Episode 134:

One of the most rewarding aspects of AMI is that we can give agency owners a sense of perspective. Owning and running an agency is lonely and isolated. You make decisions based on what you know and usually you only know your own reality. I love it when I can shine a light on how other agencies are doing something or a best practice or metric that gives owners confidence that you’re on track or even that you’re ahead of the curve.

Hubspot recently completed a survey of over 1,200 marketing agency decision makers and I was invited to comment on some of the findings. After reading the report, I knew the insights were something we needed to explore together on the podcast.

Tim Dearlove is the Growth Marketing Manager at Hubspot, which as you know is a market leading inbound marketing and sales suite of tools that is very agency centric and they invest a huge amount of time and effort to support agencies all over the globe. (Note: And the presenting sponsor of Build A Better Agency)

Some of the findings will touch on themes you live with every day – the fears and frustrations of any agency owner. There are some trends and practices we’ll call to your attention and some opportunities for you to take the lead over your competition.

We’ll also look at how you can stay ahead of your clients – and the importance of ongoing learning not just for you, but for the talent you hire as well.

It’s an episode full of big ideas and targeted actions you can take to make your agency better and your life a bit easier.



What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Retainers/long-term relationships: why they are great for your agency as well as your clients
  • Retainers that allow your agency to provide services on an ongoing basis while keeping control
  • Some of the mistakes agencies make by not clearly defining what the service is and tying the value directly to the offering
  • Going through the process and making sure the decision to work on a retainer basis is thought out and not just tacked on at the end
  • Why the paid discovery process is the ideal way to enter into a retainer agreement (and why it’s not always possible)
  • The three categories a retainer should have to provide value to the client: optimization, insurance, and strategy
  • How to talk to prospects so they understand the value of an ongoing relationship
  • Three great ways to clearly define and price your services
  • Why your clients will test the boundaries of your agreement if you don’t clearly define them
  • The importance of saying “no” and the right and wrong ways to do it
  • Why consistent, clear communication with ongoing clients is a great way to upsell services
  • Building systems and processes for great internal and external communication
  • Why you have to work on your processes in small increments or they will never get done

The Golden Nuggets:

“Staying smarter than your clients is a tricky thing.” – @tdearlove Click To Tweet “Good negotiation starts with confidence in your work.” – @tdearlove Click To Tweet “Having an expert negotiator is crucial. It’s job one for presenting proposals to clients.” – @tdearlove Click To Tweet “The biggest pain points for agency leaders are 1. The sales pipeline, and 2. Not having time to think strategically about the business.” – @tdearlove Click To Tweet “Agencies are great at casting a wide net. What they are not great at is specializing, finding the right clients and turning the wrong clients away.” – @tdearlove Click To Tweet “When it comes to unique positioning, be honest with yourself, and find outside perspective about what makes your agency unique.” – @tdearlove Click To Tweet “Invest in talent. You’re going to get less and less competitive the less you invest in your people. It’s a vicious cycle.” – @tdearlove Click To Tweet “Do NOT cast a wide net. Instead, ask the question, ‘How can I turn OFF some clients?’” – @tdearlove Click To Tweet “Our research shows 50% of agencies are NOT investing in career growth and long-term learning. You can’t find and keep good employees without investing in their knowledge base.” – @tdearlove Click To Tweet


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Ways to contact Tim Dearlove:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!