It’s Been Six Months Since You Started With Your Agency And You’ve Seen Few Or No Results – Should You Be Worried?
The short answer is maybe. That’s because generally results are in the eye of the beholder, and in this case, it’s you, the client.
Whether you should be worried or not is 100% dependent on what you expected, what you discussed with your agency and what they told you to expect.
Today, there is a lot wrong with the way agencies work with clients.
The retainers are wrong, the team models are wrong, the investments are wrong, the communication is wrong and what’s wrong most of the time are the expectations around when results will start impacting the business.
With all of that wrong, let’s dig into this more to see if you should be concerned about your agency.
Why It Takes So Long
Before we get too far into this, let’s look at why it takes longer than most of us think it should.
First, it’s 100% your fault. Yes, I’m trying to get a reaction, but it’s more or less true. In most cases, companies come to us with little or nothing going on from a marketing and sales perspective, which means a ton of heavy lifting is needed to get it to work (and that takes time).
Next, you have been and want to continue to underinvest. You have big goals. You have caviar dreams for your business but a tuna fish marketing budget.
Your agency says, “Based on your goals, you should spend $12,000 a month for a year, and that’s what we need to get you the results you’re asking for.”
You respond with, “We’ve never spent that much before. What can you do for $8,000?”
The agency now reduces its retainer in the proposal, further reducing the work for you and pushing out the timeline around results. Worse, you’re looking at three agency proposals, and you actually select the one that came in at $6,000 instead of the one for $8,000 we discussed above.
Now you’re working with a less experienced and less equipped agency, and your results are going to be delayed even longer.
A complicating factor is that most agencies won’t tell you your lower investment means you have to wait longer for results. They’ll just sell you an ongoing retainer at a level they think you’ll approve and hope for the best.
Finally, because of the way agencies work and make money, they put you on a shared team. The better agencies might have four other clients on your client team, while the not-so-good agencies might put you on a team with 10 or more clients.
This is the most important question to ask when looking for an agency: How many other clients will my team be working with while they’re working with me?
The lower the number, the better. Even if it means a higher investment, it’s worth it, because you’ll get your work and your results a lot faster.
The retainer basically means the agency is metering out your work. They’re only doing so much each month, partially because of your budget but also because of the way the team works. If they have eight clients, they can only spend a small portion of their time working on your company.
And because they have so many other clients, it’s a highly inefficient effort as they bounce around from client to client all day and every day. This is the major reason work takes so long and results take even longer.
What Does Results Mean?
This is another complicating factor in helping you know if you’ve waited too long. What do results mean to you? Almost every client is a little different, and it’s important for you and your agency to be on the same page every quarter, every month, every week and every day.
If you want leads, that’s what results should mean to you. If you want new customers, that’s what results should mean to you. If you want a new website or a new whitepaper, or 12 new blog articles, that might be what results means to you. Every client is a little different. There are no wrong answers, only your answers.
How does your agency know exactly what you expect? Typically, they have to ask. You have to talk about it with them and you have to do this quarterly (monthly might even be better).
At Square 2, we ask all of our prospects and all of our clients to tell us exactly what results we need to deliver for them to be an advocate. An advocate is someone who is happy and willing to tell everyone how great we are.
They’ll actually say, “I love working with Square 2.” Our goal at Square 2 is for you to love our agency!
We know what we have to do every quarter and every month to drive that reaction. Sometimes getting on the same page requires some discussion.
If a prospect wants 1,000 leads over the next 90 days, but they currently have no website, no content and no technology, it’s not likely we’ll be able to get them 1,000 leads.
We need to have that conversation before we even agree to work together. If we can agree on a more reasonable goal, or perhaps a higher level of investment, we can move forward. If we can’t, we’re not the right agency for this company.
This conversation has to happen regularly. As an agency, we must educate our clients on what is possible, how long it’s going to take and what is required to make it a reality. We should help our clients know not only what we are doing, but why we’re doing it and how it’s going to work.
If you’re not having conversations like this with your agency, you can ask them to start, but you might want to consider looking for a different and more strategic agency.
Once these expectations are more transparent and co-created, you’ll stop wondering if it’s taking too long or not. If your agency agrees to a set of results, they should be able to deliver month in and month out. Again, if they agree but can’t consistently deliver, it might be time to start looking for another agency.
Why You Don’t Have To Wait Anymore
Regardless of the above situations, in most cases companies want results and they want them fast. Yes, agencies have gotten good at telling clients to be patient. Wait for the marketing tactics to work. Wait for Google to rank your content. One of the big mantras with inbound marketing has always been that it takes time. While that is true, you don’t have to wait if you don’t want to.
Agencies With Innovative Engagements
Good news: Agencies are aware of your concern, and the innovative, proactive ones are developing engagement types that eliminate some of the self-inflicted challenges currently preventing you from seeing results faster.
At Square 2, we have three new and innovative engagements that remove all of the challenges discussed above.
1) Accelerated Engagements
How does six months of work in just 30 days sound? It’s possible. Instead of sharing your team with eight to 10 other clients, this engagement type gives you a dedicated team of people who are only working with one client – you.
Regardless of what you need, a team is built for your needs. Need writing? You get a dedicated writer and editor. Need interactive or web development? You get a dedicated web developer. Need design work? You get a dedicated designer. And you always get a dedicated growth strategist. Whatever you need, the team is configured out of the gate and assigned to work on only your stuff.
Want to learn more about the Accelerated Engagement? Click the video to learn more about why this engagement type should be at the top of your list in 2020.
The team meets with you and plans out your month. The faster the team moves, the more we can get done. The faster you approve work, the more we can get done.
There are no limits. You can have 10 e-books, landing pages, nurture campaigns, banner ads and CTA buttons.
You can have a huge website built. You can get four marketing campaigns built and scheduled. Work that would take months is done in just weeks.
Your team isn’t working on other clients. They’re not distracted. You get to know them and they get to know you. You huddle with them every morning and review what was done yesterday, talk about what they’re working on today and help remove obstacles.
Each week you agree on what needs to get done and the team delivers. It’s highly efficient, highly enjoyable and highly effective at fast-tracking any marketing and sales initiatives so they pay off immediately.
2) Accelerated Engagements With Ongoing Strategic And Optimization Consulting
Some clients ask us, “What happens after the 30 days are over? Do you just leave us?” Of course not.
After your 30-day Accelerated Engagement is over, you have options. Some clients want to see how the work is performing before they reengage. Others want to tackle other projects or campaigns. You can run another Accelerated Engagement at any time, and if you give us enough notice, you can get your entire team back on the project.
You can also continue with strategic consulting. We’ll assign a growth strategist to ride shotgun with you as your programs execute. They can help you understand what to do next, provide guidance, assist with optimization and be involved with ongoing testing.
They give you advice on which tactics will produce the best results for the least amount of effort. They’ll also brainstorm with you to help identify new tactics, new campaign ideas and new ways to produce even better results.
When you’re ready for your second or third Accelerated Engagement, we plan it ahead, lock up the team and the team is all yours.
3) Concentrated Retainer Engagements
Accelerated Engagements are not for everyone. They require a dedicated resource on your part to work with our team and they are investment-heavy. We did find a way to help clients finance this, so don’t let any preconceived notions around investment scare you away.
But not everyone wants to work like this, and we understand that. Having us on your team for an extended period of time (such as 12 to 24 months) is attractive to a lot of people.
We had to find a way to remove the old-school thinking and better allocate resources to your work.
The Concentrated Retainer Engagement does just this. These teams work with only four clients at a time, and they work with you for an entire week. In this engagement, we get an entire month’s worth of work done in just five days.
Your team works with just you for an entire week. The rest of the month, you’re huddling with your growth strategist to work on optimization strategy, review the data and plan for your upcoming weeklong sprint.
This highly efficient engagement style means you’ll be getting more work done than any other traditional retainer at a traditional agency.
You’ll be able to manage your time because you know in advance when we’re sprinting with you.
You’ll have three weeks to plan, in conjunction with your growth strategist, so each sprint is highly efficient and targeted, producing exactly what you need to move the needle.
These three innovative engagement types mean you’ll never wonder again how long it’s going to take to produce results.
The agency ecosystem is changing. Client requirements are pushing the more progressive agencies to roll out new types of engagements. Make sure you’re working with an innovative and progressive firm if you choose to bring on a partner to help you meet and exceed your increasingly challenging revenue goals.
Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.