Everyone wants to know how to scale quickly, but most lack the tools that are needed to do so.
I’m not going to jump in by saying “go digital”, because, well, you should already be doing that. You should already be adding digital marketing products to your product skus and bundling them into your packages. Traditional marketing will no longer be able to stand alone without marrying it with digital products.
We’re going to talk about what it means to scale, how to scale, and the basic elements of scaling that you need to succeed. Keep reading for the top 10 elements to scaling intelligently.
Table of Contents
What does it mean to Scale a Business?
Some people assume scaling is synonymous with expansion, but they both have a different importance to the success of your business. Expansion is essentially growing your product offerings, adding location, and hiring more staff, whereas our definition of scaling is:
Scaling is the ability to grow your business so others see the value. This includes your customers, your investors, your team, and you!Jeff Folckemer
Scaling is essentially making strategic initiatives that allow your audience to see a higher level of value. If you are continuously working on creating higher levels of value for your customers, you are scaling your business for future success.
Scale x Revenue x NPS = Value
Scaling matters because by creating a healthy and scalable business model, you are creating a healthy community.
How can Traditional Marketing Companies Scale?
Stop selling for a moment, and start listening.
Listening to what your customers are asking you for is the key to scaling more intelligently.
If traditional marketing companies (e.i. newspapers, yellow pages..etc.) want to continue to scale, adding digital marketing solutions to their product sku’s will act as additional value and be the solution their customers are looking for. Gaining revenue from digital products will turn your business into a one-stop shop marketing agency that small businesses are in search of today.
10 Key Elements of Scaling Intelligently
Each move you make must be trainable, trackable, and reportable. Being efficient means making the best possible use of your resources, decreasing costs, and increasing productivity.
What does this mean for your business?
This means that each product or service that you sell needs to cost less than the one you sold before. This happens because you are constantly becoming more efficient, meaning it will take less resources each time to sell one of that product or service. After you break even, your margin should increase for each product that you sell to indicate that you are scaling because of increased efficiency.
Your customer acquisition cost (CAC) will act as an indicator to measure if your efficiency is constantly increasing as costs are decreasing.
CAC = (total marketing expenses + total sales expenses) / Number of new customers acquired
Rinse and repeat. Having a repeatable process is necessary to make process improvements and increase efficiency in your processes. In order for your processes to be repeatable, ensure you are constantly documenting your steps so you know what to repeat, and what not to.
Your team needs to have consistency in their workflows and processes to be able to be successful in their day-to-day tasks. Once you do that, what’s stopping your sales team from selling now? Nothing. You’ve taken away all possible excuses, and have given them a consistent workflow. Your team needs to have strong sales leaders in charge who are pushing for these things, that way your sales team will trust your process and trust you to guide them.
- Have a consistent workflow
- Document the steps
- Review & make improvements
Communication within a business has a huge impact on the top line. Your revenue and sales can be impacted by messages being missed along the way or lost in translation.
You want to find your single source of truth. Most importantly, you should be communicating on actions that have been taken, and on actions that need to be taken.
Stop hiding your mistakes.
Rarely do people want to admit when they make a mistake, but it’s the only way your team can learn from it. Every department should know so that they have the opportunity to learn from it, therefore lessening the chance of someone making the same error in the future.
You cannot over-communicate.
4. Task Completion
As your team’s skills evolve and your products evolve, your tasks will evolve with it. The key to task completion is having one solution where all your tasks live together in one place. By having your tasks track-able and transparent, you will drive team performance and have increased accountability among your team. Having transparency will allow you to stop certain tasks that are not aligned, or make changes before they happen. Always make sure it’s track-able. Using software such as Trello or Asana will allow you to create one space for tasks and allow transparency in your work.
Do you have a dashboard?
Whether you’ve built your dashboard yourself, or you use someone else’s, the most important factor is engagement. Having a customer-facing dashboard that showcases the things you are doing is great for showing customers the work you have done for them.
The top thing to monitor is engagement. You may think you’ve created a flawless dashboard, but are people using it? Are they deleting it? Are they logging in? You want your dashboard to be engaging and interactive; a one-stop shop where customers can buy in an engaging marketplace.
So-- what will get them to engage?
Consider your current offerings, and consider what your customers have been inquiring about. Do your customers want a product for reputation management? Do they want to integrate other services they use? Listen to your customers and make changes accordingly.
Predictability is an important skill to be competitive in your market. Even if you can’t always predict the exact outcomes, understanding the process allows you to predict your workload, your pipeline capability for growth, and your ability to fulfill and produce an end product or service.
The one thing predictability allows you to do is take your pipeline, know at what step in the pipeline a prospect will close, as well as predict what your staff/fulfillment team needs to look like 5-6 months prior.
Predictiability is a company wide effort — daily tasks should be known by all. It takes your admins, operation staff, sales staff, customer service, fulfillment team, etc. to help you predict the future. Predictability gives you the ability to scale appropriately.
Here you can create the content that will be used within the module.
7. Play to Your Strengths
Sometimes we’re so busy focusing on other aspects that we forget to take advantage of the things we do best. Focus on what you do best. Your biggest strengths are the ones that help drive your brand, product, and engagement. Capitalize on your strengths to bring new products and services to secure a trusted relationship with your customers.
Your strength can be anything. If you can sell well, get selling.
For example, say you have 100 customers who love your product and trust you — that’s your strength. They feel comfortable with your staff enough to tell you their needs and what they want from you. Say one of these customers hears about new SMS texting software for getting reviews, but you answer with “No, we don’t offer that..”, you are not playing to your strengths. You didn’t listen to what your trusting customer came right out and asked you. Your strength was that you cultivated engaging customers, but now you aren’t playing to your strength of selling to them.
Other agencies are listening to customers and that’s how they are scaling quickly. Know your customers. Know your sales team. Find quick wins.
8. Be Innovative
It’s easy to tell someone to “be innovative”, but it really means knowing how to utilize a marketplace. Work smarter, not harder. Sounds pretty cliché… and it is, but it’s also true.
Change your ways. Go into the marketplace and buy one of every product, then turn it all on for one customer. This is the way to monitor what works for your target demographic. Sit back, test it, and most importantly track what happens. Pull in your marketing team to help track performance. Did we get hot leads from this? Did it drive ROI? Did it drive new customers?
Have a marketplace that allows your customers to have what they’re asking for now, and having them already integrated into a streamlined process and workflow will allow for easy integration of products/services that they ask for in the future.
- Be ready for what comes next
- Have flexible options to add to your product stack
- Work any new product or service into the same task and workflow
9. Invest Wisely
Investing wisely means being able to see growth in a short amount of time. To that we’ll say, only build when necessary. Your internal team members will want to build everything internally, but that isn’t always the best use of your time or cash flows.
You need to ask yourself if the expense of building is worth it at this point in your business. Even if you do have extra cash-flows to build, is it the smartest move to use those cash-flows, take developers time, which would take them away from other important tasks, and possibly miss your time to market? Not typically, no.
Again, it’s all about listening to your customers and doing it quickly. Don’t make your customers wait 6-9 months for your developers to build on their own, when you could be going out and finding an alternative solution that you can deliver to your customers quicker and for cheaper.
10. Integrate Everything
Whats everything? It’s your agency’s owned & operated (O&O) products. A key element to scaling intelligently is your ability to take your O&O products/services and integrate them into the same workflow.
Knowing that 67% of marketing leaders currently use a marketing automation platform assures us that full integration is a must. This way you are setting up your company, employees, and products & services, so you are ready for anything.
What does integration mean for your company? It means end to end task management, which leads to growth, which leads to value, which leads to scaling, and ultimately success.
Scale x Revenue x NPS= success, customers, and growth
Though there is no one secret to scaling, these 10 basic elements will equip you with your next 10 priorities on your way to scaling your business.
Take a moment to think how each of these elements can be applied to your agency. Which of these are you doing well already? Which do you do poorly? Analyze what part of your team is creating the most value for your customers, now scale it.