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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 of Agency Management Institute.
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Build a Better Agency Podcast
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Now displaying: December, 2020
Dec 28, 2020

For many agency owners systems is the S Word. We bristle at the idea of being confined. It feels like an attempt to stifle our creativity and ability to think out of the box. But if we’re honest with ourselves, there’s a lot of wash-rinse-repeat in our work every day. And without systems (which I translate to “the agency’s way of doing something) everyone develops their own way of accomplishing each and every task. Not only does that mean we are inconsistent at best but it also means that if that employees leaves, so does their tribal knowledge. This is a problem we can and should solve.

My guest for this episode is Josh Fonger, a Business Performance Architect and co-founder of the company, Work The System. The company is based on a book by the same name by Sam Carpenter and exists to help people implement the concepts. If you loved Michael Gerber’s book The E-Myth, but wished he’d told you HOW to follow his recommendations, you’ll love hearing from Josh.

In our conversation, Josh outlines not only why systems are important but the specific steps you can take to build them into your agency, no matter how long your agency has been around or how you’re functioning today. While the work may not seem sexy, once the processes are in place, you’ll love the reduction of mistakes, the ability to scale and the increase in profitability.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Business Systems

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Practical tips for how to create systems for your agency
  • Why processes actually create more space for creativity
  • How the tribal knowledge method can fail you
  • Examples of how documenting systems allow you to productize your service
  • How to get started when it all feels so overwhelming
  • The agency owner’s role in building systems
  • How to document processes in a way that your team will actually reference them
  • How to get everyone (including the company owner) to follow the process once it’s in place
  • Productivity tips for how agency owners can extract themselves from the day-to-day in order to concentrate on business development.
Dec 21, 2020

Here are three things I know every agency owner wants. 1) A shortcut to landing new clients. 2) A way to prove ROI for their clients’ marketing budgets. 3) A way to automate tasks around data that allow them to guide their clients in the right direction faster and more accurately. The good news is – we can get all of that from marketing automation. If we use it wisely and well.

Agencies are constantly working to find ways to help their clients attract right-fit prospects, stay relevant to them during their buyer’s journey, and shorten the entire sales cycle. We have many tools at our disposal to accomplish those goals and a sophisticated marketing automation system is certainly one of them. Many agencies have barely scratched the surface of what marketing automation can do for their own agency and for their clients.

When we don’t delve into the power of marketing automation, we’re relying on email marketing circa 2000. But in this era of clients demanding ROI stats for their marketing spend, we are missing out on what can be a very compelling tool that can drive revenue for both our clients and our agency! In fact, my guest, Rick Carlson suggests that marketing automation is an outdated moniker for the tool. He believes we should call them revenue growth systems.

Rick is the founder and CEO of SharpSpring and has seen how a marketing automation system can transform the way you connect and communicate with your leads and clients. In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Rick explains how using your marketing automation system to its full extent can enable agency owners to multiply their efforts, expand their communication, and build deep meaningful relationships as they build their agency.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

A marketing automation system can help agencies shorten the sales cycle and strengthen their client relationships. Learn how to use them in your agency with insights from Rick Carlson about:

  • How to think about the tools in a marketing automation system through a different lens
  • Stand apart by having true one-to-one conversations at scale
  • Best practices for using marketing automation to generate leads
  • How agencies can create effective landing pages that align with their marketing goals
  • How agencies can communicate with their audience without burning them out
  • Different ways agencies can use marketing automation to bridge the gap between their marketing and sales teams
  • How agencies are leaving money on the table by not using their marketing automation system to its full potential

“Agencies have been called upon to help their clients fortify relationships with their existing customers, and they have been called upon to shorten the sales cycle. I think marketing automation tools play a role in both of those things.” @sharpspringCLICK TO TWEET“As marketers, the opportunities to spend money on leads are endless. But a disproportionate amount of time is spent on lead generation instead of nurturing the leads we’ve landed.” @sharpspringCLICK TO TWEET“The key to nurturing leads with a marketing automation system is truly knowing your customers’ business so you can apply the tools properly.” @sharpspringCLICK TO TWEET“A marketing automation system is about having a one-on-one conversation with your prospects at scale based on each individual’s interests.” @sharpspringCLICK TO TWEET“Marketing automation is an antiquated term. These tools are revenue growth platforms, and so many of them are geared towards the sales process as well.” @sharpspringCLICK TO TWEET

Ways to contact Rick Carlson:

Tools & Resources:

Dec 14, 2020

Project management is a challenge for every agency, regardless of their size or tenure. Many agencies have a physical project board on a wall or are using Excel spreadsheets to try to keep everything in check. Unfortunately, these rudimentary project management systems end up costing agencies time, money, and even clients. But it does not have to be a source of frustration or profit evaporation.

If your agency has been resisting a project management system, it’s time to recognize that you are choosing to put your agency at risk. A shop without a more sophisticated tool and process for getting the work done on time and on budget will experience missed deadlines, scope create and frustrated clients. It’s not ideal from your team’s perspective either. No one wants to drop the ball or disappoint a client or teammate.

Agency owner Peter Coppinger knew all of this too well. His own shop, located in Dublin, Ireland was struggling to find a tool that would help them keep everyone in alignment and manage all of the details of every job without fail. That frustration led them to decide to design a project management tool of their own, Teamwork, which is one of the more popular options among agencies throughout the world. His software now powers more than 20,000 businesses.
During our conversation, Peter walks through the common mistakes agency owners make with project management and some best practices for overcoming them – all with the goal of profitably growing and scaling your agency.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

 Managing Projects Effectively

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Pitfalls that many agencies face when it comes to getting the work done
  • Why agencies should be tracking and charging for every little piece of work they do
  • Peter’s best practices for managing projects effectively in the agency world
  • What characteristics agencies should look for in their search for a qualified project manager
  • Why effective project management is the key to growth and scale
“It’s easy to be a busy fool. As you scale your agency and add more people, you need to make sure you are scaling your profits as well.” @irlTopperCLICK TO TWEET“You’re not managing projects effectively if you’re constantly whipping people to get work across the finish line. You want your team to be self-reliant, and project management systems play a major role in that.” @irlTopperCLICK TO TWEET“Some customers are willing to pay more, and you need to have systems in place that can extract that value.” @irlTopperCLICK TO TWEET“People who are managing projects effectively are usually a rare combination of organized and good at dealing with people.” @irlTopperCLICK TO TWEET“Every agency has similar kinds of daily projects. If you don’t write down and organize the steps it takes to get them done, you will never be able to scale your agency.” @irlTopperCLICK TO TWEET

Ways to contact Peter Coppinger:

Tools & Resources:

 
Dec 7, 2020

As I thought about this solocast and what I wanted to say to you, I came up with a big list. Year-end planning, appreciate your clients, get your biz dev kicked off for 2021. And then I realized you, like me, are on stress overload already and the last thing I needed to do was to add to your To Do list. Instead, the most helpful thing I can do in this episode is to acknowledge what’s going on, how you’re feeling and offer some support. So that’s what we’re going to do together.

You’ve been going full steam ahead at a breakneck speed for almost nine months. You’ve scrambled to replace lost business, get government assistance, shift to working from home and taking care of your team.

You’ve had to make some tough choices, have difficult conversations and yet you’ve rallied each and every time. But no one can sustain the pace and stress you’ve been keeping forever. It’s not humanly possible, even for you. Most of your agencies have fared well through the pandemic and financially, you’re in good shape. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to focus on giving yourself some respite. And that’s what this episode is all about!

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Stress Overload

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The overarching sentiment of agency owners in 2020
  • What agency owners can do to move past the exhaustion and heavy emotions of 2020
  • Why it is important to step back and reflect on the hardships and victories of the last year
  • How agency owners are dealing with stress overload in this fast-paced environment
  • Why agency owners are particularly affected by being “stuck” in the pandemic
  • Why agency owners need to put on their own oxygen masks now so they can help their families, employees, and clients down the road

“Whether you have been breaking all records or struggling to keep your head above water, none of this has been easy for anyone.” @DrewMcLellanCLICK TO TWEET“I think it is really hard for us to admit that we cannot possibly keep up the pace and the level of stress we have been dealing with for the past nine months.” @DrewMcLellanCLICK TO TWEET“We as agency owners are not a group of people that likes to feel stuck or have control taken away from us. I think one of the things that dealing with stress overload does is render us completely out of control.” @DrewMcLellanCLICK TO TWEET“Being powerless is not something we are used to—or comfortable with. I believe that we have to take some of that control back.” @DrewMcLellanCLICK TO TWEET“We as agency owners have to find new ways of dealing with stress overload. We need to put on our oxygen masks first so we can fight another day.” @DrewMcLellanCLICK TO TWEET

About the Author: Drew McLellan

For 30+ years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies, and then started his own (which he still owns and runs) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops, and more.

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for agency 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 over 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 several books, including Sell With Authority (2020) 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:

Tools & Resources:

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