New Agency Engagement Format Is Already Delivering Massive Results For Progressive Companies
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Working with digital marketing, inbound, demand generation, revenue growth and sales execution agencies is an excellent idea when you lack the bandwidth or proficiency to drive lead generation, sales growth and overall revenue generation up and to the right.
Under the traditional agency model (practiced by 99% of all agencies today), the people assigned to work with you are also working with between four and 10 other clients. This means you only get their attention for part of the month. It means they’re being pulled in multiple directions by multiple clients and multiple projects.
In some cases, you might only have them for four to five hours a month, yet you’re paying thousands of dollars a month.
Bottom line: This is not the most efficient way to deliver marketing, sales and revenue generation programs. This is also why you have to wait for results. In some cases six months, but in other cases 12 to 18 months, if you even see results at all.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Progressive agencies like Square 2 have created an engagement that puts a dedicated team on your company’s work to produce results in a much shorter time frame, typically 30 days instead of six months or longer.
Why The Traditional 12-Month Retainer Is Broken
Honestly, it’s not that the traditional engagement is wrong. For a lot of clients, it does make sense. The go-slow plan works if you don’t have dedicated marketing and sales operations resources. It makes sense when you want to stretch the payments. It makes sense if you’re only partially invested in transforming your business.
I know this last comment might seem strange. Who would be only partially invested, right? But the reality is most people are not fully invested. They don’t want to make hard changes to their business. They don’t want to be remarkable. They don’t want to change how they market or sell. They might even be wondering if investing in marketing is the right move.
If you go into something thinking it might not work, my experience is that no matter what we do, it’s not going to work.
In a recent prospect meeting, a CEO asked us, “How long do I have to consider marketing a money pit before I see results?” If that’s how you view marketing, you are never going to grow your company and never going to see success from anything you do in marketing. Needless to say, we passed on that business.
The 12-month retainer is not in the best interest of the customer. Agencies sell them because that’s what people want and it’s what they expect from an agency. The main reason agencies offer them is because this is currently the only way to apply resources at a reasonable level of investment and over a period that is long enough to get enough work done to produce any meaningful results.
Agencies use this engagement type because it matches delivery with a client’s budget. There is no real insight into how long anything is going to take to produce results.
Agencies just come up with a monthly retainer value, sometimes based on what prospects say their budget is, but more times it’s based on where the agency thinks they need to be to win the business. Then they assign a certain amount of work to that number. If you pay $5,000 a month, you get less work than if you pay $10,000 a month.
Generally, more work equals better results, but again, this is 100% arbitrary. There is no reason why agencies can’t do much more work in a much shorter time with more resources and drive better results faster.
It’s this thinking that drove us to consider blowing up the traditional retainer model and creating something better.
Clients Want Results Immediately
I don’t know any clients who like paying month over month while their agency plods along doing what they can with their budgets in the current shared client model. Everyone would like to get their results faster.
Customers are used to a more microwave economy where everything is delivered the same day or the next day. Waiting months seems so 2001. Want to watch a movie? Click a button and it’s on. Need new sneakers? Click a button and they’re at your doorstep today or tomorrow. Want food from any restaurant? Click a button and it’s delivered.
Like it or not, we (as consumers) don’t want to wait, and the best companies are delivering on that need. Agencies can do it, too.
Just imagine the difference between hiring a part-time team member who only works for you 10 hours a month vs. someone who works 40 hours a month. You wouldn’t be surprised to see the difference in production, performance and of course results.
Let’s run some numbers. If an average consultant works 40 hours a week, that’s 160 hours for the month. If they have even five accounts, that’s only eight hours a week per account.
But wait, we know people do other things besides work on client stuff, so it’s more than likely that you’re getting your consultant for about six hours a week. That’s why it takes so long to produce results.
Efficiency Drives Creativity And Cost Reductions For Clients
But there is so much more to this than just the number of hours. Think about what your consultant’s day looks like if they have five or six clients (by the way, most agencies have their consultants handling eight to 10 clients).
They have emails, meetings, work for different clients, phone calls, Slack messages, time tracking and writing for all those clients. It’s a very hectic, inefficient and distracting day. There is no way they can produce their best work day in and day out.
Now think about a team that is working just for you. That’s 40 hours of work on your strategy, campaigns, tactics, analytics and program performance optimization. But wait, it gets even better. It’s not just one person; it’s your writer, your designer, your website developer, your paid media specialist and your conversion optimization expert. Everyone assigned to you is working only on your company’s work.
This drives so many efficiencies that the model is able to provide significant discounts on the cost of a dedicated team engagement and pass those along to the client. Work that might cost you $20,000 in the shared model costs only $14,000 in the dedicated model.
Hold on, there is more. It’s proven that people who shift gears and jump from project to project during the day are much less efficient, creative and happy.
By letting the teams focus on just one client, they think about that client all day. The team of people working on just one client is working together every day brainstorming and talking about just one client.
Their creativity is heightened, their understanding of the client and their industry is enhanced, their focus is elevated and all of the distractions are removed. This is a major element required for producing better results in a much shorter amount of time.
There Is No Reason To Wait 12 Months For Results
These types of engagements mean there is no reason to wait even four months for results. Results can be delivered in the first month. This includes any strategy required to redo messaging, to make your business more remarkable, to understand your metrics, to create the right set of orchestrated tactics, to install the tech stack required and to set up the analytics needed to track performance.
What once took several months now takes one month — one month with a dedicated team of people putting their entire effort, energy, time and collective knowledge into just one client.
Imagine getting ten 20-page e-books and all of the associated assets like landing pages, CTA buttons, banners and lead nurture emails in just 30 days.
Imagine getting a 33-page SEO-optimized website with a knowledge center and advanced conversion pages in just 30 days.
Imagine planning, building and launching your account-based marketing (ABM) campaign complete with targeting data, educational content, sales outreach tools and dashboards for tracking in just 30 days.
It’s all possible with a dedicated team of people working on just one client.
What About The Budget?
This is a key point, and it’s one we can’t overlook. Yes, this does trash the 12-month payment plan associated with the traditional retainer model. To deliver this kind of accelerated program requires much more money up front. But the results are delivered faster, so the ROI is realized quicker.
By having these marketing and sales improvements installed faster, you have more time to realize the gains associated with these upgrades, which actually makes the ROI far more significant.
We’ve cracked the code on the investment challenge, too.
Just like buying a car, you rarely pay for the car in cash at the dealer. Most people finance their car over three to five years. This make the payments manageable.
We’ve found similar financing options. So while the 30-day program requires an upfront investment, you can pay for it over six months.
Now you’re getting the results fast and making the same payments you would in a traditional retainer model. It’s the best of both worlds, and that’s how you solve for the customer.
Square 2 is the only agency delivering what we now call the Accelerated Engagement. You get a dedicated team, customized based on your goals, working with only your company for 30 days.
Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!