Why One Digital Agency Started with 50% of the Team Dedicated to Sales

By Jason Swenk on February 10, 2020

Do you want to grow faster while also staying nimble like a small agency? Growing your agency means growing your team. One agency actually did it by early-on dedicating half of its team to sales. Sometimes it just takes a simple change of focus or a deeper look at the effectiveness of your processes to find meaningful success.

In today’s episode we’ll cover:

  • 3 keys to landing the right agency prospects.
  • Is it time to break apart your agency teams?
  • How to build on successful sales and continue to grow.

Today I talked to Michael Weinhouse, founder and co-CEO of Logical Position, his digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. In just 10 years Michael’s team has grown to over 700 employees. Find out how an early focus on sales led to tremendous agency growth.

3 Keys to Landing the Right Agency Prospects

In the beginning, clients don’t just come to you. Gaining clients and growing your agency takes a lot of hard work. For Michael, he found the number one way to scale his agency fast was sales. This focus on sales led to partnerships with Google and Microsoft which contributed to the agency’s rapid growth.

In the early years, this meant a lot of cold calling. For several years, the team was primarily composed of salespeople. Even with early success, the number one focus was still sales, to the point that 50% of the employees were focused on sales! Now that the agency has grown to a team of over 700 there’s still a major emphasis on sales, but with just about 25% of the team focused in that area.

But if you are going to narrow-in on sales, you have to do it right. For Logical Position, it was all about making sure each call provided value. So how do you do this?

  1. Do your homework. You don’t want to waste a potential client’s time. Find out what your client wants and don’t be afraid to give little nuggets of value or tips, even if the prospect doesn’t sign on.
  2. Total transparency. Michael’s agency uses a quality assurance team to make sure every client they sign-on is the right fit. By being transparent and letting a client know, “Hey, this isn’t a good fit,” they are able to truly help the clients they do sign on without setting unrealistic expectations.
  3. Not everything has to be perfect. Be open to feedback. Take the criticism you get and implement it into your processes.

Is It Time to Break Apart Your Agency Teams?

A lot of agencies divide work between several teams within the agency. While this approach may work for some agencies, it’s not the way Logical Position does things. There are a couple of reasons for this. Michael says he always found sticking to one sector is a quick path to burnout — not good when you’re trying to grow your team. When you allow your team to work with people in different verticals they can use conversations from one area to find best practices that work with another.

But while there are no teams, this certainly doesn’t mean there is no structure. Logistical Position uses a tiered system to incentivize employees and keep things organized. Once you have mastered one skill set and met your goals, you have the opportunity to move further up in the agency. Michael says there is a natural level of competition among his sales team, which definitely helps convert leads.

How to Build on Successful Sales and Continue to Grow

You may be thinking: “You can’t run an agency simply on sales,” and you’re right. Michael says the tipping point came about three years ago when the sales team had been so successful the operations team had to expand to keep up with the growth. Presently, the sales force makes up just over a quarter of the agency team, instead of the 50% share they had previously held.

As for acquisitions, Logical Position acquired its first agency at around the $20 or $30 million mark. They chose an agency they had previously worked with and whom they had built a lot of trust. They have since acquired yet a third agency. From here, Logical Position really began to grow. As a co-CEO, Michael has found his team was at the point where they could take the day-to-day stuff, allowing him to focus on employee and client retention.

Scaling an agency can be a challenge. It’s important to find a focus and figure out what works for your team. A successful sales process is a great way to increase clients and motivate your team to continue to grow.

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