How Involved Should an Agency Owner Be In Sales #AskSwenk Episode 26
In this episode, we’ll cover:
- Agency owner involvement in sales – how much, if any?
- How to setup a commission structure.
- Whether an agency is sellable if sales or brand is tied to the owner.
This week, Jack asks a series of GREAT questions…
“How do you grow beyond you, the owner, doing the majority of sales so you can free up time and work ON the business? Or, should your focus be on sales?” (0:22)
If you want to stop working IN your business, so you can start working ON your business then you need to have the right systems in place. That includes a system for generating leads and converting them to sales. This is the only way you can scale.
As an agency owner, I was involved with sales until we grew to the $500K mark.
When my agency grew to beyond a half-million in revenue, I had a sales team and as the owner, I only assisted with sales. I let the sales team get through the first couple stages in the sales process before I would get involved – usually around Stage 2 ½ or 3…
3 Stages in our Sales Process:
- Qualify the prospect using NBAT (need, budget, authority and timing). You do this before you’ve met to prevent yourself from spinning wheels on a proposal for a less-than-ideal client. Also, understand the 3 I’s of the project: Issue, Important and Impact.
- Vet them out thoroughly. Can we work together and have a mutually beneficial relationship? Then set up the meeting and present the proposal.
- Investigate additional opportunities. Following the proposal we would look for more ways to bring value to the relationship.
Set your team up for success by making them look like a ROCK STARS. Add color to meetings with your experience and expertise, but let your Account Manager actually run the meetings. This establishes them as a trusted and respected team member.
“How do you compensate the Account Manager? Do you pay a percentage to them for finding the deal? Do they get a different percentage for upsells after the fact?” (4:07)
We had an amazing process for compensation and upsells at my agency. Below is how my agency structured commission. Of course, you need to adjust depending on your goals and revenue.
My team worked on salary + commission on a sliding scale. They earned the same commission regardless of the lead source. They had a sales goal over a set period of time and were compensated on a tiered scale like this:
- 5% commission – Sales less than $250K
- 10% commission – Sales $250K to $500K
- 12% commission – Sales $500K and above
They were compensated equally for upsells. And they were encouraged to work with the account teams to investigate additional opportunities. Cohesiveness within the entire team is important. You never want a client to feel handed off or abandoned.
“How much contact should the CEO have after the sale is made? Who “owns the relationship” with the client?” (5:22)
You should have very little contact with the client after the sale is made. If you do YOUR job and set up your team as rock stars, then the client won’t want to talk to you – they’ll want to talk with your team of rock stars. If you, the CEO, reaches out to a client they’ll suspect something is wrong. Furthermore, they will likely start asking questions about project details and since you aren’t involved in the day-to-day, you won’t be able to answer them.
My advice: Resist the urge to manage everything. Trust you’ve hired and trained an awesome team. Work on the things that are going to help you GROW and SCALE. Leave the details to all those rock stars.
“Is your agency sellable if it can’t make sales without you? Or if you’re the face of the company?” (6:17)
Let’s be honest. If another agency is looking to acquire yours, it’s because they’re already successful. They don’t need you to generate sales for them; they already have the right systems and processes in place. This includes successful lead gen and sales processes. If another agency is growing so much that they’ll be looking to roll yours in, it’s because they want your agency’s specialty, location or clients to add to their revenue and continue to grow.
Chances are if you sell your agency you will stay on for a while anyway. I am a huge proponent of personal brands within companies. Don’t be afraid to be the face of the company. It won’t make your agency any less attractive to future buyers.
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