Sales is the lifeblood of any agency. Project work, limited engagements, and natural turnover make filling the pipeline and closing deals an essential part of the business.
However, despite how critical this business process is to the success of agencies there’s very little written on sales processes and systems for agencies.
So, here’s mine in nutshell.
- Start with a niche industry and a service. For example, for Kaleidico I’m using these four things in combination: mortgage lenders (preferably consumer direct lenders) or law firms (preferably person injury) and web design and development or online lead generation campaign(s).
- Use a CRM to manage your sales process. I currently use AirTable where I’ve built my own custom CRM system. However, if you have a team (more than 3 BDRs) or you’re not a CRM geek, like me, then I would recommend using Nutshell or Close, both of which I have used.
- Use an email marketing system. I currently use Mailshake. Ideally you want to use a system that allows you to set up simple drip email campaigns. I’m a big believer in the KISS principle. All I’m looking for here is automating my follow-ups and a tiny bit of scale.
- Go to Linkedin to build a list of prospects. I start with companies and then back into specific people that I think would be interested in what I’m doing for clients. This is a whole system in and of itself that I’ll cover in another post. I build my list and research notes in my AirTable CRM.
- Build a presentation that presents my big idea. This is an approach I got from Jeffrey Gitomer – I sell ideas, not web design or digital marketing services. You can get design and marketing services from thousands of agencies. You can only get my big idea from me.
- My presentation always includes case studies to validate that my idea works. I currently use Google Slides to create these presentations and my case studies. Sometimes I just use a link to the Google Slides for my campaign, but typically I create a landing page.
- Typically, my presentation also becomes a video and a talk at upcoming conferences. Remember, it’s an idea, not a service. It’s unique and I want to spread my idea far and wide. Again, building these presentations is a whole system itself. So, that’s a future post too.
- Now, I take this idea and my presentation and a few little gems that are finer details inside the big idea and begin to write my email campaign. A typical campaign is about 10 emails. They are a mix of links to blog posts, my presentation, and one or two line quick notes.
- Then, I start following, monitoring, and engaging with my prospects on social media – Linkedin or Twitter only. I’ll also start posting content related to my digital marketing idea or relevant to my niche industry.
- After a couple of weeks raising my profile in my prospects’ streams, I’ll start the email drip campaign. I do this with very small lists (10-100). This is probably why I don’t need personalization, because all of my lists are hand picked.
Too often we think we need to scale business development way too early. This kills a lot of opportunities and often obscures critical learnings about product to market fit and things that are and aren’t working in your sales process.
Specific to agency business development, you rarely need to scale. Even the biggest agency only needs a handful of really good clients at any given time.
Hope this helps a few creative freelancers and agency owners. If you have any questions, ask away…
Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash