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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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Now displaying: 2020
Jun 1, 2020

There are two questions plaguing agencies in the spring of 2020. The first is how are brands going to respond to covid when it comes to budgets, tackling new projects and their relationships with agencies. The second is how can the agency sensitively and successfully mine for new business while the world is trying to get back on its axis. Fortunately, RSW/US recently released a new study that answers both of these questions and is filled with more good news than you might expect.

The first piece of RSW/US’ research was conducted in March 2020 just as the pandemic was hitting the US. They went back into the field in mid-May to track how things had changed over the previous 45 days and as the US was beginning to re-open for business.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, RSW/US’ Lee McKnight walks us through some of the key findings. He also shares how some of the responses have shifted over the two months in between the studies. There’s plenty of encouraging news in the data and there are also some danger signs. Listen so you can learn what the agencies and brands are thinking, feeling, and saying as the curve flattens out and business begins to pick up again.

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:

  • The findings from RSW/US’ research in both March and May of 2020
  • Why small to mid-sized agencies have a better shot at being “too small to fail”
  • Why most brands believe that their spending will be unchanged or increased as business gets going again
  • The surprisingly good news from RSW/US agency research project
  • What surprised Lee the most on the agency side of the data
  • How agencies can change their messaging to position themselves as leaders in the crisis
  • What we should be thinking about as we take a new approach to case studies
  • What agencies are doing right now to get conversations/meetings with prospects
May 25, 2020

The most popular relief loan in the US is the Paycheck Protection Program loan or PPP loan. Unfortunately, in a rush to get the funds out to agencies and other businesses, the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department forgot to define how the loan and its forgiveness will work.

There’s a lot of grey area surrounding the PPP, so in this episode of Build a Better Agency, tax advisor Craig Cody joins me to explain what we do know and what we’re still waiting to discover.

Craig is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Tax Coach™, and business owner who has been following developments since day one. Many of us have applied, many of us have received funding, but not one of us knows all the rules. Craig is here to change that, to the extent that he can.

We’ll talk about the SBA’s forgivability application released on May 15th, other forgivability factors, whether or not the expenses we pay for with PPP funds will be deductible and how to manage our finances to weather whatever rules come down.

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:

  • The PPP relief loan, what we can use it for, and what we can’t
  • What we know so far about PPP eligibility for deduction
  • What has changed as a result of the new forgiveness application
  • Where the forgiveness application gives us the clarity that we didn’t have clarity before
  • What we can make of the IRS/Congress tussle over the PPP guidelines
  • Strategies we can use to mitigate our tax liability until the HEROES Act is passed
  • How the alternative payroll covered period benefits agency owners
  • How agencies can use PPP funds on expenses other than payroll
  • How we can reimburse agency employees for working from home expenses
  • How to avoid mistakes with your application
May 18, 2020

Very few agency owners are giddy about the prospect of prospecting for new clients. It feels uncomfortable and unnatural. But what if it isn’t that they hate biz dev but that they just weren’t doing it in a way that aligns with their strengths? If sales felt comfortable and easy, wouldn’t you do more of it?

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, we are joined by biz dev expert Jody Sutter of The Sutter Company, a new business consultancy that advises small agencies on organizing and operationalizing their growth strategy. Her programs make it easier for small agencies to embrace and sustain a new business strategy because they take both the agency’s strengths and available resources into consideration. Jody walks us through the steps we can take to bolster our biz dev strategy as agencies and clients emerge from the storm.

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:

  • Jody’s background and what she is doing to serve agencies
  • Common biz dev mistakes that agency owners make
  • How agency owners can overcome fear and rejection in business development
  • The four strength profiles of agency owners and the nuances of each one
  • How to identify your strength profile and build a strategy that caters to it
  • Jody’s “prescriptive approach to new business”
  • How to stay the course while you’re constantly changing your mind about your agency
  • How agency owners can move from inaction to action
  • How Jody is helping her clients redirect their sales efforts during the global pandemic
May 11, 2020

The panic around COVID lockdown is plateauing. The storm has certainly not passed, but we’ve navigated out of the panic stage and now everyone is realizing they need to get back to business. Whether you live someplace that is still sheltering in place or you are figuring out how to get back to the office — we have to sustain our business through this and come out on the other side. If we do it well, we can not only come out on the other side but we can come on stronger and better than ever.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, we walk through the five mini plans that I’ve been talking about in our weekly newsletter. I want to help you build them out.

They are:

  • Operational/financial plan (how will you get the work done on time and on budget? Then, determine the minimum acceptable profit margin for your agency and use agency math to manage your way to never dipping below it)
  • Team plan (how will you keep them motivated, efficient, profitable, and striving to serve each other and your clients)
  • Client plan (you need to proactively guide each client into a position of readiness so that when they can step back in — they’re ready and more prepared than their competitors)
  • Prospect plan (what can you talk about that will be valuable — based on what your prospects are ready to hear at any given moment in time)
  • Vision of the future plan (what parts of normal are worth rushing back to and what could/should be different?)

The danger to every agency right now is that we get stuck in place and don’t shake the panic phase. If you and your team work through these plans it will propel you past the paralysis and into a future with a solid foundation. Don’t wait – get working on these plans today!

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: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

Agency Leaders | 5 mini plans agency leaders can use to thrive through covid

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to build out an operational plan that enables you to continue completing work on-time and under budget
  • Financial metrics that agency leaders should be paying attention to
  • How to keep your team motivated, efficient, and profitable moving forward
  • How to proactively guide each client into a position of readiness so they are more prepared than their competitors
  • How to create a solid biz dev plan for your agency’s resurgence
  • How to make difficult staffing decisions in times of crisis
  • Different ways that agencies are successfully managing their teams
  • How agencies are landing new clients in these difficult times

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • 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.”

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Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Resources:

 
May 4, 2020

There’s always been a great debate among agency owners – does cold email work as a new business strategy. Many will argue that given SPAM filters and the volume of email that everyone gets, it’s impossible to break through and actually get the attention of someone in the C-suite. My guest Jeff Winters proves that belief wrong for his clients every day. But will it work for your agency?

There’s always been a great debate among agency owners – does cold email work as a new business strategy. Many will argue that given SPAM filters and the volume of email that everyone gets, it’s impossible to break through and actually get the attention of someone in the C-suite. My guest Jeff Winters proves that belief wrong for his clients every day. But will it work for your agency?

Jeff created a company called Sapper, a service that works with agency owners and brand leaders to help them with their outbound email marketing and sales efforts. Understanding his methodology means you can do this at home—or you can hire a company like Sapper to do it for you.

In this episode, Jeff gave us the scripts, the timing cadence and how you can measure the results. Ours may be an industry that typically does not boast a lot of success from cold calling, but Jeff has many agencies on his roster that are doing things differently and experiencing great success. I picked Jeff’s brain to find out exactly what they are doing so you can do it too.

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.

Agency Owners | A new tool to add to your agency’s sales strategy with Jeff Winters

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How Sapper was founded and what they do
  • How to master outbound email marketing
  • How agencies perform using Sapper’s sales methodology
  • Different tactics you can use for macro, micro, and nano tiered clients
  • How to approach frequency of communication
  • What to do when somebody actually responds to your outbound marketing
  • How to rethink your sales strategy in a time of crisis
Apr 27, 2020

When you realize that this episode is about holding a virtual event, you might jump to the conclusion that this is a C19 focused episode. Nothing could be further from the truth. Virtual events have been successful for years and are always worth considering, pandemic or not!

Agency owner Nicole Mahoney has always been an innovative marketer on behalf of her agency. Her podcast and other industry-specific content has positioned her agency as one of the country’s authorities on destination marketing.

In the fall of 2019, she knew it was time for them to host a broader event to connect with even more industry leaders and prospects. She briefly considering hosting a live conference but the costs were just prohibitive. That’s when she decided to explore hosting a virtual summit. In November, that’s just what her agency did and the results were impressive.

With the right structure, the right tech stack, the right speakers, and the right audience, virtual summits are an opportunity for agency owners to establish themselves as the experts in their respective industries. Learn how Nicole used this channel to build her audience and lay the framework for significant growth.

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.

 

Agency Owners | Connect with agency prospects using virtual events with Nicole Mahoney

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why Nicole decided to organize a virtual summit
  • The benefits and drawbacks of virtual vs. live events
  • How Nicole structured her virtual summit and who she invited to participate
  • The technical and production side of Nicole’s virtual summit
  • How Nicole’s team tracked engagement for their virtual presentations
  • Where Nicole plans to take her virtual summits in the future
  • How Nicole is collaborating with other marketers in the travel and tourism industry
  • The results of Nicole’s summit and what’s in store for the next one

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Ways to Contact Nicole Mahoney

Tools & Resources:

Apr 20, 2020

Agency owners are scrambling to take advantage of the CARES Act, and in particular the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans but there’s a lot we don’t know because there’s a lot that is not set in stone.  

There is a total lack of clarity around this how the PPP works – from application all the way through repayment and potential forgiveness. The 800-page act says one thing and the SBA says another. As I describe it in my conversation with guest Stephen Katz, we are repairing the plane while we’re flying it.

Stephen is the chair of the business practice of Peckar & Abramson, a law firm in New York City with offices in 10 US cities and affiliates in 14 countries across the globe.  I asked Stephen to joins us because of his decades of experience working with the SBA and other government programs designed to serve businesses. He’s spent the better part of a month interacting directly with the SBA, Treasury Department and his legal peers to try to wrap their arms around the CARES Act and specifically the PPP loan.

I knew he‘d provide some answers so that we agency owners can plan for the future and protect what they have now. It is important to know what you’re getting into. And as details get locked down, we’ll have Stephen back to help us navigate this murky waters.

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. Agency Owners

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How Stephen developed expertise in  business law
  • The economic impact of 9/11 vs. COVID-19
  • Everything agency owners should be aware of as they apply for the PPP
  • What we know about the loan forgiveness provision of the PPP loan so far
  • How to prove you are using the proceeds of your loan appropriately
  • Everything you need  to know about EIDL loans
  • Why bigger banks have been hesitant to fund CARES Act  loans

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Ways to contact Stephen Katz:

Tools & Resources:

Apr 13, 2020

Agency owners wear many hats and certainly one of the most important is leader. There are days when that’s easy and even fun. And then, there are days like the ones we’ve been having lately, when the weight of that role can get pretty heavy. Our employees need us to guide them through these uncharted waters. And to do that, we need to stay calm, confident and compassionate. But how do you do that when you can’t even be in the same room.

The current COVID crisis is pushing teams and agency leaders to their limits. Fortunately, leadership and culture expert Adam Carroll has tools and insights that will help you show up to be the best leader possible; in a time when that leadership is sorely needed.

In this episode, Adam and I talk about how to manage and stay aligned with a dispersed team, how to hold everyone accountable, and how to create connections that will survive and thrive beyond the crisis. Adam’s advice is pragmatic and actionable. You’ll be able to put it into play immediately.

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:

  • If you decide to go with a different keyword, make sure to have the keyword listed in at least one bullet point in bold.
  • Advice for agency owners on how to lead their team while working remotely
  • How agency owners can be authentic and compassionate and still hold the team accountable
  • The HEAT framework and how agency owners and leaders can deploy it throughout the organization
  • The importance of shared ownership and the elements you need to create it
  • What agency owners should be aware of as they transition to a virtual environment
  • How to reinforce the team aspect of your agency, despite not physically being together

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Ways to Contact Adam Carroll:

Tools & Resources:

Apr 6, 2020

Odds are you cannot remember a more tumultuous time in your agency. You probably endured through 9/11 but we understood what happened and why. You probably survived the 07-08 recession but we saw it coming and had time to plan and adjust. Covid-19 brings a rare and overwhelming combination of a health scare, human isolation, and an economic shutdown all in one fell swoop. No wonder you’re feeling a bit frantic. That’s why I’m worried about you. If you can’t stand strong through this, your agency is in trouble.

The way we lead our agency through this is by acknowledging how hard it is and taking care of ourselves. We have to recognize that we’re grieving right now and because of that, we’re experiencing a wide range of emotions from terror to anger to a need to just keep moving.

All of that is natural and to be expected. But it’s not helpful. In this episode we’re going to talk about grieving, about accepting the loss and deciding what path makes the most sense for your shop. Beyond that – we’re going to talk about how YOU survive this and lead your team to the better days that we know are waiting for us around the corner.

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: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

Agency Owners | A very personal message to agency owners – how to survive the covid chaos

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How agency owners can overcome the mental hurdles of being the ship’s captain in time of crisis
  • What we’re going through as agency leaders and what we can do to survive the storm
  • How to overcome the sense of loss and grief the pandemic has brought upon us
  • Tools and resources agency owners can use to navigate new challenges brought by the COVID-crisis
  • Why agency owners need to take care of themselves before they can take care of anyone else
  • How you can use this period of change to rethink the way you do business

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • 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.”

Subscribe to Build A Better Agency!

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Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Tools & Resources (if needed):

Mar 30, 2020

US and European based agency owners are fightly vigilantly as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds in their region of the world. It’s affecting agencies and their clients in significant ways. I’ve been talking to agency owners non-stop for the last two weeks and one thing is for sure – one agency’s experience is not like another’s. For some, business and AGI has never been better. In others, 50% of their AGI has walked out in less than ten days. I wanted to connect with an agency owner who had already experienced everything we are going through today and could tell us what’s coming next.

Kiri Sinclair owns the 50-person PR shop aptly named Sinclair. They’re based in Hong Kong with hubs in several cities in China and they are about three months ahead of us in dealing with the coronavirus. Needless to say, there are some good lessons for us to learn from her experience.

Hong Kong and mainland China reacted differently to the initial outbreak than European countries and the US have reacted so our experience may not be perfectly parallel. However, the timeline still provides us with some idea of what to expect moving forward. The good news is – there’s good news.
Two and a half months in, client business in Hong Kong has picked up and things are moving back to normal. Every country and every agency is different, but Kiri’s story serves as a beacon of hope and helps us anticipate what is coming next.

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:

  • How agency owners across the globe are responding to the COVID-crisis
  • The experience of Hong Kong-based agency owner Kiri Sinclair since the outbreak first occurred there over two months ago
  • How clients responded to the global pandemic in Asia
  • How to be proactive in protecting client relationships and the team amidst the crisis
  • How to consider handling internal changes such as pay and lay-offs
  • Mistakes our guest made and what she would have done differently if she knew then what she knows now

The Golden Nuggets:

“Agencies in the U.S. and Europe are very lucky to have an additional two months of knowledge to make difficult decisions.” @SinclairTalkCLICK TO TWEET“Get your contingency plans in order. Then, communicate what those contingency plans are, how your business is operating at this moment in time, and how you are supporting the community to contain this outbreak.” @SinclairTalkCLICK TO TWEET

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Ways to contact Kiri Sinclair:

Tools & Resources:

Mar 23, 2020

Today’s episode is a twofer – and both topics are going to benefit your shop. The first is the idea of collaborating with your prospects to create content that is valuable for both of you. From there you can leverage that shared experience to create new opportunities for your agency. The second is how you can write that book you’ve been thinking about, despite how overloaded your calendar and life can be.

My guest is James Carbary, the owner of Sweet Fish Media, a podcast-first media company. James was with us once before back in Episode #156 where we talked about James’ approach to networking. And in the latest episode of Build a Better Agency, we dive even further into his creative collaboration methodology as we discuss the writing process and major talking points of his new book, Content-Based Networking: How to Instantly Connect with Anyone You Want to Know.

James asserts that when you partner with your prospects to produce content that will serve their organization’s business goals, you can connect and create the foundation of a relationship. That relationship will serve your agency in a variety of ways, ranging from referrals to a new client. On top of that, the content is also useful to your audience, so it’s establishing your position of authority, as Stephen Woessner and I detail in our new book Sell With Authority.

As if that wasn’t already a value-packed episode, I also asked James how he, as a busy agency owner, found the time to write the book. He reveals all of his shortcuts and secrets and you’re going to want to hear them all!

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.

Agency Owners | How to grow your agency using content collaboration with James Carbary

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • If you decide to go with a different keyword, make sure to have the keyword listed in at least one bullet point
  • The concept of James’ new book, Content-Based Networking: How to Instantly Connect with Anyone You Want to Know
  • How content collaboration serves your agency’s biz dev efforts
  • James’ framework for content-based networking and how to apply it
  • How to write and publish your own book
  • How to use your book as a biz dev too

Subscribe to Build A Better Agency!

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Ways to contact James Carbary:

Tools & Resources:

Mar 16, 2020

There’s not a small business owner on the planet who isn’t concerned about how the coronavirus is going to impact their business, employees, clients, and family. Those worries are complicated by the fact that this is also a health risk to those you love. I can’t help with the health risk part – but I can help ease your fears about your business. We’re going to survive this together and in this episode, I am going to give you some tips and tactics to get you and your agency through this storm and back to calm waters.

If you’ve owned your agency for a while, you’ve already survived a similar season. We weathered 9/11 and in the U.S the ’07 to ’08 recession. It wasn’t pleasant or pretty — but you got your agency through it and I want you to recognize that you can and will do it again.

I’m going to walk you through steps to protect yourself and your agency in these areas:

  • Your team
  • Money
  • Clients
  • Biz dev

It’s going to require strong leadership and a kind, compassionate heart — and following the metrics to get your agency through the next few months. But you’ve got all of that in spades — so let’s get through this together!

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: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How this economic slowdown is not the first we’ve seen
  • What to keep in mind if you shift to a remote work situation
  • The place where you’re at the most danger of putting your agency at risk
  • The financial metrics you cannot afford to ignore
  • How to take a long-range view of the virus situation and find opportunities in the chaos
  • The unlikely upsides of this season

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • 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.”

Subscribe to Build A Better Agency!

Itunes Logo Stitcher button

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Tools & Resources (if needed):

Mar 9, 2020

The more you know about a person, the easier it is to connect with them. One of the challenges when it comes to biz dev is that we really don’t know too much about the prospect we’re trying to build a relationship with, especially in the early stages of the sales pitch. But what if there was a way for you to gain those insights even if you’ve never met them in person?

Charlie Poulson’s first job out of college was building PPT decks for one of the country’s largest agencies. That experience gave him insights on the technical side of sales. A recent discovery of a tool that adds in some psychological insights has allowed him to build a business helping others succeed at sales.

In the latest episode of Build a Better Agency, Charlie explains how agency owners can structure proposals and presentations in a way that resonates with their audience, because they know who that person is and how they tick, thanks to Crystal, a Chrome plugin that provides DISC assessment information based on their LinkedIn profile and other social channels.
Take a listen and then connect with your prospects at a whole different level.

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.

Agency Owners | Leveraging psychology to improve agency sales with Charlie Poulson

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • If you decide to go with a different keyword, make sure to have the keyword listed in at least one bullet point.
  • The psychology behind agency sales communication
  • How agency owners can communicate more effectively with prospects
  • The art of presentation design for agencies
  • How Charlie creates presentations and proposals that resonate with decision-makers
  • How Charlie is using AI (Crystal the Chrome plugin) to gather data and insights about agency prospects
  • How to create different pitch decks for a variety of personality types

Ways to Contact Charlie Poulson:

Tools & Resources:

Mar 2, 2020

Many agency owners are familiar with the book Traction by Gino Wickman and his Entrepreneurial Operating System. It’s a fantastic methodology for improving your agency’s ability to scale effectively, growing a leadership team and building a more sustainable, profitable agency. If you implement Traction properly. Otherwise, it can be a huge waste of time and money.

Traction” is not just a book — it is a new way of running your business so that you can delight your clients but also make your own agency a priority. No more “cobbler’s children have no shoes” excuses about why your website is never updated, your internal priorities are ignored or your agency is stuck in terms of growth and profitability.

I have served many agencies as their Traction implementer and through that experience have figured out some of the biggest pitfalls, mistakes and challenges that agencies run into when they launch Traction inside their shop. In this solocast, I will walk you through the benefits of Traction and how to get the most from the effort.

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.

Agency Owners | Using Traction to scale and strengthen your agency with Drew McLellan

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How agency owners can benefit from Traction and EOS
  • How to build your agency’s traction team
  • How to implement Traction in your agency
  • What decisions/practices impact the effectiveness of Traction in our agencies
  • How to navigate the challenging segments of the Traction process
AMI works with agency owners by:
  • 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:

 
Feb 24, 2020

I have long preached the concept of being a specialist versus a generalist to my audience, so it should come as no surprise to you that along with my co-author Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI, I have just written a book on the subject.

Sell With Authority is a playbook for agency new business efforts that will allow you to shorten your sales cycle, increase your pricing and profitability and actually attract your ideal customers to knock on YOUR door, rather than the other way around. In this week’s episode, Stephen and I talk about some of the core principles of the book and why we’re both so passionate about the approach.

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: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The inspiration and core concepts behind our new book, Sell With Authority
  • How to be seen as an authority in your industry
  • The biz dev decisions that will help you achieve rapid growth
  • Why you should narrow your agency’s focus
  • How to differentiate your agency by having a unique point of view
  • How to use cornerstone content to build authority across multiple channels

Ways to Contact Stephen Woessner:

Feb 17, 2020

Robert Glazer is the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, a global marketing agency that specializes in partner or affiliate marketing. Initially, I planned on spending our time debunking the myths around affiliate marketing space (which we still covered), but our conversation took an interesting turn and instead we focused on Acceleration Partners’ growth journey. Robert described the transformation of his agency from five employees to several hundred in multiple countries – all in less than a decade. As you might imagine, it was not without some difficult crossroads.

Robert is the author of the new Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller, Elevate on how to build capacity while setting and achieving agency goals while helping the individual team members do the same. On top of sharing an agency leader’s perspective of the story behind Acceleration Partners’ growth, Robert discusses the inspiration behind his written content and what it means to him.

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: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Robert’s role as the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners
  • Robert’s view of affiliate marketing in the agency world
  • How Robert took his agency of five FTEs and grew it multifold
  • How agency culture played a role in the immense growth of Acceleration Partners
  • How Robert holds his team accountable for maintaining Acceleration Partners’ culture
Feb 10, 2020

We get hired because our clients want to surround themselves with expertise and a depth of knowledge that they don’t have in-house. They know we have to stay current on the trends shaping our business and theirs if we want to remain relevant. But in a rapidly evolving marketplace, it’s challenging to stay ahead of the curve. Rohit Bhargava and his Non-obvious book series has been a go-to resource ever since the first book appears in 2013.

Back in Episode #33, Rohit walked us through his process of curating and tracking trends as a part of his Non-Obvious book series. In this week’s episode, he comes back on the show to tell us which trends from his new book, Non-Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future, of particular importance to agencies and their clients.

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: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The biggest trends agency owners and leaders face in 2020
  • Rohit’s journey through the agency realm
  • What makes Rohit’s new book, Non-Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future a little different from the rest
  • Critical trends agency owners and leaders should be paying attention to in 2020

Ways to Contact Rohit Bhargava:

Feb 3, 2020

Most of us didn’t major in math or accounting. In fact, many of us were drawn to our industry because it wasn’t math centric! Unfortunately, agency leaders are not math exempt. Without proper financial data, it’s impossible to successfully run a profitable agency. This means your accounting partner, in-house or not, should be your constant companion.

Many agencies are exploring an outsourced accounting solution, just like most of us outsource our tax prep. But there is more to accounting than what meets the eye. Chris Hervochon is the founder of Better Way CPA that was built to serve agencies. Chris and his team approach accounting as a vital source of data that can help us make better decisions in real-time.

Chris joined us to discuss the metrics and best practices we can use to run our agencies better. We also talk about how to automate some of your accounting to really take full advantage of the information you have.

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: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How to maximize the value of an outsourced CFO
  • Chris’ view on the purpose of accounting
  • Common mistakes that agency owners make with their books
  • The automation of accounting and the value it can bring to your agency
  • How accounting has changed and what it is able to do for us as agencies owners

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Ways to Contact Chris Hervochon:

Jan 27, 2020

It doesn’t matter if you are a small shop, a specialized shop, in a major market, or based in rural areas – odds are, your biggest struggle right now is attracting and retaining talent. Many agency owners are losing sleep over staffing up or even worse, losing one of their key players. Interestingly, how you’re hiring may be one of the reasons your tenured employees are giving notice.

Right now, employees and prospective employees hold all the cards. They are being recruited by organizations that can pay better than any agency and offer what appears to be a more stable, slower-paced work environment. What is an agency owner to do?

I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but you should make people work harder for the privilege of working for you. In this episode of Build a Better Agency, we’ll walk through how playing a little hard to get will earn you better prospects and future employees and keep your current employees satisfied.

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:

  • Why there is such a high turnover rate in agencies across the country
  • What you can do to attract and retain top talent
  • Why you should play hard to get, despite the challenges of hiring
  • How to strengthen your interview process to make better hires
  • What to look for in potential candidates for your team

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.”

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Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Tools & Resources:

Jan 20, 2020

Culture matters. As agency owners and leaders, we get that. And we love creating a “great culture.” But, developing a great culture is about more than beer o’clock and having a ping pong table. Yes, fun is important. But if you want to attract and retain the top talent in your industry, that alone is not going to cut it.

John Waid of Corporate Culture Consulting joins us on this episode of Build A Better Agency to teach us a fresh approach to developing agency culture. He explains how to identify and define your organization’s culture, so you can align it with your strategic goals.

By focusing on organizational culture instead of a more superficial definition culture, we create an environment where the best employees want to stay and thrive. It enables us to map out our core values so we can weave them into the DNA of the agency and establish clear rules of engagement for clients, peers, and leadership alike.

John has a very unique perspective on how culture comes to life and how you can foster a culture that is outcome-focused. This conversation will reshape your perspective even if you think you have this one nailed.

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: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Superficial culture vs. organizational culture
  • The factors that contribute to a great agency culture
  • How your culture plays a major role in talent acquisition and retention
  • How to set behavioral expectations that bring your agency’s core values to life
  • Why a great culture has the potential to course-correct a poor work ethic
  • How to introduce new values to your agency and maintain them for years to come

Ways to Contact John Waid:

Jan 13, 2020

Biz dev, mentorship, and relationship management are critical responsibilities of every agency owner. But the hours in a workday are limited, and if we fail to delegate with confidence, the work that is uniquely ours will not get done. It’s just too easy to get sucked into client work or internal issues that we shouldn’t be focused on. Every agency owner needs a #1 who walks, talks, and leads like an owner because they enable us to actually do our job.

In this episode, AMI’s own Craig Barnes chats with Drew about his observations as to what it takes to recognize, find and keep a great lieutenant from his lens as the facilitator of AMI’s Key Executive networks. Craig also walks us through how to groom an existing employee who you believe has the potential to fill that role.

Throughout his experience running his own agency for 25+ years and his role at AMI, Craig has gleaned some invaluable insights about leadership team level team members in the agency world. If you are interested in learning how to identify that critical player for your team and prepare them for success, this episode is for you.

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: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The common traits of agency key executives
  • All of the different functions that key executives can serve
  • How to identify key executives on your team and groom them for success
  • How you can grow as an agency owner so that your key executive can flourish
  • Why this is the ideal time to find and nurture a new leader

Ways to Contact Craig Barnes:

Jan 6, 2020

One of the challenges of agency life is that typically everything we sell is a custom job. It’s tough to build in efficiencies or systemize our production when we never make the same deliverable twice. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Back in Episode 100, we discussed the idea of structuring your agency as a wonder bread factory vs. an artisanal bakery and there are different pros and cons for each.

Website By Tonight’s Jared Gold successfully transformed his agency from an artisanal bakery into a wonder bread factory for web development. And in this episode of Build A Better Agency, Jared joins us to share the lessons he learned throughout the process so you can apply them in your own 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: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Jared’s journey from artisanal bakery to wonder bread factory with Website By Tonight
  • The benefits and drawbacks of productizing your agency’s service line
  • The lessons and insights Jared learned while switching from custom to standardized deliverables
  • How to determine what parts of your agency can actually be productized
  • Creating firm boundaries around your productized offerings so that you can always meet expectations
  • How Jared’s target audience changed when he introduced the productized service line with Website By Tonight

Ways to Contact Jared Gold:

Additional Resources:

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