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Processes for Agency Profitability

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How Revenue River grew from a bootstrapped startup to a profitable agency within the HubSpot ecosystem.

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Processes for Agency Profitability

  1. 1. #PARTNERDAY18 PROCESSES FOR AGENCY PROFITABILITY How Revenue River grew from a boot-strapped startup to a profitable agency within the HubSpot ecosystem.
  2. 2. 9 years in business 6 in HubSpot ecosystem
  3. 3. #PARTNERDAY18 1. 2010: outsourced sales & boutique web design agency 2. 2012: discovered HubSpot – began inbound agency transition 3. 2014: all-in inbound agency selling retainers & web projects 4. 2016: selling a single retainer for web, digital, sales enablement 5. 2018: we sell a total-digital sales system from launch to goals OUR PROGRESSION
  4. 4. #PARTNERDAY18 1. We believe financial matters, a lot 1. Your financials are the key to decision making 2. You can’t spend money you don’t have 3. Prioritization is critical, you can’t buy everything 2. We believe in taking a lot chances 1. Early adopters of everything 2. Mindset to master so we can implement 3. We believe in constant iteration 1. Painfully open beta, a growth-driven approach to agency development 2. Launch fast, continual improvement, roll up our sleeves, and learn on ourselves WHAT WE BELIEVE IN
  5. 5. #PARTNERDAY18 1. Selling a total solution 1. We don’t do point solutions or menus 2. Everything ties to goals 2. Investing in our culture & people 1. Environment and people matter 2. Personal and professional development 3. Subscribing to systems 1. Agencies need vision, structure, and alignment MORE OF WHAT WE BELIEVE
  6. 6. #PARTNERDAY18 1. Outsourcing 1. Continual mission to in-source all roles 2. Takes time because outsourcing is necessary 2. The pursuit of perfection 1. We never get bogged down by indecision 2. We aren’t afraid to live with ‘em 3. Overspending on people 1. Everything is earned 2. 10 years of experience means less than the salary it commands 3. We never hire for anything other than entry-level positions, regardless of experience 4. Everyone lands small and proves themselves WHAT WE DON’T BELIEVE IN
  7. 7. #PARTNERDAY18 1. Overspending on client acquisition 1. We don’t advertise or even have our own marketer 2. Industry Specialization 1. We’ll evaluate any company that meets our parameters 2. Size, structure, mindset, and trend line are more important 3. Tiered or point-based pricing 1. Choice does not equal expertise 2. The Chinese menu is the path to failure Minimum engagements 1. We never turn business away because they don’t want a large retainer MORE IDEAS WE REJECT
  8. 8. #PARTNERDAY18 Let’s dig in. 4 Systems for Success
  9. 9. #PARTNERDAY18 FINANCIAL SYSTEM “ N O O N E W I N S I F Y O U G O B R O K E ” U N K N O W N O R E R I C P R A T T
  10. 10. 4 disciplines to master 10 master your projections 42% 37% stay all over your receivables reconcile your bank statement manage to the bottom line
  11. 11. #PARTNERDAY18
  12. 12. #PARTNERDAY18 1. Build your annual projection based on goals 2. Finalize the numbers before every month 3. Build feeder tabs for new hire and salary projections 4. Don’t spend money you don’t have 5. Invest the extra money back into the agency 6. The only thing without a hard cost is your time RULES FOR A TIGHT PROJECTION
  13. 13. #PARTNERDAY18 SALES SYSTEM “ A L I N E G O E S U P B E C A U S E A S A L E I S M A D E ” S T E P H E N T . W O O L L E Y
  14. 14. 1. Tiered pricing doesn’t work, it’s a race to the bottom 2. Point pricing turns everything into a complicated negotiation 3. The right clients buy the bottom line 4. Build your proposals on value and goals 5. Everyone else can kiss your ass WE’VE TRIED IT ALL
  15. 15. #PARTNERDAY18 SELL THE TOTAL INVESTMENT SOFTWARE BUDGET SERVICES BUDGET $30,000 ADVERTISING BUDGET $150,000 $60,000
  16. 16. #PARTNERDAY18 1. Dig deep on GPCTBACI 2. Brutally honest evaluation of existing assets 3. Lots of tips and ideas for improvement 4. Slow them down and go negative a lot 5. Demonstrate value and expertise 6. Set expectations for successful partnership 7. Proposal is a forgone conclusion SALES PROCESS & MINDSET
  17. 17. Proposal flow Primary objective Conversation recap Our approach for success Organizational value Detailed plan for first sprint Annual pricing for total spend Style agreement & expectations About our agency Team set to execute Terms and conditions
  18. 18. #PARTNERDAY18 ALIGNMENT SYSTEM “ S E T B A C K S A R E I N E V I T A B L E , M I S E R Y I S A C H O I C E ” S T E P H E N R . C O V E Y
  19. 19. #PARTNERDAY18 Speed of Trust The 4 Agreements 4 Disciplines of Execution 7 Habits of Highly Effective People 5 Choices to Extraordinary Production The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager YOU NEED A SYSTEM TO GUIDE THE AGENCY
  20. 20. Team success requires your leadership “Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” - Stephen R. Covey
  21. 21. #PARTNERDAY18 Our culture isn’t ping pong & whiskey
  22. 22. #PARTNERDAY18 EXECUTION SYSTEM “ I F Y O U ’ R E N O T K E E P I N G S C O R E , Y O U ’ R E J U S T P R A C T I C I N G ” C H R I S M C C H E S N E Y
  23. 23. image courtesy of Commercial Integrator
  24. 24. #PARTNERDAY18 1. Discipline 1 – Focus on Wildly Important Goals (WIG) 1. - When you focus on 2-3 goals you generally achieve them Discipline 2 – Act on Lead Measures - Leads are disciplines or levers that generate results Discipline 3 – Keep a Compelling Scoreboard - People need to see and feel like they’re winning Discipline 4 – Create a Cadence of Accountability - Recap last week and make commitments for next week FOUR DISCIPLINES OF EXECUTION
  25. 25. YOU HAVE TO LEAN ON A SYSTEM Pick an execution system Traction, Rockefeller Habits, 4DX Spend time learning it Know it enough to lead implementation Implement it with your team Your team has to own it to buy in Lead by example The discipline has to be demonstrated Accountability is easy They built it, so they’re self-accountable
  26. 26. #PARTNERDAY18 it’s time to grow up T H E I N D U S T R Y N E E D S U S T O G E T B E T T E R T H E R E ’ S M O R E D E M A N D T H A N S U P P L Y H U B S P O T N E E D S A G E N C I E S T H A T C A N S O L V E T H O U S A N D S O F C O M P A N I E S N E E D M O R E T H A N I N B O U N D W E A L L B E N E F I T F R O M O U R C O L L E C T I V E G R O W T H call to action
  27. 27. #PARTNERDAY18 THANK YOU REVENUERIVER.CO/PARTNER-DAY-2018 T H I S D E C K P R O J E C T I O N S W O R K B O O K 4 D X G AT E S

Editor's Notes

  • Built this presentation for small agencies struggling to find their way
    There’s more than one way to get where you want to go
    HubSpot likes to demonstrate what success looks like
    Agencies don’t like to show their underbelly
    I’m going to tell you the who and how. It’s not sexy.
    Warning; I have a contrarian view. You may not agree with me. That’s ok.
    Please don’t take pictures of every slide. I’ll send you the goods later.
  • Founded in 2009 as an outsourced sales agency
    Discovered HubSpot in 2012
    Lot of slides, going to go fast through the history so we can talk application
  • You have to take a stand in this ecosystem.
    You have to believe in some things.
    You can’t buy everything
  • Our clients come to us. We don’t pursue.
    I know half of you think I’m an idiot for this stance, that’s ok
    Again, there’s more than one way to do this. This is how we’ve done it.
  • Now you know who we are and who we aren’t, let’s get into some application
  • This is the necessary evil system in my mind
    I hate financials
    You have to embrace the discipline to succeed
  • You have to have visibility-forward to manage the agency
    You have to get paid
    The math has to add up
    There’s a totally different way to manage profitability than by-client.
    If you run my style of financial systems I think you can forget about measuring profitability of every client every month.
  • Simplified version
    Projects for next month finalized before the month begins
    You can feed numbers in from other tabs/sources with tight projections
    This is your key to investments, variable costs, new hires, capacity planning
    It’s simple, it’s free, it works.
  • Now it’s time to piss everyone off again
    You have to make the most of the opportunities you get
    We’ve been down a lot of roads
  • In 2013 HubSpot taught a tiered pricing model
    I took all the best agencies to school, they all featured it
    I added it too
    It failed for all of us, I promise
    Now the big rage is point based pricing.
    It’s being disguised as value-based pricing.
    It’s not. It’s cost based-pricing.
    You don’t want the kind of clients that always want to go by the tale of the tape.
    Everyone is focused on the wrong stuff.
    It’s absolutely not easy for many clients to track. They want nothing to do with it.
  • Annual, not monthly
    Total investment, not just you
  • How do we get them there?
  • If your agency is struggling, you can change your fate.
    If you pick a system and implement it, you’ll be less miserable.
  • Alignment System is really about people
    If you can’t align your people you’re going to struggle
    You’ll lose more people and more clients than you should
    This is the area you should be investing
    You need a system for alignment, to support you, your people, your clients, and your growth
  • Investment in a system comes with another price
    If you’re not willing to be a leader, the team will fail.
    I get the feeling that a lot of you don’t want to lead. You want to do.
    Leaders are challenged to achieve through others
    Its bigger than individual contribution
    If you’re struggling to retain and develop talent, this is where you need to spend your time
  • People was the element I cut from this presentation.
    I think it’s our biggest competitive advantage.
    I spent an hour with on Agency Unfiltered talking about this
    I’ve presented on people a lot.
    If you can’t get the people part right, as a service agency, you’re dead.
    Hiring, training, retaining, developing top talent is your job.
    Figure out who you want to be and reflect that.
    Find people that relate to that and support this shit out of them.
    Develop a culture that’s deeper than the superficial shit everyone talks about
  • Alignment is critical, but you have to have a system to execute within for results
    You have to stay focused on what’s truly important
  • This is where most of you struggle
    You’re spending your time on the wrong things
    You’re so caught up in the urgent that you don’t spend any time on the important
    Q1 v Q2
    You have to schedule for Q2
    You have to get upstream
  • This is about shared objectives. alignment through execution
    I can’t stress the importance of this system enough
    This is a system you don’t need to spend money on to implement
    Buy the book, download the gates, get to work
    Reinvent your agency with this system
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