I am a mentor, non-exec, chairman, consultant and advisor with a successful track record, someone who has **actually** “been there & done it”. I’ve suffered all the pain and successes that growing an agency has at every stage from start-up to post exit delivers.
CEO Cactus - The Agency Growth Consultancy
Author of Agencynomics - Amazon five star rated, best selling Book and Audiobook.
Host of Agencyphonics - Live Vodcast series on YouTube & Podcast.
I started life with no privileges; I started my agency from a purple shed in my late mum’s back garden, after being made redundant with just one month's salary in the bank £4,500 and ended up running a $20m global agency.
I learnt 10% of what I know today having organically scaled an agency, the other 90% has come from helping over 1,000 agencies with their challenges over the past 8 years. I am fortunate to have seen what works & what doesn’t time & time again and I share those insights, the patterns I see, through my daily consultancy work.
That said I have a favourite system that has led to my client average today of 85% average growth per annum delivering 10x growth against my fee, directly and indirectly, I have achieved ROI typically of over 30x value.
This is the reality for organically grown Agencies. I experienced the same when I had my business, and I didn’t even have a business partner. 11 years later we were over $20m and 200 people in my team. Those early days were tough, the model is hard when your team size is small. If you book a call I will tell you how I did it (without a business partner too) .
There are three main models. Firstly, reciprocity, we recommend clients to your agency to partner with and the agency recommend clients back to buy your service. The value exchange needs to be equal, but when this works it usually forms the strongest of strategic partnerships. Secondly, there is a commission structure. The main challenge for this model is often an agency is developing tens or hundreds of thousands through their sales to clients yet the commissions from products are often only hundreds or thousands and whilst they provides a passive income, by themselves the commissions are not lucrative enough. Also it’s hard to remain front of mind with the Agency account or sales teams. The third model is created by creating a value added partner programme. Where on top of commissions, because the agency, has been trained and certified in your product they can also benefit from an introduction to new clients, from the partner product, where they can sell the their services on top of the commissions they make from integrating the partner. Most CMS, hosting or ecommerce vendors have these types of programs. Happy to pick up more details on these on a call.
There are three main new business strategies for agencies to create new business opportunities. As you are a service business you will sell on trust and capability. Rarely one or other. I would recommend a rounded approach to include all of the following networking, speaking, event/webinar, social selling strategic partnerships, fame through awards/pr and driving referrals from existing clients combined with an inbound content strategy. There is no one quick fix all approach to agency lead generation, don’t let anyone tell you there is! Good luck!
I’ve worked with over 500 digital, creative and marketing type agencies from 1-42,000 employees. I started out as you are today, a web developer. It’s taken me several hundred millions pounds worth of reviewed pipelines for new business over the last 10 years to finally understand the following insight. Firstly agency businesses find new business much easier when they build trust/chemistry and demonstrate their capability with a prospect. You need both things ideally to win a sale! There are 5 main ways agency win business. The first four I call it the 30/30/30/10 methodology and the second one is Fame. 30% of your new business should come from 1. Nest (Networking (inc social selling) /Speaking/Thoughleadership and Events) 2. 30% of your new business leads should come from strategic partnerships that drive referrals. 3. 30% of leads should come from existing Ciients recommending you new clients or leaving their job and taking you to the next company they go to. Finally the 10% area which whilst is important for the 8-12 touch point marketing activity needed on average to make a sale. It contains marketing activity such as seo, outbound cold calls, classified sites, ppc, social media, email news letters, other such outbound activity. Of course we all know of a big sale from ppc or a cold call, but over large amounts of data reviewed these are the actual stats on where leads come from.