contact Mark Winters:

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!

Sep 11, 2017

John Rossman is Managing Director at Alvarez and Marsal, a keynote speaker, and an author. John is an expert at crafting and assisting clients to implement innovative and digital business models and capabilities including Internet of Things, marketplaces, and API driven platform business models. He is a sought after speaker on creating a culture of operational excellence and innovation. John has worked with clients across various industries, including retail, insurance, education, forest products, industrial products, and transportation.

John’s notable assignments include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Nordstrom. and several of the world’s leading retail and insurance organizations. Prior to A&M, John was an executive at Amazon.com where he launched the third party selling platform and ran the merchant services business.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why you need to get really clear on what your future looks like
  • John’s favorite Amazon leadership principles
  • Why you need to be proactive and take action
  • The importance of prioritizing getting to the right answer over getting along
  • Structuring interviews so you find the employees that are actually willing to grow and improve
  • Amazon’s “think big” and why it’s all about experimentation
  • John’s best hiring practices like getting independent opinions before making a hire
  • Strategies for breaking something down to its simplest form
  • How to get your employees to take ownership in your business
  • How to communicate principles in a way that everyone understands they’re the standard
  • How John helps companies figure out their principles
  • The impact having clear principles has on a business

Ways to contact John Rossman:

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![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Sep 4, 2017

Drew McLellan is the Top Dog at Agency Management Institute. For the past 21 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, give 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:

  • Two types of agencies: “Artisan bakery agencies” (every project they produce is custom made for a client) and “Wonder Bread factory agencies” (where they follow systems and processes to produce the same limited set of things for every client)
  • Why clients often work with both of these kinds of agencies, sometimes even at the same time
  • Misconceptions owners of both kinds of agencies have about each other
  • Assessing what type of agency you own (and why it may fall in the middle of these two types)
  • Some of the pros of running an “Artisan bakery agency”: you can hire millennials, you can be a partner for your clients, and the prestige that comes with the work
  • Some of the pros of running a “Wonder Bread factory agency”: you have a lot of clients and losing one won’t kill you, cheaper employees, the agency is easier to sell, and clients are easier to obtain
  • Why “Artisan bakery agencies” still need to specialize and focus on their niche
  • Aligning your goals with the kind of agency that helps you fill those goals

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!

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