For every dollar a local business owner spends on technology and digital solutions, $2.50 is spent on implementation and ongoing services from marketing agencies and other local experts. Digital technology is a $220 billion market that is rapidly expanding and comes with it’s own set of challenges. Based on Vendasta research, in a 2020 survey of more than 600 respondents, local agencies and business experts cited the number one challenge they face in providing digital solutions to local businesses is their ability to scale their operations.
At Conquer Local Connect 2021 in June, Vendasta Executive Vice-President of Product, Gib Olander, outlined key tactics for making growth less painful for agencies, managed service providers, and entrepreneurs that have made it their mission to support local businesses. Here are the Top 4 most common challenges faced by local experts and tactics to help overcome them.
Challenge #1 to Scale Your Agency: Attracting Qualified Leads
Three out of four B2B buyers want to self-educate and try before they buy. Most local business owners want to test drive technology before ever spending a cent. To show up in places where small-and medium-sized business (SMB) owners search, and have the best chance at capturing a lead, try these tips:
- Optimize your website for search engines. Ensure you’re easy to find by positioning yourself as a technology company.
- Make sure your product catalog is available online. Adopt a product-led (freemium) acquisition strategy so that your clients can try before they buy. Use this approach to uncover insights about your prospects so you can meet their needs with the right paid solution at the right time. Resource Recommendation: The Product-Led Sales Process a 2-Person Agency Used to Close 19 Clients in 2 Months: The Digital Concierge Case Study.
- Nurture your leads with email campaigns. Use marketing automation to trigger a campaign automatically whenever you get a new lead so your business always remains top of mind for them.
Challenge #2 to Scale Your Agency: Knowing What to Sell and When
According to Olander, the secret to sales success resides in your data.
“In the sales process, ask yourself what are the pieces of data that you can bring to the table for your prospects. Do you have competitive intelligence and industry benchmarks? Do you understand how their online performance compares to the businesses that matter to them? These data points allow you to earn trust,” he said.
Olander recommended leaning on data from sales intelligence tools like the Vendasta Snapshot Report, to surface data that helps you gain trust with your SMB clients, identifies what solutions your local business clients need, and when they need them.
Challenge #3 to Scale Your Agency: Connecting with Prospects
The pain of sending multiple back-and-forth emails, playing phone tag and texting a client several times just to find out when both you and your sales prospect are available for a meeting, can be a major cause of concern. Not only is there opportunity for a follow-up to fall off of your radar, but the process can frustrate prospects, causing them to abandon their intentions to find out more about working with you.
“Use a meeting scheduling software that’s integrated with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. Just by using a tool that’s dedicated to help you schedule meetings, experts can save an incredible 10 hours per week,” Olander said.
Challenge #4 to Scale Your Agency: Predictable Revenue
“Without being able to predict how much revenue you’ll be generating next month, next quarter or next year, it’s impossible to grow your operations. It limits your ability to hire new staff, determine whether or not you can afford to spend more on marketing, and figure out if you should invest in expanding your product offerings.
“All of these problems can be solved by effectively managing your sales pipeline. It’s a critical component to growing your business,” Olander said.
Manage your sales pipeline in a CRM through four basic stages:
Looking across our channel partner base, we found that one in 10 opportunities resulted in a sales order. Your mileage may vary, with a higher conversion rate or fewer opportunities, but it’s a nice ratio to keep in mind as you work your (sales) pipeline. It’s a starting point for understanding how much revenue you can forecast based on what’s in your pipeline.
In addition to creating opportunities, Olander recommended using a metric-driven approach to move prospects through a sales pipeline. Monitor activities that lead to winning new business, like the number of calls, prospecting emails sent, and booked meetings, and use a CRM that can track this activity.
Local Expert Success Story
Having earned more than $4.7 million through the Vendasta platform, with 1,271 billed products in 2020 alone, Vendasta partner and digital agency, Social Ordeals has become an expert on how to grow agency operations.
“Social Ordeals has been one of Vendasta’s longest lasting and most successful partners. It’s stories like Chris’s, and how he was able to build his business with the Vendasta platform that inspires and motivates us to do our very best work.
“By using Vendasta’s end-to-end platform, Social Ordeals has been able to successfully grow their business over the years into one of our top-ranking partners in the United States,” Olander said.
Wrapping Up: 5 Key Takeaways for Scaling Your Operations
- Focus on attracting product-qualified leads. Optimize your website and nurture it with email campaigns.
- Use data to help understand what to sell and when. Use a sales intelligence tool like the Vendasta Snapshot report and set time aside to use up your monthly allotment of reports you can generate to help you sell to new leads.
- Engage using integrated meeting schedulers. Setup text replacement on your mobile device to quickly send a link to book a meeting into your calendar.
- Build a sales pipeline and fill it with opportunities. Monitor top activities that lead to winning new business like number of calls, prospecting emails sent, and meetings booked.
- Adopt an end-to-end platform. Stop piecing together different technologies to solve your biggest challenges by using a single integrated platform for a seamless experience that removes complexity and reduces costs.
“By using one unified place where you can login, manage, view and assign, you're removing obstacles that crop up when you’re ‘frankensteining’ together different digital solutions to build your business.
“Simple data, like the name, address and phone number of your prospects, becomes incredibly hard to deal with if you don’t have it in a standard format so that one system knows how to talk to another,” Olander said.
Find out how much you can save by consolidating your operations with the Vendasta end-to-end platform. Click below to access a free economic advantage calculator today: