Are You Diluting Your Team’s Focus With Too Many Services?
Do you offer too many agency services? Are you trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, making you the master of none? Does your broad service offering dilute your team’s focus? Today’s guest is an e-commerce expert whose agency works exclusively with one e-commerce platform he believes is better than the rest. In this interview, he talks about what’s next in e-commerce and what you should look to improve in your website.
Guillaume Le Tual is the Founder and CEO of MageMontreal, an agency committed to building powerful e-commerce websites to increase clients’ sales. They work exclusively with the Magento platform. Why? According to Guillaume, the agency tried working with other platforms and found Magento is the best open source e-commerce platform on the market.
In this episode, we’ll discuss:
- Narrowing your agency’s service offering.
- Hiring for culture fit and values.
- Niching down to avoid diluting your team’s focus.
Sponsors and Resources
E2M Solutions: Today’s episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by E2M Solutions, a web design and development agency that has provided white label services for the past 10 years to agencies all over the world. Check out e2msolutions.com/smartagency and get 10% off for the first three months of service.
Get to know your Smart Agency Guest Host: Dr. Jeremy Weisz is the co-founder of Rise25, an agency that helps companies launch and run podcasts profitably. He followed Jason’s podcast and eventually joined the mastermind and has been a guest on the podcast before. Today, he’s helping Jason bring something new to the Smart Agency podcast audience by interviewing a special guest and bringing a new perspective to the show.
Narrowing Your Service Offering and Focusing on a Horizontal Niche
Guillaume started his career as a visual artist building background art for clients like The National Bank of Canada and Warner Bros. He gained experience in web design, digital marketing, and e-commerce and eventually decided to start his agency, MageMontreal.
According to Guillaume, he and his team tried dozens of other e-commerce platforms before settling on working exclusively as a Magento agency. They offer complete e-commerce website design and development, maintenance, and integration of Magento with third-party software.
Now, they are one of very few Magento-certified agencies in Canada and can see the best decision for their business was focusing on one very specific niche and cutting down on their service offering to be the very best at just one. Remember, a niche can be a specific market (vertical niche) or a specific skillset (horizontal niche).
Software and Technology in E-Commerce
Guillaume says we’re still a long way from truly developing AI to what we’ve seen in movies. Most companies are not at a point where they are truly using AI. However, it is used in for things like product recommendations. Using Adobe Sensei, for example, users can get product recommendations based on shopper behavior, popular trends, and product similarity. If a suggestion does not convert into a sale, next time it will make a different suggestion, which indicates that the machine is learning. That would be the low-hanging fruit available right now. It can also be used to improve the search bar, for example, to get more relevant search results.
It’s really a step-by-step process to integrate this technology into your company. It requires prior steps like cleaning up your data and standardizing your processes to be able to implement this. After implementing marketing automation at every step of your email process and onboarding process, the next level would be using AI to help you run that.
There’s also some interesting work done with progressive web apps (PWA). Basically, this is a hybrid between a native app and a website so you get the benefits of both. So even though it’s a website, in terms of maintenance you don’t have to constantly download the latest version of the app. It’s a website, so you always have the latest content. It also has some limited offline capabilities. And it includes push notifications for marketing like you would have with a native app.
Hiring For Values and Resourcefulness
When it comes to his hiring process, Guillaume prioritizes the agency’s values. He recommends not overcomplicating it and having a list of three or four things the candidates must comply with. “Do not compromise when it comes to your values,” he advises. Whether it’s sales or HR, if the candidate does not meet these requirements, they’re not the right fit for your agency. Also, take your time with the process if you have to because rushing leads to mistakes.
Above all, he prioritizes a strong work ethic and desire to provide the best possible service. He asks candidates to provide examples of times they feel they provided excellent customer service. He also looks for resourcefulness. Sometimes it can be an issue when an employee comes from a big company to work at a smaller agency. They might be accustomed to having more resources, and it’s important to Guillaume the employees show they can figure out creative solutions without those resources.
Replacing Yourself in the Daily Agency Operations
He recently hired a Head of Project Management, an operations role not yet running without him. Originally, he was going to hire from within but was surprised to find an outside person who fit this role.
After making sure it was a good fit for the agency, he delegated tasks and immediately saw a difference. It was a game changer between when he organized everything a having a person with operational expertise. With someone in charge of organizing the pile of things to do and delivering on all of it, he completely removed himself from the client services process.
Stop Diluting Your Team’s Focus and Be an Expert
Do you offer a very wide set of services? Looking back, that was MageMontreal. They handled everything from website building and design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, IT support. At one point, Guillaume checked Apple’s website and realized he offered more services than Apple.
He decided at that point this needed to change because doing too much was diluting his team’s time and focus. You can successfully offer such a wide variety of services, but you need a staff of hundreds in order to do it properly. So, he decided to cut down his offering and focused on just their expertise. Overall, his agency helps clients with website building and some consulting. However, for other services like marketing and hosting they usually refer clients to their partner agencies.
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