Yesterday I spoke at Google’s Engage Workshop on a panel about marketing digital agencies

I’ll sum up a couple of notes about that first, but I also wanted to share my notes from Dave Booth’s excellent sessions on ways that he’s built Cardinal Path from 2 to 60+ people in the past 7 years!

Lara & Mark joined me on the panel & we kicked off talking about general ways to market.

The main ones were speaking, joint ventures/partnerships & just doing great work!

Personally speaking has been the best possible way to grow WebSavvy. I’ve been lucky enough to speak at a number of Aussie events for world-class marketers like Siimon Reynolds, Dale Beaumont, Ed Dale & James Schramko. And the events here & overseas for a national radio network have been great for building relationships with some of this country’s top CEOs.

Partnerships are great & as Dave pointed out they need to be beneficial to both sides of the deal. For us that’s meant partnering with the best Magento guys in Australia at Balance Internet as well as various other SEO & web agencies.

We don’t compete, we make each other look good by being able to refer & we help joint clients grow their businesses. And yes if the odd bottle of pinot changes hands to say thanks for those leads, then so be it!

“Doing great work” was a line that Mark (of zen10.com.au) used. It’s been my philosophy about work since we started the agency. That’s why were “fanatical about results”. For our clients the only result that matters is profitability – in other words a decent ROI on the ad spend. In that regard we’re lucky to be in such a measurable industry & we embrace that (I wouldn’t want to be selling newpaper ads!)

Dave’s sessions were wide ranging, I’ll try to briefly sum them up below:

In a sentence “Job is not to sell, but to best serve our clients”

That means doing excellent work, doing what you say you will, being radically honest (illustrated by this great vid http://youtu.be/5T9DSgEclPA) & having an awesome team.

All of which I believe WebSavvy does 🙂

Partnerships

People buy people! So your relationships matter.

And they’re not clients, they’re partners (I’ll be changing my internal dialogue thanks to this insight).

And focus on existing customer first. Then prospects. Then your business. Then everything else.

Story.

There’s no story behind price or quality. Explain that you’re not the cheapest & tell the great story about why that is. What’s your competitive advantage?

Metrics

Dave’s covered this before, but focus on business outcomes (eg leads, rev, profit!) not clicks & other meaningless KPIs

Zig when others zag

Look for the hard things that everyone else avoids. There’s less competition & a need. That means profit for you agency.

Hunt Wooly Mammoths 

Don’t go after lots of small one-time clients. Spend the time to find bigger, longer-term clients (partners!) and serve them with excellence

Follow through

And follow up

Speak for itself!

Team

Your people matter! Invest in a great team.

Let them create the systems your business needs.

Tools

Lots were mentioned. Some were

Project Management: Gantter, Huddle, Flow, Attask

Cloud tools: Xero, Dropbox, Evernote, Basecamp, Highrise (I’d like to add 1password & podio to that list!)

Pricing

You must understand (before you start) things like Scope, Complexity, Dependencies & Exclusivity – they matter. A lot.

There are different pricing models: percentage of spend, fixed fee or performance based. Dave (like us) prefers fixed fee.

But something I know we need to get better at is upselling a wider range of services to our happy partners (used to be clients!)

Training

Good lead gen, good income stream & important to train your clients/partners enough so that they understand what you do & can have better conversations about it!

Pitching

We role played this one. Highlights were:

Have a great looking deck

Solid opening. Have them remember 3 things

Be the hero

Let them interact. And ask open questions

Give them a reason to believe. Case studies

Finish with the suspense. Cost of delaying. Big one!

Case Studies

Have more! In many formats: Print. PowerPoint. Web.

Build into terms of service (that you’re likely to use it) & be clear about how using it. Give options (eg it might be internal only, not always whole world).

Ask for the sale

Ask more questions

Have I won your business? (They never say yes). Great conversation starter though.

Does this align with your expectations?

What have I said that resonates with you (end on positive note)

Detail Next steps

Tell them when you’ll be contacting them (& follow up!). What factors are involved? Who making decision? Give contact info. Tell them they can ask questions.

That’s it!

Hope it’s been useful.

And hopefully I’ll see you at a future Google event.