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The Key Metrics for Effective Agency Lead Development

We’ve spent 20 years trying to discover exactly how agencies can most effectively and predictably create qualified, late-stage leads. After all this time, we’ve got some good and bad news to share. The good news is that we’ve cracked the code. The bad news is that while there is a clear and predictable path agencies of all sizes and locations can take to reliably create extraordinary leads, it’s not easy.

During this free webinar, we’ll look at the rules, tools, and techniques of effective agency lead development, and look at three micro case studies of agencies who have had extraordinary success with these methods.


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Mark: All right, let’s get started. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. We’ve got people from a pretty wide geographic base on today and we also have a huge crowd. We had more than 200 people register for this webinar which is, I have to say, really exciting. Such an honor to be able to host these events that are, at the same time somewhat impersonal but also quite personal. I feel very engaged even though I’m not there in the room with you as much as I would like to be. The fact that we can reach so many people, really across the world, all at once is just thrilling for me.

My name is Mark O’Brien. I’m the CEO of Newfangled. Newfangled is in the business of creating better opportunities for agencies. We do that by helping them utilize the right digital marketing tools, create the right strategies to engage the right prospects and stay accountable to their own marketing goals. In every way, we are the digital marketing firm for marketing firms; that’s our world. This webinar is very, very, very close to our core focus and it’s about the key metrics for effective agency lead development. Really exciting topic, very interesting topic, and one I’ve had the opportunity to present on quite a bit, especially over the past year. It’s really been my main focus for the talks I’ve given across North America over the past 12 months. This is actually the last time I’m going to be presenting on this topic specifically, so this is closing out a wonderfully successful year of really digging deeply into this specific topic. I’m glad we had such a great turnout because I think it’s pretty important stuff.

In terms of housekeeping for the webinar, it’ll be about 45 or 50 minutes or so, then we’ll do some Q&A at the end. As you have a question, please ask it at that time. There’s a Q&A panel over there on the right in your GoTo Webinar widget. Just go ahead and type the question in. I’m not going to look at any of them until the end. At the end, I’ll run through as many as I can in the time we’ve got left, but I find it’s best for you to ask them when you think of them because by the time we get to the end, you’ll forget what you meant to ask. Okay, I’m turning the screen black now on purpose. The webinar hasn’t failed you, everything’s working fine, it’s just that there’s nothing to look at because I want to tell a quick story.

This story is about a conversation I had, now I guess a month ago with a marketing director at a large firm out of the Midwest. Very well respected firm, they’ve been around for a couple generations, hundreds of employees, a great, great firm by every count. We had spoken in the spring about their marketing and had spoken about some specific goals and very specific plans and they were feeling good about it, I was feeling good about it, everything was on track. We caught up in October and asked how it was going and he said, “Well, we’re really excited about the marketing stuff we put together but it’s been a really busy RFP season. We’ve been flooded with RFP’s and we’ve been really really busy. All the marketing people, all the sales people have been all hands on deck for a really great batch of RFP’s.”

He sounded excited and happy and positive about it so I thought, okay well great. That’s good to hear. I almost moved on in the conversation without asking this next question, which was, “How many did you win?” He said, “We lost all of them.”

I was speechless and shocked. I was really surprised. I couldn’t believe the reality of that, hearing within about a 30 second time frame that they completely derailed all of their marketing efforts to focus solely on RFPs for 6 months, which is a really long time, and didn’t get any of them. It hurt to hear that.

The thing that’s interesting is that I was surprised and I shouldn’t have been surprised because this is actually what’s typical. This is the madness that surrounds you. As an agency, you are a brilliant marketer. You have made your entire livelihood off of being a brilliant marketer. That’s why you exist in this professional capacity but, you are incapable of turning that brilliance inward and focusing on yourselves. It could be RFPs, it could be just work, it could be politics inside the office place. Who knows what it is but anything is more of a priority for you than your marketing. We see this again and again and again and again. It’s unfortunate because marketing is what makes sales easy. Sales is really really hard. It’s really hard to sell stuff. My buddy says that agency services are bought not sold, meaning you can’t sell them. All you can do is show up and have people buy from you. Showing up is all about marketing.

Today, we’re going to talk about a few things but to frame it, I want to talk about the core need, I think and I firmly believe you have as an agency. Then I want to talk about the singular goal of your marketing and we’re going to talk about the solution, the tool that you can use, that anyone on this call can use to achieve that goal. The need is choice. You need freedom. You need freedom to choose among various right fit clients who would like to work for you, with you. That’s what you need, freedom. Instead of having, instead of being forced, instead of being beholden to chasing RFPs because you simply must, you should be in a situation where your marketing is so effective that people are coming to you and that you are choosing among them based on the right fit, based on your expected profitability, your interest in working with them, the type of portfolio it’s going to create for your firm, those very practical, real decisions.

That’s what you need. You need that choice. When you chase after RFPs and things like that … working with RFPs is fine. I know that for many of you, you’re not going to get away from that. I’m not saying don’t do them, I’m saying in addition to pursuing your new business on the sales side, however you do, you need to also market.

I presented with Dave Currie of The List a few weeks ago in Chicago at Mirren CEO conference and he brought up a great point. His theory is that you spend 80% of your new business, your business development time, on your marketing so that you only have to spend 20% on sales. I thought that was really smart and we’ve seen that come true again and again and again for these high performing agencies. That’s really the ratio. When you market hard, sales becomes easier. We want you, through your marketing, to have choice.

The goal of your marketing is singular. That is, we want you to be regularly creating highly qualified late stage opportunities. That’s the only reason you market. Business development of course consists of 2 disciplines: marketing and sales. It’s marketing’s job to create this, what you’re looking at the screen right now, highly qualified late stage opportunities. That’s marketing’s job, that’s the beginning and end of it. Then it’s sales job to close those opportunities. The better job marketing does, the easier it is on sales. It’s just how it works, right? You know this, being marketers. Your clients hold you to this standard. Your work has to create this product and you should allow yourselves the benefit of creating this product. If this goal is being met, it doesn’t really matter what else is happening, at all. It doesn’t matter what your website looks like, it doesn’t matter what awards you’ve won. None of that matters if this is happening. If this is happening, you’ve got the freedom to choose and you’re going to be happy.

The way this happens is really a key subject of this webinar. It is the agency marketing platform. This is the solution that helps you to achieve the goal of regularly creating these leads that gives you the freedom to choose. Newfangled didn’t create any of these things, we’ve just observed that this particular cocktail of elements is the set of things that are required to create the right marketing platform for agencies. You could argue that this marketing platform works really well outside of agencies as well, and this is a key point that’s really the subtext to all this, which is all the investment you make in your own marketing, all the expertise you’ve developed through your own marketing, it’s going to allow you to do this work much better for your clients. When you use a CRM inside your own firm as part of your marketing and sales mix, you’re going to be better versed in how CRM works. You’re going to be more intelligent and have more of a command of the topic material when you’re at the table with a prospect and they ask about CRM for their own needs.

Anyway, this agency marketing platform, this is it, this is the structure. Today what we want to do is to understand what these key principles are. We’re going to do that in 3 parts. First, agency marketing by the numbers. We’re going to look at how average agencies compare to great agencies. When I’m talking about great agencies, you’re going to hear me talk about the high performing agencies. I’m not talking about the biggest agencies. I’m not talking about the agencies with the most awards or whatever it is. I’m not talking about the agencies in the biggest cities. I’m talking about agencies who are fulfilling, regularly fulfilling that goal of regularly generating highly qualified late stage opportunity. Those are high performing agencies. They’re big, they’re small, they’re all over the place. We’re going to look at what that looks like, the key metrics shared by those high performers.

Next, after that we’re going to look at the fundamental elements of the agency marketing ecosystem. We’re going to look at that chart, those 6 elements, and we’re going to break them down and also look at the roles that associated with the ecosystem. Then finally we’re going to look at our second of 2 case studies we’ll look over the course of the day, which is an overview of how it all comes together. We’re going to go to a live website and we’re going to go behind the scenes and look at how automation CRM play into this and how the whole ecosystem is represented and how it serves your marketing and sales functions. That should take us roughly to about 10 of, 10 until the top of the hour, we’ll see how I do there, and then we’ll have Q&A after that.

First, agency marketing by the numbers. For this, we’re looking at 2 different reports. The first is the RWS report, that was the agency market report they created. They interviewed 400 agencies and asked the agencies, “How do you market yourselves? How do you get in front of your prospects?” They asked 400 agencies about that. Then they asked 200 marketers, 200 of the agency clients or prospects, “How do you want to be found? How do you discover new agencies?” The numbers are really, really interesting. The other data set we’ve pulled that we’ll look at is our own data set. We work very, very closely with our clients. We create these systems for our clients. We know exactly what they’re doing in their CRM. We know exactly what they’re doing in their automation. We have a lot of access to a lot of data. We currently run these programs for over 60 agencies throughout North America and Western Europe. We are able to see, simply by virtue of the work we do, a great level of detail in regard to trends among the high performers.

Let’s look at the first set, RSW. First we’ll start with your peers. What did the agencies say to RSW about the overall business development efforts? First off, 3 of 4 are not happy with their biz dev director, which is probably going to come to no surprise to you, it comes to no surprise to me. That’s a really, really hard role to occupy in an agency. One of the reasons is this, the average biz dev director lasts less than 2 years. The reason for this is that agencies, because they are a little bit desperate sometimes when it comes to biz dev, they continually hire biz dev developers and they think, “this is the one, this is the rainmaker, this is the person, just listen to them talk, look at them they’re amazing, they’re going to be the answer.”

Agencies are always looking for the answer, the one answer. This marketing automation tool is the answer, everything’s going to be easy from now. This person is the answer. There is no answer. The answer does not exist. The singular answer doesn’t exist. The pursuit of the answer, the silver bullet leads so many agencies down so many wasteful paths in terms of time, money, and energy. The answer is complicated. The answer is a series of answers. The answer is a group of things, things we’re looking at today, things that have been proven out by real agencies that are facing the same problems you are. The pursuit of the singular quick fix is really holding back so many agencies and has for a long time now, and this is one of them, the biz dev director. They have huge expectations, unreasonable expectations. They’re not spending 80% of the time on marketing so that the biz dev director can do their job of closing qualified leads. They’re expecting the biz dev director to deal with 100% of biz dev and just make stuff happen out of thin air. It doesn’t happen, so they get fired after 2 years at most.

Most of the agencies interviewed say it’s harder to break through to prospects and the old ways don’t work. Even more say it’s more difficult generating strong opportunities than it was last year. This probably sounds familiar to a lot of you. Marketing’s hard, business development is hard, but this one’s the best one. Even more say next year will be better. The sun is absolutely going to come out tomorrow. This is a quick part that I feel is worth making. Agencies are inherently entrepreneurial and optimistic organizations. To be an entrepreneur is to be an optimist. There are very few pessimistic entrepreneurs out there.

To decide to start an agency you have to be a extreme optimist. To think you can make it in this business, you’ve got to be a very confident, hopeful person. That optimism, that courage, that fuels the agency. That spirit is throughout the whole agency. That spirit is contagious. Clients want that spirit, right? It serves the agency well in so many wonderful, wonderful and creative ways. That spirit, that endless optimism is your worst enemy when it comes to your marketing because you think it’s just going to get better by itself but all the peers are saying it’s not, and it won’t. This isn’t getting any easier, it’s getting more complicated. All this I think is hopeful. So many people are struggling with this but they’re struggling because, not because it’s impossible, it’s incredibly possible to do this, it’s just a matter of doing the right things.

Let’s look on the client side, what your prospects say. More than half of them say they’re actually reading what you create. They understand that you’re the expert. They want you to be the expert. They’re going to check out your webinars, your podcasts, your white papers, your blogs, whatever it might be. They want to learn. They have the sneaking suspicion that somewhere out there there’s someone out there that knows more than they do about their jobs, and that’s you and they want to learn from you.

They also said that they prefer email. That’s their primarily preferred way of hearing from agencies. This struct me as incredibly odd when I first read it, but then it became more and more logical. When you send someone an email they have control over it. They have complete control over their inbox and back to the central theme, we all want control. They can delete it, they can mark it as spam, they can save it to read later, they can do whatever they want with it. You got in their inbox but that’s the extent of the interruption and that’s pretty minimal compared to cornering them at a trade show, compared to calling them endlessly, compared to dropping a bunch of mail on their table. An email is a neat, clean, and controllable piece of marketing and they actually prefer that. That’s interesting and that’s going to come into play later on.

Now let’s go on and look at the second data set. This is our sample pool. The high preforming agencies we’ve worked with and the key metrics shared by them specifically and in many ways this is one of the real cornerstones of this webinar so I would suggest you pay attention for at least the next 5 minutes. These agencies are in North America. They’ve got between 20 and 200 employees typically, 10-15 active clients at any given time, which are each worth between 200k and 1 million each year. They’re only looking for 2-4 new client spots per year. I want you to understand that I understand this. This is not a high volume game. None of you are looking to close 40 deals tomorrow. You’re only looking for a few, but you need a few right ones. I want you to understand that I understand this because we’re about to look at some numbers that are really, really big but again, the ultimate need here is choice and control. We want to work with big numbers so we’re guaranteed that at the end of that marketing and sales pipeline, we’ve always got a few, a handful, say 10 active people over the course of the year that we can actually engage with in a meaningful sales conversation.

The common traits of the high performers, they’ve got a website, they’ve got a CRM, they’ve got a marketing automation tool. What’s more, they’re actually using those 3 things. That’s a very clear dividing line particularly when it comes to automation. With automation, everybody wants it, most people have it, very, very, very few use it. They’re happy to spend $1,000, $2,000, $3,000 dollars a month, but they’re doing nothing with it. That’s very common. The high performers are actually using these tools. 15% of their traffic comes from mobile devices. They’re active on social media, but they’re not looking to social media generate their next best lead.

This is critical. On average, across the pool, they’re creating 3,500 words of content per month, per firm. 3,500 words of content per month. We’re going to get back to this, this is critical. Another critical number, which is another one of the these big numbers I was mentioning earlier, 4,500 contacts or suspects. 4,500 people in their email database that are the kind of people that would hire them for their services, 4,500, a big, big number. That’s critical. To those people, they’re sending on average 3 emails per month, which enjoy a 20% open rate and a 4% click-through rate, which are pretty normal numbers. The high performers aren’t nailing it on the email side. They’re not doing something incredibly different. They’re not getting much more volume in terms of click-through or open, but the number they’re sending to is radically, radically bigger.

On the web side, 2-3,000 visitors per month, over 2,000 is really our benchmark. They get 12 conversions per week, conversions meaning someone’s coming to the site and actually filling out a form for some reason on the website, that’s a conversion. 40% of their traffic is coming from organic, non-branded search, 40%. Say it’s 2,000 visitors across 20 business days in a month, very few agencies get any traffic on a weekend. We’re looking at the high performers having at least 100 unique visitors per weekday. 40%, so 40 of them coming from organic non-branded search meaning they didn’t go to Google and ask about this agency, about this agency’s clients, about this agency’s employees. They’ve never heard of this agency most likely. They don’t care about this specific agency. They care about their problem. They’re asking Google about their problem. Google says, “This page on this site is the answer to your probably. This is the article you’re looking for.” You want 40 people a day showing up under those circumstances.

The high performers, have their website formatted to take optimal advantage of that individual. The entire system, their automation system, their CRM, their website, the whole thing is geared, almost liked a Venus flytrap, the whole thing’s rigged so that when that organic search of the non-branded searcher comes in, everything kicks into motion. That’s radically different than what almost every agency out there is doing. Every agency out there pours tons of focus and attention to the homepage, and then as we get deeper and deeper and deeper to the mini-structure, they care less and less and less and less, which is the exact inverse of what these high performers do.

Think about that, 40 people a day showing up who have indicated that they care about what you do, 40 people who are not looking for you, brand new raw opportunity. It’s a massive number. Every day, every week day, every year. This is what they have in common. Quickly, to contrast this to the typical agency, we’re looking at 3,500 words of content per month on the high performer side, the typical agency might be lucky if they create 500 words on any given month of content. 4,500 contacts for the high performers. The average agency has between 300 and 500 contacts typically. Often times even those 300 to 500 aren’t high quality. 3 emails sent per month, the average agency is lucky if they send 1. They usually might send 4 or 5 a year. 2,000 visitors per month, at least 2,000. That’s 100 a day. The average agency has typically a third, 30 maybe 40, maybe on a good day 50 visitors per month.

There’s a big, big difference between the high performers and the average but the differences have nothing to do with employee count, they have nothing to do with revenue, they have nothing to do with focus, they have nothing to do with location. Small agencies can implement this every bit as well as big agencies; it has nothing to do with your size at all.

Let’s look at the first of 2 case studies, quick. This one’s a quick micro, the second one we’ll get into a little bit more. This is Franklin Street marketing. They specialized in health care. Now they specialize in building patient-centered brands. Their first fore into positioning, which we’ll talk about a little bit was somewhat general, health care. That’s about as general as you can get in your positioning while still having a credible marketplace position. Then, they got into something that’s extremely specific, building patient-centered brands. That idea resonates with their target market.

This is something that happens, when an agency starts getting into positioning, which is incredibly difficult, they start broad, but then just because they took that step, they’re down a path and a step down that path they’re seeing things they didn’t see when they were a few steps back and they’re seeing opportunities. They take another step down that path and get a little bit more positioned and they see more opportunities, and another step and another step and that never stops. That keeps on happening. They end up in an incredibly lonely place where they have almost no competition. In this regard, you want to be very, very lonely. Franklin Street has done this in a number of ways over their 20 plus year history, really really strong firm. You can see some of their basic stats here.

Very quick story, hopefully, about a success they’ve had with their own marketing. Health Care System out of the Midwest got in touch with one of their partners, Steven, and this was about a year and a half ago now, maybe a little more, maybe 20 months ago, and said, “We found your firm. We’ve heard a lot of great things. We really like what you have to say. We’re issuing an RFP. We’d love for you to take part in the process.” Steven, being a Win Without Pitching student, said, “We’d love to have a conversation with you. We’re really interested in exploring the opportunity to work together, to build a relationship, but unfortunately we just don’t respond to RFPs, but we’d be really happy to come out and meet with you.”

They said, “Well, if we bend for you we’ll have to bend for everybody. We really need to just follow the RFP and I’m sure that’ll lead to us getting together in person.” Steven said, “I understand but we can’t do it.” Steven is one of the most polite people you’ll ever know. He said I’m sure in polite a way as possible but the answer was no. We’re not going to be part of your RFP process. He understand that meant he wasn’t going to have the opportunity to potentially work with these people, but that was it. Okay that’s done.

Some months later, I believe it was 4 months later an executive from the same health care system got back in touch with Steven. Steven answered the phone, he said, “Hey, no hard feelings. Sorry we had to take such a hard line with the RFP. It’s just our policy.” The executive said, “I understand, no worries at all. The person you spoke with was part of the RFP committee. They presented 5 finalists to us. We did not like any of them. We look it upon ourselves, the executive committee took it upon ourselves to find people we thought would be a good fit and we think you guys might be the ones. We want you to come in and speak with us about a 3 year marketing plan.” They did, and that health care system is Franklin Street’s highest grossing client this year. 

That’s spending 80% of your time on marketing and 20% on your time on sales. The marketing Franklin Street did to create that opportunity was the same marketing they did to create all the opportunities. If you had a system like this, if you’re creating a system like this, it takes no more effort to nurture 1 lead than it does to nurture a million leads. It’s scaled infinitely. Interesting story.

Now let’s check out the fundamental elements, the tools, the roles, fuel and foundation of the agency marketing ecosystem which again, looks like this. These 6 components are the structure. The tools, website CRM automation. We’ve mentioned these things a few times. All of you have a website, I bet many of you have automation. Of all of you who have automation, I bet very few of you are using it to it’s full capacity. Using it in a way that’s meaningfully different than the way you’d use MyEmma or a way you’d use Constant Contact or something like that. There’s a lot of opportunity here.

That is one of the main points. There’s tons of opportunity for you. We’re pointing out all the holes, we’re pointing out all the flaws so you can see grey areas where you can improve. These tools are great but the thing is, on their own, they won’t do anything. The website will be over shore, the CRM might, you use might gather dust. The automation system will be there, it’ll take your money each month, but by themselves they won’t do anything. Again, so many firms think just having these tools will do something. Having these tools will do nothing.

In order for you to get what you need out of these tools, the system has to be fulfilling the 4 roles of the agency marketing ecosystem. Those roles are to attract, inform, engage, and nurture qualified prospects. What I want to do right now is look in detail at the first 3, which are mostly about your website, and then when we look at our final case study, we’ll look closely at what nurturing looks like which is primarily about automation.

Attract, this gets back to that stat we looked at for the high performers. 40% of their traffic comes from organic non-branded search. That site, that system is attracting, typically around 40 individuals every weekday to the site. Individuals who don’t know about the agency, who weren’t looking for the agency, but have a need that Google thinks is related to the agency solution set. That’s critical. That’s a huge marketing opportunity that for most of you is wholly untapped. That’s one role that needs to be fulfilled. We’ll talk about how in a moment.

Inform, once the person gets to the site, again they weren’t looking for you so they are not on your homepage. They’re on a blog post you wrote 3 years ago. That blog post you wrote 3 years ago is the very first impression they have of your firm. If you go to the deepest, darkest page on your site, and ask yourself, “If I were a prospect, would I know who we are? Would I even know the agency’s name?” It’s surprising how many agency sites I go to and you get to a blog detail page or something like that, and I see a logo but I have no idea what even the name of the agency is. Would I know who we are? Would I know what we do? Would I know where to go from there? That’s what informing is all about. After we get the right person to the site, we want to inform them. The mantra there is we want to intuitively guide them to the right area of the site based on their interests through related content tools, through intelligent searching tools, through very clear simple obvious navigation systems.

When you have a system like this and you’re bringing in these large numbers of people, there will be many people who show up who do not belong on your website. They’re never going to hire you. They can leave, we’re okay with that. Having a high bounce rate that consists of those people is fine. The crime that we’re looking to constantly prevent is when the exact right person shows up on your website but they have no idea they’re in the exact right place and they leave. That’s why this inform role is so important. Make is so whenever anyone lands on any single page of your website, they understand exactly where they are and exactly what they can do next and exactly what else you have to offer them based on their interests. We’ll look at how that’s done in the case study at the end.

After we get the right people to the site, we inform them by intuitively guiding them to the right area of the site based on their interests. Then we need to bring them into engagement. That high performing stat we looked at, 12 conversions per week. 12 people filling out a form on that agency website, engaging. That’s what we’re talking about engaging. Filling out a form, any form at all. Not hiring you, we’re talking about marketing still, engaging you. The first time someone fills out a form on your website is the single most significant thing that happens during your entire marketing relationship with that person. Nothing else in the entire marketing relationship is more important than that first moment. First time they fill out a form on your site, because that is the moment at which the power in the marketing relationship shifts from them to you. Prior to them filling out that form, you do not know who they are, you cannot track them, you cannot market to them specifically. You’re entirely helpless. The moment they fill out the form, all of that flips. You’re tracking them, you know exactly who they are, and you can market to them however you see fit.

Engagement based on whatever stage they’re in in the buying cycle, the purchase stage for some people, research, evaluator stage, all of that’s important. What most agencies do is they make it really easy for purchasers. If someone’s maybe ready to give the agency money, they want to talk to them. Contact us, call us, chat, whatever. That’s on all of your sites. That’s really easy to do. Everyone has that. Every business has that. Very few agencies and businesses in general have pre-purchase calls to action, engagement points on their site. What that’s saying is if you’re ready to talk and talk about cash and actually working together, you’re worth our time. If not, you’re not worth our time is what the site is inadvertently saying.

The fact is that most of you do plan on being in business in 2 years. The fact is that today’s researcher is tomorrow’s purchaser. You need to start nurturing them now because it’s so much easier to build a relationship, to start on that first step, to get that first engagement, to get that one hook in. It’s so much easier to do that when they’re just poking around looking for stuff and they find that your site’s a great educational resource so they want to sign up for that webinar. Getting you all, over 200 people to sign up for this webinar was easy. It was easy. You didn’t think that much about it. It wasn’t a big decision. You wouldn’t scared about what was going to happen. Hopefully you weren’t worried I was going to start calling you or something. I might call some of you, I’m not going to lie, but I’m not going to call all of you. It’s easy and you did it because you think there’s a good return on that. YOu’re probably going to learn something. You’re hoping you will. I hope you already have.

When you don’t have a webinar, when you don’t have a newsletter, when you don’t have the white paper, when you don’t have the blog, the podcast, the video, whatever, then there is no content there is no engagement. That’s why we get to this other level of the ecosystem, the fuel. We saw those are tools, the website, automation, CRM are worth nothing if they’re not fulfilling the roles, attract, inform, engage, and nurture. You cannot do that without the fuel.

This gets progressively more difficult. It’s easy to buy a CRM system. It’s easy to buy an automation system. You could all have one purchased in your name in the next 20 minutes. It’s easy to understand the idea of these roles, but now we get into some tough stuff. Actually only one of these things is really all that difficult. We’ve got contacts and content. Here the magic number for both is 3,000. We want at least 3,000 contacts in your email database, 3,000 people that fit the personas that represent your buyer personas, the types of people who would hire you for the services you offer. 3,000 of those and 3,000 words of content added to your site on a monthly basis.

The contact side is easy as long as you’re interested in purchasing lists and you can do that if you check a few boxes and we’ll talk a little bit about that. The content side is hard. With the content, we’re talking about a very specific kind of content. We’re talking about unique, expert, index-able content. This content is written by you. It’s focused solely on the overlap between your expertise and your prospect’s pain points. That’s all you’re writing about, 3,000 words of that every month. It’s index-able, Google can see it. That way that searcher who doesn’t know about who you are, asks Google about a problem, Google’s able to say, “Oh yeah, this site has a page that answers that problem.”

This 3,000 words of content, that roughly adds about 4-6 articles to your site per month, 60 articles to your site per year. Any one of which might be giving you indexing ability for 5-10 phrases. This thing radically expands in a really powerful way. The thing is, you need to do this, this 3,000 words of content is not, “Oh yeah let’s do it for the next 6 months while we need to market.” No, you need to market for forever. Marketing typically never ends, so this is a commitment to get into this in a major way and 3,000 contacts. Buying a list of 3,000 prospects who are really just right for you is easy on 1 condition. Creating 3,000 words of content every single month is possible one 1 condition.

Those conditions are the same, that you actually know what you’re talking about, that you actually have a specific audience. A full service agency that specializes in B2B, which some agencies look at. We need something more specific than that. Many don’t even go as far as specializing in B2B, they’re just full service agency, we’ll do anything for pretty much anybody. You can’t buy a list for that. You can’t write 3,000 words of content that would really differentiate you, that would keep you standing apart from all the other competition unless you’re an expert. This is the hardest part. This is the single hardest thing to do. The more positioned you are, the more of an expert you are, the lonelier place you find yourself in because of the brave decisions you’ve made, the better this whole thing’s going to work for you.

Let’s look at the RSW data again on some quotes. This is from the marketer’s side about what they were looking for in their agencies. They said the majority of their work was special assignments. This idea of the agency of record and these full-service assignments, they don’t really exist that much anymore. 68% said they were looking for specialists, not full-service. 59% said it was critical for the agency to convey deep, industry expertise in the initial meeting. You can’t fake that. Conveying deep industry expertise doesn’t mean that you put 5 people on some research reports 3 days before the pitch. People are going to see through that.

You have to understand your prospects market better than they do. If you’re an expert, if you’re positioned, it’s easy. For us, we’ve got 60 agencies we’re managing new systems for. We really understand how this works. We see patterns they simple can’t see because they’re 1 agency and we have access to 60. We know more. You need to know more than your prospect does about their own industry. 78% said the biggest deficiency is the lack of foundation analytics and the focus on meaningful, industry relevant KPI’s. They’re dying for experts. It’s an experts paradise out there right now because so few agencies are willing to go this far, but there’s a great reward for those who are.

Now let’s take a few minutes, this is the last section here before we get into Q&A which we’ll do in about 10 minutes. We’re going to look at another case study which is Origin. Origin is an extraordinary firm with offices in Whistler, BC and Montreal. They specialize in outdoor sports marketing. You can see a lot of these numbers are in line. Again, the key performing metrics, the high performing metrics, those were on averages, they were averages across all these different pools so you saw with the Franklin Street example and this, some where above that number, some were below that number. They’re both in that ballpark.

A key recent marketing win for them was one of the top sports retailers, top outdoor sports retailers at least in the US attended a webinar they hosted. Three people from that retailer. They heard about the webinar. I think one of them was on their purchased list. They attended it because the webinar was of a topic they were interested in. Immediately after the webinar, one of those 3 people went to their website, hit 5 to 6 pages, got in touch with Origin immediately and asked to have them in for a meeting to talk about their marketing plan. That’s 80% marketing and 20% sales. They could never go and knock on that retailer’s door, ever. They couldn’t do it. The retailer had to find them. Agency services are bought not sold.

Let’s take a look at how their system works. This is their website, we’re live now. The information super highway just replete with hyperlinks. This is what their site looks like. It’s a really, really beautiful site. This is one example here, we see many where an agency that can look and be as visually creative as they want it to be. You no longer have to choose between it functioning effectively and looking amazing. Let’s go through the 4 roles: attract, inform, engage, and nurture. Attract, we talked about organic, non-branded search. Here’s an example of that. Best outdoor sports video marketing. Spot on with their positioning. But it says nothing about Origin, their clients, or their employees. Very generic phrase that is very specific to what they do.

The first 3 organic Google results are theirs. Today, they’re actually beating out a site that has 3 of those keywords in their actual URL because Origin has the content. Content trumps everything. Content trumps inbound links and all the rest. Great content will always win. When you click on one of those URLs, you get to a page like this, this is not their homepage. This is the page that answers the question the searcher was wondering about outdoor sports video marketing. It’s a great page, it’s an interview with Ben Aiden, Salomon’s director of marketing. This is a pretty cool thing too because it’s an interview. It’s almost free content. Most of the content is Ben’s, their client. It’s an interview. Summary’s at the top, video at the bottom. Really good, deep article that absolutely speaks to the point of the title which is what was indexed.

Once we’re here, we need to be informed. We need to be able to get to the other areas of the site easily. We’ve got related content. I’m immediately greeted with things that directly relate to this topic. It’s very, very easy for me as I’m scrolling through this to decide to want to click something else, or I can decide to go to work or whatever else it might be. They also have a very intuitive and intelligent search tool that allows me to get to any part of the site I want to within 1 or 2 clicks tops. At this point, I’ve been informed. I’ve been able to take a tour of the site easily without any obstacles and I’ve been presented with other things I might be interested in.

Now it’s time to engage. On this page we’ve got a great example of that. We’ve got engagement points for researchers or evaluators and we have an engagement point for a purchaser, right there. What we’re also doing, this is where we’re getting at nurturing, this is where we’re about to bridge into automation, progressive profiling. I’ve already filled out a form on this site. The site knows my first name and last name and email. It’s never going to ask me for those things again. Instead, it’s asking me for the next 3 things that they’re interested in, title, company, responsibilities. Then after I fill that out, they’ll ask for the next 3 things and the next 3 things. The site’s watching every single thing I do. It knows what it knows about me and is never asking me for something I already told it. It’s never asking me to do something I’ve already done. It’s not wasting this precious space.

If the singular goal of the ecosystem of your marketing is to regularly generate highly qualified opportunities and if the most important step in the entire marketing relationship is when they fill out that form, we want to make optimal use of that form space. This is the most precious real estate on the website. Progressive profiling allows us to never sell what’s already been sold and never ask for what’s already known. What’s going on behind the scenes, inside of the system, is automation. As soon as somebody signs up, they can go through automated programs Instead of them just signing up and getting emailed at one point, they’ll sign up, then they might get a thank you email. Then the system will wait automatically. Then send an email announcing a webinar that might be related to their interest. Then the system will see, did they go and sign up for the webinar? If no, no problem. If yes, with the new information we learned, are they deemed a sales qualified lead? Yes or no? If no, no problem, put them back in the system. If yes, send their information to the biz dev director.

This happens because the site’s always watching everything. You don’t have time to watch activity. You’ve got 2,000 people coming to your site every month. You have 3,000 people on your email list. You’re not going to watch all that, no one has time to, but the system watches it. Marketing automation is all about doing things for you that you don’t need to do but then telling you when you need to pay attention. We do this partially through we, Newfangled, any of the marketing automation companies, it’s done through lead scoring in part. You tell the system exactly who you’re looking for then when the right person shows up demographically and they match the right behaviors, they’re opening the right emails, they’re visiting the right pages, they’re filling out the right forms, we can set alerts.

Those alerts send notifications to the individual sales person on your side. That person gets an email, said, “You said a highly qualified opportunity looks like this. We got someone who matches that basic profile. Check them out.” They click a link and they go to a screen like this, potentially watch a video of everything that individual’s ever done on your website, and that business development director at that moment can make a very, very good decision as to whether or not this is a highly qualified lead and if so, how to follow up with them properly. That’s what nurturing looks like. All these things come together and they end here and this is where marketing hands off to sales and when the business development director carries it the 20% of the way to the finish line.

Key takeaways, we talked about the need. Create more freedom through creating more and better opportunities for your agency. The goal, the singular goal you always need to stay focused on, regularly generating highly qualified opportunities. The solution, using this agency marketing ecosystem, understanding the roles, understanding the tools, understanding the correct use of content and contacts, understanding positioning’s role. This is the structure you can use to do this.

Next steps, you can dig deeper by downloading out latest whitepaper which is exactly about this topic. You can go to our site and check out the calculator we’ve published and see how your specific numbers line up with the high performing numbers and what you might want to do as next steps in case you’re off on a few numbers. Finally, you can talk to us about this. This is what we do. This is our world. We create systems by offering modular tools that can be used in any combination that consist of information and visual design consulting to make sure you’re getting the most out of your site. Content and contact strategy discovery to make sure you’ve got the right content plan and you’ve got the contact plan in order for this all to work. Marketing automation installation training to make sure that you’re one of the agencies who’s actually using their automation system instead of one that’s just having it, that has one.

Word press development or optimization, creating new word press sites for you or helping you optimize existing sites or sites that are already in progress. We’re regularly engaged in ongoing automation coaching to make sure that even after the system launches, that you’re making the most of it, you’re ringing all the value you possibly can out of it, and ongoing content success coaching. Content, by far is the hardest part of all of this. That’s what we see agencies struggle with again and again. We’ve created a specific content program that allows us to run your editorial meetings for you, to manage your editorial team, create your editorial calendars and to actually copy edit your content, optimize it for SEO, and get it into your website.

This is how we do these things. Typically, the creation part of it takes about 4 months, 1-4 months and then there’s ongoing coaching and success management. These packages all exist typically in the 4-7k per month range, and most programs run about 12 months. Now I’m going to open it up to Q&A and I hope we have some questions. Yeah, we do. We have a lot of questions.

Chris is asking the first question. The question is, “Where did these high performers source their 4,500 contacts?” Yeah, this is a question. Do you buy your contacts or do you earn them? There are companies out there who tell you, regardless of what they might be doing, they tell you that you may not under any circumstances ever buy contacts because it’s sinful. If you’re well positioned and if you have a content strategy that is creating large volumes of educational content that is of value to your prospects, you can absolutely buy specific lists of prospects who care about what you do and send them educational information. That and keeping your address and a clear unsubscribe link, you’re in compliance with can’t spam. If you’re marketing to Canada, you can’t do it but in the US you absolutely can do it.

If you decided no, we’re not evil, we’re not going to do that. By the way, it’s time to stop thinking of your marketing as evil. You’re providing an educational resource to these people and you’re working really, really hard to do it and you really know what the hell you’re talking about. That aside, if you decide to do this organically and you’re one of the typical agencies who has say 500 contacts in their system now and you need to earn your way up to 3,000, that’s a delta of 2,500, if you want to do it through purely inbound organic means and you’re nailing it on the traffic side, you’ve got 2,000 visitors per month on your site and you have a 3% conversion rate, if all those things are true, it will take you 8-12 year to organically build up to that number and nobody has time for that in my opinion.

Our next question asks what marketing automation platform and CRM is used by Origin. That would be Act-On and Salesforce, a very very popular combination. When it comes to price points it’s perfect. It’s the ideal price point when compared with functionality. We helped them set both those things up. When people work with us for automation, we set the whole thing up, they operate under our instance and it’s an attractive price point for them because of that.

“How do you find time to create content?” Jennifer asks. This is hard. There are specific systems that you need to use to really be disciplined enough. This is why we created the service that basically takes everything away from you except for creating the content. We do believe you can’t really outsource the content creation. This content needs to come from your mind. Just like all your regular marketing, you need to prioritize this. You need to believe that this actually matters. You need to want it badly enough and maybe more than anything else, you need to know what you’re talking about. If you’re not a well-positioned expert it’s going to be really hard to create 3,000 words of content per month. You can’t really fake that.

You find time by working with external resources who can help give you the right structure and plan. You find time by prioritizing it. You find time by actually having a point of view and something to say. Jennifer, I don’t know, you very well may, I’m not casting judgment on you, it’s just that’s a key element of this.

Gosh there are many, many, many, many, many, many questions. Alice asked if we can post the link for the whitepaper again. That should be The calculator link is If those aren’t worked for whatever reason, you can just go to our insights page and click on the whitepaper or calculator link and you’ll see both of those things there. Alice also writes, “How does content creation fit into the mix? Can it replace any of the 3,000 words or is it simply a supplement?”

By content creation I’m assuming Alice is talking about basically polling best of breed or topics of interests relating to her core subject matter and putting those things on her site or linking off to them, that kind of thing. The 3 check marks, is your content unique, expert, index-able. If it checks those 3 boxes, this does count against those 3,000 words. If it does not check those 3 boxes, it does not. If your content does not check those 3 boxes. It is expert, it might be index-able but it’s not unique to you. These 3,000 words have everything to do with something that can only be found on your site, that is clearly focused on the overlap between your expertise and your prospects pain points.

I’ll deal with one last question here, I should say answer not quite deal with. Then we’ll break. Let’s see, Mike asked a really good question. “If sending less than 3 emails per month is bad, is sending more than 3 also bad?” What’s the real magic number? With all these things there’s no magic number, there are critical benchmarks that you want to make sure you’re around. Three is one of those critical benchmarks. We see that when agencies are regularly sending mail, all of that mail performs at a much higher level. Less frequent is a bad thing. If you sent mail everyday, that would probably not work out very well. Right around 3 seems about right, maybe it is a magic number. A lot of agencies are scared to even send 3. They’re worried and that gets back to the idea that their own marketing is somehow flawed or not good enough or whatever it is. If you know what you’re talking about and you’re taking the time to write this content and actually share your knowledge with people, that’s a lot of work you’re doing. That’s a big investment you’re making.

We saw through the RSW report, these marketers are desiring this knowledge. They want your expertise. Sending it to them, you’re doing them a favor. You really are. You need to think of this in this way and you need to make sure your marketing is up to the point where it is doing your prospects a favor. It’s something you’re doing for the industry, this content creation. Around 3 is about right, at least 1 for sure. If you get down to fewer than 1 a month, you’re going to start seeing that list degrade rapidly because you go 2 months and people literally forget who you are. “I never signed up for this,” and mark it as spam when in fact they did sign up for it, they just forget. That’s that.

We are just about at the top of the hour here. We’ve got maybe 40 seconds left. I just want to thank you again. I love doing these webinars. I love having all of you on these webinars. Any questions you might have you can get in touch with me directly,, or through the contact form on our website. I look forward to having you on our next webinar which will be next February, we’re still figuring out the topic but rest assured, you’ll hear from us as soon as it’s ready to register for. Thanks so much and have a great day.