There’s a common misbelief that business growth is only about increasing numbers. It’s a lie that businesses should only focus on increasing the number of email subscribers, qualified leads and revenue. It’s a lie that businesses have to be obsessed with metrics to solve for their bottom line.
For agencies, this ruthless mentality comes at the expense of your clients. Your clients are humans, after all, and no one wants to be treated like a number in a spreadsheet. Focusing only on increasing numbers lends itself to agencies who make short-term decisions that sacrifice long-term client relationships, trust, and success.
We believe there’s a better way to grow your agency.
The best agencies grow because of the success of their clients. They realize that their client’s success is inextricably linked with their own. Metrics-driven growth cannot be the only, ultimate goal. Chasing growth should not come at the cost of compromising your (or your client’s) values.
Fortunately, there’s a way for your agency to grow better. Here, we'll cover a few of our biggest tips to ensure your agency is able to grow with your clients.
1. Focus on the big picture.
To ensure your agency is growing as your clients grow, it's critical you focus on the big picture. For instance, how can you help train your client's employees so they can become self-sufficient and independent in their own growth?
Additionally, perhaps your client needs guidance when it comes to re-imagining future goals. Rather than looking at goals as numbers on a graph, consider how you can help your client dream bigger -- which will undoubtedly payoff for your own agency in the long run, as well. Agencies should become "growth partners" for their clients and build long-term marketing, sales, and customer service strategies to help their client's business grow over time.
2. Create a client-centric culture.
It’s time that agencies change the conversation with clients from simply delivering marketing projects, to being viewed as a long-term growth partner who solves for their client’s success. It’s time for agencies to center their businesses on the Customer Code.
The Customer Code is a shared set of principles about how to build an agency that clients love. It’s not about what marketing projects you deliver for clients, but how you get the job done. Growing better means removing any friction in your client's business model to make client relationships as delightful as possible.
Additionally, a client-centric culture can help your employees' workplace satisfaction. Agency life is hard. Scope creep is real, and employees get overworked, which can lead to low retention rates. High employee turnover makes delivering high quality services that much more challenging.
Hiring at agencies is a universal problem. According to the 2018 Agency Growth Report, almost 70% of agencies report having trouble finding the right talent.
If agencies are centered on their clients’ success, then clients are happier. And if clients are happier, your employees feel like their making an impact and are happier, too.
Many agencies struggle with finding new clients. According to WordStream’s State of Internet Marketing Agency 2017 Report, 39% of agencies said their biggest challenge is obtaining new clients.
If marketing agencies reposition themselves as a long-term growth partner with their clients, those relationships (and deal size) will naturally increase. And, if existing client engagements are able to grow in size, your agency doesn't have to consistently find new clients to maintain or grow revenue. A win, win.
Growing better is about making your clients and employees more successful, building relationships by doing the right thing, and focusing on the long-term, even when it’s not the easiest path.
3. Ask for client feedback and act on it.
Agencies with a growth mindset are eager to ask for feedback from clients to make their clients even more successful. This can take many forms -- client satisfaction surveys, one-on-one calls with the decision maker at your client’s company, or even team-wide feedback sessions after a big campaign launch.
To illustrate the importance of "Ask for feedback and act on it", let's take a look at an example. One Fire is a HubSpot Agency Partner based in Illinois, and has a client that sells compost turners.
One Fire won this client and went to work building out an inbound marketing strategy. When auditing the client’s current strategy, One Fire determined that their website didn’t have consistent branding or optimal conversion paths.
However, the client had recently worked with a different agency on their website, and wasn't ready for a full redesign.
One Fire continued with the engagement, and delivered new content and campaigns to drive traffic to the site. After the engagement, One Fire held a feedback session to learn if the client was satisfied with their work. Unsurprisingly, the client felt their outdated and unorganized website didn't allow them to fully leverage the content One Fire was creating for them.
So, what did One Fire do? They redesigned their website for free. That’s unheard of! Initially, One Fire knew the website had the potential to be a problem for their client, but they weren’t allowed the opportunity to fix it. Normally, a website redesign is a service for which they’d charge thousands of dollars. However, One Fire knew this was the right thing to do for their client. By generously offering a website redesign at no cost, One Fire was able to build long-term trust with their client.
Without the feedback session at the end of the engagement, One Fire could have lost this retainer client and never known why. Incorporating regular feedback loops with your clients is a simple, practical way to bring the Customer Code to your agency’s culture.
What does “growing better” look like for other agency owners?
Without a doubt, supporting your client’s success will help your agency grow. One Fire’s story is one featured in a new video series, launching today. Agency owners are sharing their stories about how they’ve embedded the Customer Code into their agency’s cultures.
Register now for the three-part video series. You’ll learn how these agencies owners are helping their clients grow better.