How to Build an Effective Virtual Agency Team
Having a hard time scaling your agency? Finding it difficult to stop doing it all, all by yourself? Thinking of building an agency team but don’t know where to begin? Learn how to find and hire the right people for your agency and how to set them up for immediate success.
In this episode, we’ll cover:
- How to avoid common pitfalls of a virtual agency team.
- How to find top agency talent that fits with your core values.
- What to look for when hiring and building your team.
Today I was excited to talk to Ralph Burns, founder and CEO of Antares Enterprises, Inc. As one of the premier Facebook direct response marketers in the industry, he has built an agency around an interesting business model. Ralph’s agency team is entirely virtual, and everyone is certified in his agency’s processes before they even start on the job! Learning things the hard way, or the long way, Ralph shares how he overcame challenges by building and leading a successful team.
How to Overcome Common Pitfalls of a Virtual Agency Team
The biggest challenge, and one where it’s easy to get stuck, is getting past the “1-man model” and allowing yourself be OK not doing everything yourself.
Once you get someone on board with you and you’re able to realize that you both bring unique abilities to grow the agency in different directions, from there you can begin the talent search.
The hardest part about bringing on virtual talent is:
- Teaching them the ways of your agency.
- Building systems and documenting processes.
- Passing on the knowledge so someone can duplicate what you’ve been doing.
Once you get through that, you will be able to scale up from there. 1-on-1 Method – personally train the new employee, be in daily contact, coaching and mentoring them. While this can be effective, it also takes a long time and can be inefficient. Mentorship – utilize your current staff to build out documents such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to utilize moving forward with future new hires. SOPs are so important and should really become the basis for everything you do.
Documenting can be painful, but it’s the first step you have to take.
Listen, without SOPs — you’re SOL 🙂
A Unique Method for Discovering Agency Talent
It is important to have an educational platform on what you do in the agency…
Ralph actually took it a step further and decided to use his agency’s certification program as a pool for finding ideal candidates to hire as his agency grows. Get this…
Their rigorous 5-day training course is a stand alone program for individuals who want to get certified in Facebook Ads, with a practical test at the end. With access to the test results, this gives Ralph and his team a way to identify the best of the best and has opened up a new avenue for potential agency talent candidates.
Essentially, these people are trained on the agency’s processes and SOP, which eliminates a lot of the learning curve of a typical new hire, which could take another 3-5 months. Now, candidates are ready to roll and can get acclimated much faster to working with actual paying customers.
The beauty of this unique recruitment system is that they know people’s intentions because they are paying for the training and know how to do things, right when they start!
Plus as an agency, you owe it to your clients to have people who not only know how to run Facebook ads (whatever your speciality), but also know how to do it the way you do it – within your systems, inside your agency. Because ultimately, your clients are paying you for your expertise, including those systems you’ve developed.
What’s the #1 Account Manager Dilemma?
We all know this story… you have a great account manager on a large account and something happens that takes them out of commission, which means you and your clients are screwed.
The solution? Large accounts, those that are unwieldy or have a lot of moving parts can be co-managed. You have a lead account manager and a secondary account manager.
Another solution is to create smaller teams within your account management department. Have these teams meet once a week, even if they’re virtual, and talk through issues going on with their accounts. That way, if an account only has one manager, there are still two or three other managers familiar with that client.
What to Look for When Hiring Agency Talent
When you are in the process of recruiting agency talent people, don’t just go after the folks that are the best with a technical skill.
Consider your agency’s culture and core values. Then think of some key characteristics that are important to have. Technical skill can be taught, but culture and value is either there or not.
Things to consider in your recruitment efforts:
- Able to collaborate and innovate
- Collaboration is huge, especially if virtual.
- Be solution-oriented
- Hire people to solve problems for your clients.
- Problems are ok, but need to also work on solutions.
- Hungry and humble
- Have the drive to get better and improve without a cocky attitude.
ALSO: Consider creating your own agency manifesto as a vision to guide your decisions and get you through the tough times. It takes time to create, but it will become your compass and worth the investment of time.
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