Marketing best practices are always shifting and changing. Especially in the digital age. Established agencies with a robust client base have an easier time adapting.
Newer agencies, and those breaking into a new area like becoming a HubSpot Solutions partner, may want to evaluate or reevaluate their best practices and strategies for growth.
Front Burner Marketing's John Tabita provides an in-depth look at how new marketing agencies can implement best practices to serve customers and expand the client base.
A Few Key Concepts for Client Service and Agency Growth
Individuals who start their own business are typically well networked. If that’s not the case, they should consider finding an outside business development resource to consult.
That was my personal experience when launching a web design agency in the early 2000s. We quickly went from zero clients to nearly more than we could handle in a few months.
Here are a few long-term strategies:
- Create a strong online presence (website, social media, Google My Businesses, etc.)
- Make sure your HubSpot Solutions Partner Profile is complete
- Establish credibility by creating and sharing content on your blog and social media
- Consider paid advertising to drive traffic to your website while you work on building organic traffic
Taking the Next Steps
The next step after the sale, and you have started the implementation with a customer, depends on whether it’s a project-based or retainer-based engagement.
A smaller, project-based engagement has a clear beginning and ending. In this case, you should have defined the project scope during the pre-sale and provided a detailed quote. Once this is clear, the next step typically starts with a kick-off call prior to implementation. Creating project timelines and status reports helps keep things moving and keep everyone on track.
A retainer-based engagement should always start with two things. Look for quick wins that can be implemented immediately. Then discuss overall strategy and tactics, establish goals and benchmarks.
Set yourself up for success by setting metrics for the project. We find that the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) methodology is an ideal framework for setting and communicating goals and milestones. The “Objective” portion of the OKR framework cascades down from the strategies established in the initial onboarding calls. “Key Results” are measurable, specific, and time-bound outcomes required to achieve the Objective.
A new marketing strategy means change, and change can spark friction and resistance. Dealing with friction and resistance to change starts with a simple question: “Can I challenge your thinking on that?”
Resistance and friction can come from external team members with whom you have little influence over. A common example is sales reps who resist (or downright refuse) to use the HubSpot Sales tools and the deal pipeline.
Resistance from the agency’s point of contact can be easier to overcome if they understand that they hired you for your expertise. Just remember that you won’t always win. The agency and account manager must pick and choose which battles are worth fighting.
Avoiding Scope Creep
Even if you provide a detailed plan of what your services or the retainer includes, you may encounter scope creep. Avoiding scoop creep starts with the mindset that you teach people how to treat you by your actions (or inactions).
If the project is not clearly defined, documented, and controlled, then scope creep is built into the project by default. Your client most likely doesn’t understand the world of marketing. You must set clearly defined boundaries and expectations and stick to them. Otherwise, you become the “bad guy” when you won’t comply with your client’s request, or the pushover when you do.
Utilizing Project Management Tools
Status reports or other spreadsheets are helpful tools for capturing data and information during the entire tenure of the implementation project. A project management tool such as Basecamp, Asana, or Microsoft Planner are preferred resources to utilize.
HubSpot agencies also need to “eat their own dog food” by utilizing the CRM, Deals pipeline, and Service Hub tools.
Running an Efficient Review Meeting
We have all attended long meetings and walked away unsure of what, if any, progress was made. People get off topic and tell anecdotal stories. Someone has a great idea for later in the project and dives into figuring out the details. Running an efficient review meeting is all about being organized and knowing exactly what you want to accomplish.
A few planning tips include:
- Have an agenda
- Start and end on time
- Be sure all stakeholders are present
A review meeting must also be effective by producing the desired outcome. This requires having all the relevant data that the stakeholders expect to hear, using narratives and visualizations to communicate the story it tells in a clear, compelling manner.
Starting a new company or expanding your agency’s services can be challenging. But you don’t have to do it alone. HubSpot offers a lot of resources to help you along the way. Reading articles and newsletters will keep you up-to-date on new strategies, tactics and trends. Templates are also great for inspiration or figuring out where to start.
Take some time to look at some of my favorites and do your own research before getting started.
John Tabita is a resident HubSpot expert at Front Burner Marketing. He holds several HubSpot certifications. As a Senior Marketing Manager, John develops strategic plans for clients and serves as advisor to help them implement the tactics to achieve their sales goals.