Here’s how to overcome the most common agency challenges and grow your operations.
For every dollar a local business owner spends on technology and digital solutions, $2.50 is spent on implementation and ongoing services from marketing agencies and other local experts. Digital technology is a $220 billion market that is rapidly expanding and comes with its own set of challenges.
A 2020 survey of more than 600 respondents reveals local agencies and business experts saying their inability to scale operations is the number one challenge they face in providing digital solutions to local businesses.
Here are the most common challenges faced by local experts and tactics to help overcome them.
Challenge #1 to scale your agency: Attracting qualified leads
Three out of four B2B buyers want to self-educate and try before they buy. Most local business owners want to test-drive technology before ever spending a cent. To show up in places where small-and medium-sized business (SMB) owners search and have the best chance at capturing a lead, try these tips:
- Optimize your website for search engines. Ensure you’re easy to find by positioning yourself as a technology company.
- Make sure your product catalog is available online. Adopt a product-led (freemium) acquisition strategy so that your clients can try before they buy. Use this tactic to uncover insights about your prospects so you can meet their needs with the right paid solution at the right time.
- Nurture your leads with email campaigns. Use marketing automation to trigger a campaign whenever you get a new lead, so your business always remains top of mind for them.
Challenge #2 to scale your agency: Knowing what to sell and when
The secret to sales success resides in your data.
During the sales process, ask yourself what are the pieces of data that you can bring to the table for your prospects. Do you have competitive intelligence and industry benchmarks? Do you understand how their online performance compares to the businesses that matter to them? These data points allow you to earn trust.
Lean on sales intelligence tools like the Vendasta Snapshot Report to surface data that helps you gain trust with your SMB clients, identify what solutions they need, and pinpoint exactly when they need them.
These tools allow agencies to generate personalized competitive intelligence and industry benchmarks on their prospect’s online performance, all with one click of a button. Vendasta partners who use more than 100% of their monthly allotment of snapshot reports each month have a revenue pipeline 18 times bigger. They close nearly three times more opportunities than partners who use less than 50% of their allotment.
Challenge #3 to scale your agency: Connecting with prospects
The pain of sending multiple back-and-forth emails, playing phone tag and texting a client several times just to find out when both you and your sales prospect are available for a meeting, can be a major cause of concern. Not only is there opportunity for a follow-up to fall off your radar, but the process can frustrate prospects, causing them to abandon their intentions to find out more about working with you.
Use a meeting scheduling software that’s integrated with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. Just by using a tool that lets you schedule meetings; experts can save an incredible 10 hours per week.
Challenge #4 to scale your agency: Predictable revenue
Without being able to predict how much revenue you’ll be generating next month, next quarter or next year, it’s impossible to grow your operations. It limits your ability to hire new staff, determine whether you can afford to spend more on marketing, and figure out if you should invest in expanding your product offerings.
All of these problems can be solved by effectively managing your sales pipeline. It’s a critical component to growing your business.
Manage your sales pipeline in a CRM through four basic stages:
Looking across our channel partner base, we found that one in 10 opportunities resulted in a sales order. Your mileage may vary, with a higher conversion rate or fewer opportunities, but it’s a nice ratio to keep in mind as you work your (sales) pipeline. It’s a starting point for understanding how much revenue you can forecast based on what’s in your pipeline.
In addition to creating opportunities, use a metric-driven approach to move prospects through a sales pipeline. Monitor activities that lead to winning new business, like the number of calls, prospecting emails sent, and booked meetings, and use a CRM that can track this activity.
Wrapping Up: 5 key takeaways for scaling your operations
- Focus on attracting product-qualified leads. Optimize your website and nurture it with email campaigns.
- Use data to help understand what to sell and when. Use a sales intelligence tool like the Vendasta Snapshot report and set time aside to use up your monthly allotment of reports you can generate to help you sell to new leads.
- Engage using integrated meeting schedulers. Setup text replacement on your mobile device to quickly send a link to book a meeting into your calendar.
- Build a sales pipeline and fill it with opportunities. Monitor top activities that lead to winning new business-like number of calls, prospecting emails sent, and meetings booked.
- Adopt an end-to-end platform. Stop piecing together different technologies to solve your biggest challenges by using a single integrated platform for a seamless experience that removes complexity and reduces costs.
By using one unified place where you can log in, manage, view and assign, you’re removing obstacles that crop up when you’re ‘frankensteining’ together different digital solutions to build your business.
Adopting an end-to-end platform
Based on a typical local expert with five employees and 75 customers, agencies can save 520 hours and up to $70,000 per year by switching to the Vendasta platform. Using an end-to-end platform, local experts can:
- Build and configure: instantly go-to-market with a broad set of customizable and branded solutions
- Market and sell: predict needs and intent through an SMBs interaction with sales intelligence reports using an integrated CRM with built-in marketing automation
- Bill and fulfill: invoice and accept payment from clients for any of your tightly integrated products and services
- Deliver and grow: offer a seamless experience for your clients with a single sign-on dashboard of automated proof of performance reporting to help identify the ongoing needs of your SMB customers