There was a lot of market uncertainty when COVID-19 struck in March 2020. Businesses everywhere were scrambling to figure out contingencies for continuing operations or preparing to shut down.
None could predict what would happen next as the coronavirus spread across the world and many were preparing for the worst.
In the past, when agency owners sought to learn in one place what other like-minded professionals were up to, they often attended live and in-person marketing conferences where they could connect with peers and experts. But that possibility quickly came to an abrupt end.
The social-distanced world swiftly began moving to online conferences. And from that en masse move came the idea for the Conquer Local community sessions.
COVID forced all businesses and marketing agency owners to remote working. Unfortunately for some, businesses slowed down.
But it also provided an opportunity to finally focus on building their business and learning new and better ways to drive growth and success.
Looking to provide marketing agencies with the necessary support, Vendasta launched the Conquer Local Academy where business partners could access training, tools, products, and industry expert insights to help them grow.
Conquer Local is a Vendasta initiative that provides a virtual forum for marketing agency owners to learn how to effectively sell and resell software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to local businesses.
Within that ecosystem, are different pillars, including: the Conquer Local Academy for on-demand learning, the community forum for information exchange and sharing, and community learning sessions for co-creating knowledge and encouraging open discussions.
What are community sessions?
The Conquer Local community sessions are a virtual place where marketing agency owners, who are Vendasta partners, connect with each other to discuss business tactics and strategies.
It’s an immersive experience where everyone comes together to collaborate, brainstorm unique ideas to overcome challenges, and celebrate wins together.
In these weekly sessions, held each Friday, partners discuss shared problems on topics that range from starting an agency to lead generation, and from customer service to managing relationships.
It’s a place of marketing community support and where synergistic relationships grow.
What are the benefits of community sessions
The Conquer Local community sessions offer many benefits, including:
1. Challenging the status quo
One of the biggest risks for marketing agency owners today is to be stuck in old methods and approaches, and not experimenting with new strategies that could help grow their businesses.
According to this article, real business growth is only possible through a willingness to change and explore new opportunities. While the principle applies to every business, it’s especially relevant for agencies because marketing is a dynamic and constantly evolving industry.
The Conquer Local community sessions encourage attendees to embrace the need to continually change and evolve their businesses. By connecting with other professionals in the community, agency owners learn and explore other options and alternatives, and challenge themselves to consider different strategies.
Some choose to be active participants while others are more passive listeners, but all benefit from the exploration of new business ideas.
2. Solving problems
Many marketing agency owners often encounter problems that they have no idea how to solve.
For example, consider an agency that is challenged with project management. They have many questions, but no answers.
The Conquer Local community sessions provide a platform to learn from those who might have experienced similar challenges in the past who have formulated insights and created solutions.
3. Encouraging collaboration
Collaboration helps marketing agencies think of new and innovative ideas to achieve success.
Professionals gain knowledge from industry peers, learn from their experiences, share ideas, and use those insights to create strategies for their own business.
The Conquer Local community sessions provide a collaborative platform for discussion and help agency owners form accountability groups where everyone pushes one another to achieve their goals, experiment with different strategies, and celebrate victories.
4. Helping agencies grow revenue
Conquer Local community sessions have provided learnings and discussions that have led to business deal wins.
One agency owner, through the application of what was learned during a session, found ways to increase annual revenue, during the peak period of COVID-19.
Another community session, heard discussion suggested choosing a market niche and focusing on serving those specific customers. The strategy was based on the notion of building perceived authority.
Focusing on a niche market can enhance an agency’s position as an expert in a specific domain and help to build greater customer trust in specialized verticals, as opposed to a company that might be perceived as a “jack of all trades and master of none”.
During the discussion, one agency owner was reluctant to implement this strategy, fearing that a smaller customer segment would likewise reduce business opportunities.
But taking the advice of peers who had previously done likewise, by focusing on specialization the agency was able to grow its business.
They were able to design a step-by-step checklist for the retargeted business and its operations, which resulted in a repeatable formula for success. And it generated word-of-mouth referrals from that agency’s existing customers.