Making mistakes is completely normal and expected. However, the issue becomes more serious when the source of those mistakes is the agency’s overarching strategy. If this is flawed, then the business is at risk. One of these common issues is what I call the “feast or famine” mentality. It happens when you hunt down as much new business as you can find, then get so busy servicing clients that you stop seeking new business. All resources go to urgent matters like hitting deadlines, and meanwhile, blog posts don’t get written and your monthly newsletter becomes a quarterly one.
As new business activity peters out, you start to realize that some clients aren’t happy or have left you completely. So you get the blog back on track, produce webinars, prioritize conferences, and go back the other way — to the extreme.
This back and forth between extremes simply isn’t stable for three reasons:
- Desperation leads to bad choices. When you’re in famine mode, you have to take whatever business you can get. You need money, so you take any client willing to work with you. Working with someone when it’s a bad fit never ends well.
- Bad experiences hurt your long game. When you try to make it work with clients who don’t naturally fit, they leave with a bad taste in their mouths. Too many bad encounters with your agency will scare clients away who may have been good fits.
- It makes your team miserable. Dramatic ebbs and flows in business are stressful on your staff. Not only does working with bad clients drag down morale, but the frequent famine times also make your company a risky place to work. If people think their jobs will be more secure elsewhere, you could lose your best talent.
A consistent workflow allows you to be more selective about who you choose to work with and creates a healthier, more stable work environment. The goal is to have prospects in all stages of the buying process to cultivate a steady flow of opportunity.
There are three main things you can do to balance your workflow:
1) Define your ‘sweet-spot targets’ as narrowly as you can.
A big reason clients rule out agencies is because they don’t have deep enough knowledge and experience in the client’s industry. Agencies that attempt to be too general instead of zeroing in on a niche are actually more limited in how much they can do for clients. Pick your specialty, and focus on finding clients in that area of expertise.
2) Position yourself as a thought leader in that industry.
You can do this by doing your homework about a prospect and demonstrating that you’re willing to learn more. In showing prospects you have experience tackling similar obstacles, you’ll address their unique concerns. As you complete work with clients, collect testimonials and case studies to share with future prospects.
3) Regularly offer valuable insights that will attract sweet-spot prospects.
I once met with a business owner who had read (and collected) my column for three years before he was able to work with our company. That was three years of putting out content with no direct ROI, but there turned out to be plenty of value in building trust. That customer has been with us for five years, and working with him has been both enjoyable and profitable.
If you’re currently going into famine, take the above advice to level things out. Your clients will have better experiences working with you, your staff will appreciate the stability, and you’ll go to bed with a full (but not too full) belly every night.
This article was written by Drew McLellan and originally published on HubSpot.