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Would you like to attract more clients with outbound sales? Do you need to build a successful sales team that gets results? Today’s guest is a sales expert who helps agency owners get out of sales and build a successful sales team. It’s all about building consistency and using your network to create relationships that will help you grow your agency.

Dan Englander is the CEO and founder of Sales Schema, a B2B agency that secures ideal prospect relationships. His team goes out to the market and helps clients get meetings and focus on new business. Earlier in his career, he led new business for a creative services company and helped them get to seven figures. After starting his agency in 2014, he has learned a lot about how companies go after new business. More recently, he shares his perspective on sales and how to improve at it in his new book, Relationship Sales at Scale.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • How agencies can do better at outbound sales.
  • Using your network to get to your ideal clients.
  • What works when it comes to finding and training salespeople.

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.

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When is the Right Time to Transition Out of Sales?

Transitioning out of sales requires two main steps, according to Dan: who's doing what and developing consistencies in the sales process.

We all fall into the trap of dedicating too much time and energy to clients and none to your agency. Once you stop focusing on sales you’ll be on another level to focus on growing your agency.

If you’re an agency owner and the salesperson, think about spending half your time on sales. Eventually, get yourself to the point where you can just focus on the top of the funnel and have someone help set meetings. Clear the other half of your time to focus on your agency.  Do this with the mindset of gradually getting out of sales altogether.

Agency owners commonly try to hang on to sales because they feel clients only want to talk to them. That’s a misconception, considering how many owners have managed to grow their agencies to massive proportions by getting out of sales. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but once you have a repeatable sales process it becomes easier to get someone else in that seat.

Where do some agency owners go wrong with this transition? They jump to it too early before figuring out the repeatable process. They just throw a salesperson into it the mix and expect them to figure it out. That sets them up for failure and, once they do, it is easy to convince yourself that you’re the only one that can handle sales successfully.

How to Create a Repeatable Sales Process

Agency owners struggle, sometimes for years, to find the right salesperson and this has a lot to do with having the right systems in place. Dan likes to break it down into a process where you start at the very top of the funnel.

  • Think about how you’re getting meetings.
  • Break down your conversion process from the first appointment to the proposal.
  • Follow that with breaking down the process from proposal to close.

Of course, this may vary depending on how complex your sales process is -- documenting everything is key in order to set up your salesperson for success.

When it comes to how to get meetings, Dan and his team find outbound is a really good way to do it. Whatever you’re selling it stands to reason that your market will be relatively small. Your target audience is not everyone in the world so you don’t have to build a massive inbound funnel. There are really a finite number of relationships you can build in your area. With outbound, you can start building those relationships before the client actually has a need. Then you are top of mind when the need is there.

Online Training for Digital Agencies

Building Relationships With Outbound Sales

One of the things Dan's agency does for clients is referral-driven campaigns where they make a list of ideal clients and identify who could introduce them to those clients. Basically, they identify friends of friends, narrow them down to contacts in the first degree and ask for an introduction to someone in their network. A lot of people have no problem making that connection once you’re upfront about what you want.

They usually start with an accounts-based list of thousands of companies. Instead of trying to find the golden company that you may want to work with but have no meaningful connection to, find a number of companies you’re actually connected with. The connection you make as a result might not get you a campaign that lasts very long, but it will help you get that level of trust in order to get you a referral.

What Works When it Comes to Finding Salespeople?

This is something Dan still struggles with to this day. Being a sales hirer is part of your job as an agency owner and part of getting out of sales. You have to dedicate part of your time to finding the right salesperson and training them because you’re essentially investing in someone that’s going to help your agency grow.

Dan's agency gives the hiring funnel as much importance as the sales funnel.

Also, to weed out candidates that are ultimately not a right fit Dan usually asks for video interviews. It’s a way to see how invested the candidate is and avoid wasting time on long interviews in-person interviews. Once he’s made that hire, he invests in sales training every week. New team members do role-playing exercises and listen to sales calls every day to get ready. It is a lot of work, he admits, but it is worth it.

Another good tip is to not assume the person is perfect for the job after a good interview. Ask the candidate to make a 90-day plan and see if what they present truly aligns with what you need.

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of not just hiring the right person for the job. It's equally important to put together the right framework for your salesperson to model, evaluate, and make new recommendations on.

How to Face Client’s Skepticism

The hardest part of sales is getting someone to agree to take your call. Once you’ve done that, they are now investing time. They would not be spending time in that conversation if they didn’t have a specific need. Just make sure the conversation flows in a way the client is comfortable and feels heard. Spend more time listening than talking. Give space to ask questions and don't make the prospect feel interrogated.

Don’t underestimate the importance of asking the right questions to pull the client in. A lot of salespeople tend to push a lot and makes people feel they have to push back. It’s a completely different thing to present yourself as the trusted advisor through the right questions.

Want the Support of Amazing Digital Agency Owners?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to the Digital Agency Elite to learn all about our exclusive mastermind.


Have you clearly identified your place in the market? Have you selected a core leadership team to help you take the agency to the next level? Do you unknowingly have a principle-agent problem?

After 10 years in the business, one successful agency owner shares the steps he followed to skyrocket growth. He covers everything from the importance of having a top-notch leadership team to communicating the goals and vision and solving the principal-agent problem.

Manish Dudharejia is the founder and president of E2M Solutions, a full-service white label digital agency. His agency works as a trusted partner to scale your agency business behind the scenes. E2M has been serving agencies for 10 years and currently works with about 130 agencies across the U.S.

In their growth process, Manish has had to learn to manage big teams of over 100 people, as well as create a culture that prioritizes employees and identifies leaders within the organization.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • Finding your agency's place in the market
  • Tips for managing a large team of over 100 employees.
  • Identifying the principle-agent problem and how to solve it.

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Finding Your Agency's Unique Proposition and Providing Value

According to Manish, understanding his agency's unique sales proposition was a key factor in its success. He was clear early on that his core expertise was more about sales, branding, and customer service. He knew that is what he needed to offer clients in order to provide value. And, he never stopped learning about leadership. Like most agency owners, Manish didn’t know anything about hiring and training a team when he first started. Now he manages a team of nearly 150 people.

Another key aspect of E2M's growth was understanding what the market needed and how to serve those needs. Manish understood India is one of the countries with the highest number of English-speaking young people. This makes it a great place to outsource services. The resources and opportunities were there to create a company very competitive in this space. It just took having great systems in place and a really professional, prepared team.

It’s about having the self-awareness to identify how you fit into the industry. What are your strengths? How does your expertise fit what clients need from you? Manish saw a gap in the agency space where agency owners didn't have time to invest in hiring and training a team. That’s where his team comes in to white label when agencies need them most.

Finding and Managing Your Core Leadership Team

A lot of agency owners struggle with operations and growing a team as the agency scales and needs to expand its staff. They may go from having a team of five to a team of 20 and feel overwhelmed. Manish now manages a team of nearly 150 and his management philosophy is to have a core leadership team. He usually works closely with his 6-7 leaders and makes sure they know who is responsible for what.

It’s important your team leaders understand and communicate the agency’s culture, vision, and goals. Failing to do this leads to a disconnect between the employees and the overall agency’s goals.

Where can you find top talent to lead and manage your agency team? Manish believes in building leaders within the company rather than hiring outside talent. He believes there is always someone out there who would love to do a job you hate doing. Instead of holding on to tasks you don’t like for fear no one else can do it, find someone you trust that can take it over. He is also against micromanaging and believes that if you chose someone to be part of your leadership team is because they’ve proven themselves and you trust their judgment.

Online Training for Digital Agencies

The Principal-Agent Problem and Why You Need to Solve it

Manish recently learned about the theory of the principle-agent problem. Fortunately, he had been taking the right steps to face it. It is the root of most problems related to employee and client dissatisfaction. It is basically a conflict between the priorities of a person you’ve chosen to represent you vs. the priorities of the client. The root begins when the incentives of the agent and the principal do not match.

Manish uses the example of Uber and how their main customer dissatisfaction problem begins when the incentives for the principle (the client) – getting to their destination and enjoying a good service – do not align with the incentives of the agents (the drivers) – completing as many rides per day as possible.

As an agency owner, you are essentially hiring people to provide a service that satisfies the clients’ needs. However, you should always make sure to put the right incentives in place so those employees are also satisfied. Remember your employees are your most valuable asset, so if they’re not happy something definitely must change.

3-Step Framework to Getting the Right People in the Right Seats

Once he found his place in the market, Manish focused on having the right people in the right seats. In short, he attributes his success to implementing this framework:

  1. Identify the core leadership. These are employees with key abilities that could be utilized to relieve you of unwanted tasks. If you put the right people in the right seats, you’ll never have to worry about motivating them.
  2. Address any principle-agent problems. Incentivize your team that is a win for them as well as for the client in order to produce a successful customer experience.
  3. Create a culture where the team feels valued. Help your employees rally around the common goal where they can feel their contribution matter to the overall agency's goals.

Setting Goals to Continue the Agency’s Growth

Manish sets three main goals for each quarter. They also clearly communicate how each team member will contribute to achieving those goals. Sharing the agency’s goals helps every team member feel they share in and are a part of those goals.

Give your employees goals rather than just tasks to do and they’ll feel included, valued, and a part of something. This also help them understand their impact on the organization. Of course, one way to recognize their work is monetary compensation but it can’t be all about money or you’ll end up losing your team.

Interested in Seeing if E2M Solutions Can Help Your Agency?

If your agency can use the help of a white label partner, check out E2M Solutions and join the hundreds of other agencies who have trusted them.  For a limited time, E2M is offering Smart Agency listeners an amazing discount, that you can check out here.


How can you propel agency growth while removing yourself from operations? How can you manage a fully remote team while keeping an active, fun work culture? What is it like to work with big tech brands? Today’s guest saw a huge jump in her agency's growth during the pandemic and discovered the benefits of growing a remote team. Now she is figuring out what an agency office like looks like for her team in a post-pandemic world.

Lisa Larson-Kelley is the founder and CEO of Quantious, a premier marketing agency specializing in emerging technology. She’s grown the agency from a 2 person operation to a team of over 15 people working with the biggest names in tech, like Meta (formerly Facebook) and Shopify to name a couple. Her agency growth started to really take off just as the pandemic hit and she found many benefits in working remotely.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • Creating an agency that becomes a trusted partner for big brand clients.
  • The benefits and opportunities of working remotely.
  • The most important decision for massive agency growth.

Podcast Takeover!!

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.

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.

Subscribe

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Building an Agency as a Trusted Advisor in the Tech Sector

Lisa started her career in design back when working in tech didn’t seem like an option. She was passionate about tech and coding and eventually became part of a group of developers that worked at Flash Media. Joining Flash was the perfect jumping point to get back into coding and on the development side. Her work in app development opened the door to attend conferences as an expert and continue to learn about tech. For years she was immersed in emerging technologies, first as a developer herself, and then as a trainer and marketer.

As a marketer, she knows how to tell complicated stories in a simple manner and built a team of like-minded people. Her agency has become a trusted partner working with the biggest names in tech like Meta and Shopify. Working as a secret weapon for these companies, they work on things like back-office operations and augmented reality experiences. With Meta, they worked on ways to show the many possibilities of using their collaboration software for businesses, Workplace, which they had struggled to market.

Typically, her agency is called to assist a company that is adjusting to its growth process. They need support from an experienced team that can help them with onboarding, documentation, and processes. Their mission is to make their client look good and don't really feel a need to have the spotlight.

Finding Success in a Transition to a Fully Remote Team

Lisa was just thinking about investing in a bigger space to accommodate new team members when the pandemic started and she was forced to make the drastic shift to going fully remote. They were about 10% remote before, with some of the team working from home at least once a week. However, it was still a big adjustment to make overnight.

We all remember how uncertain those first few weeks of the pandemic felt and the struggle to get used to the new reality. Thankfully, they got settled into the new situation quickly and Lisa realized it was actually going really well. The work didn’t stop for her agency, as more and more companies were interested in the tech they needed to go fully remote. The work grew and so she needed to hire more talent. She realized she wasn’t necessarily limited to hiring in New York area any longer and started recruiting all over the US. It was a shift that really enriched the quality of their work as an agency. Instead of investing in a bigger office space, she figured out how to manage people across different states.

Now they focus on keeping everyone connected with daily meetings, Slack, and some creative solutions like work games. They have “Teaser Tuesdays”, where everyone competes in games like Wordle as a way to connect and have fun. All in all, they make sure to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, invest in professional development, and show their appreciation to keep the team motivated and creative.

What is the Future of Remote Working?

Lisa sees a lot of push and pull over staying remote or going back to the office in the tech world. On one hand, a home office is now very ingrained in the younger generations. On the other, many insist going back to normal should include going back to the office. Each has its own set of pros/cons, of course. There is a beauty to working in person and seeing your co-workers at the office. However, putting effort into providing remote opportunities is also very important.

Furthermore, not everyone wants to go back to the awful open-floor offices that were so popular before the pandemic. It is a complex issue that can’t be solved by just ordering everyone back into the office but rather requires reimagining how that would look in a post-pandemic world.

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Benefits of Having a Remote Agency

Working remotely has actually helped Lisa’s agency in many ways. For example, diversity of time zones within the team has been a major benefit. There are team members in different time zones working closely with clients in different areas. There’s also the flexibility of working a schedule to accommodate to your activities. This allows everyone to work during the time of day when they are the most productive.

If you have an open mind, you can also see the benefits of having different points of view on something. Lisa is in New York and someone from New Mexico or Florida will have different points of view and have different ideas.

#1 Most Important Decision to Propel Agency Growth

Hiring a VP of Operations was a crucial move that really impacted Lisa's agency’s growth. For a long time, she was sitting in two seats. Letting go of operations and starting to think bigger was a total game changer! It’s a huge decision because you want someone who will maintain the same level of detail in the decisions they make.

In short, her process included:

  • A year documenting all the things she was doing.
  • Listing the tasks she was ready to delegate to someone else.
  • Developing a job description based on all that information.
  • Working with a recruiter specializing in filling the integrator position.

It still took a while, but she eventually found the perfect person for the job. They connected and she understood the agency right away.

Best Agency Advice: Hire Slow, Fire Fast

The most impactful advice she’s gotten, which goes back to her biggest struggle, is to let people go when it’s time. Don’t hold on and give them three or four chances to improve. You’re holding them back and holding your agency back from what it could be accomplishing. Since Quantious grew from such a small team, it was especially hard for Lisa to recognize when moving on would be best for the agency. In her opinion, the sooner you can do it the better -- or as they say, hire slow and fire fast.

Want the Support of Amazing Digital Agency Owners?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to the Digital Agency Elite to learn all about our exclusive mastermind.

Direct download: How_to_Inspire_a_Fully_Remote_Team_and_Propel_Agency_Growth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Would you like to get out of your agency’s daily operations? Do you want more time to work on the business rather than in it? Have you set up boundaries and the right systems to make that happen? Have you made the key hires to help you do it smoothly? One agency owner found a way to force herself to exit from day-to-day operations in order to create more work-life balance.

Jessie Healy is the founder and CEO of Webtopia, a digital agency focused on e-commerce growth for sustainable and purpose-driven product brands. She started to build her agency around her freelance business and quickly grew it into a successful remote agency. However, she found herself basically chained to her desk and made a few key decisions to correct that.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • How your values can help you select a niche.
  • Force your own exit from day-to-day operations.
  • A hiring system that eliminates 90% of bad matches.

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.

Subscribe

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Transitioning from Freelancer to Agency Owner

Jessie was 7½ months pregnant when she lost her job and turned to freelancing. It’s something she was already considering but had delayed because she was unsure how to start. She wondered: How do freelancers get business? Where do they find clients? Thankfully, it was not as difficult as she thought. She posted her skillset on a forum and started getting work right away.

Jessie started her agency as a freelancer and first-time mom who wanted a flexible schedule. As she grew her business, she first hired other female freelancers looking for the same type of flexibility. However, the workload increased and she found herself in management hell. She was chasing people down to make deadlines and attend meetings. In the end, she realized if she wanted any sort of work-life balance and growth for her agency she needed an in-house team. They continued to be a fully remote agency but as employees now, every team member is committed to the agency and committed to the process. She no longer had to chase after her team because they were online when she needed them to be. It was a key turning point for her agency.

Building an Agency as a Trusted Partner For Clients

As the amount of work grew, Jessie realized there was an opportunity to fill a gap in the market. She had worked on the client side and found that, even with a good budget and hiring experienced agencies, she could not make them show up to calls. She felt there was a gap in the market for agencies that would work as a partner for clients.

So from the get-go, her agency started to work with small e-commerce companies as their marketing department.  They focused on the creative side of storytelling as well as the science of media buying. According to Jessie, most agencies were focusing just on the media buying aspect but her agency stood out for focusing on both. They also focused on strategy, which she felt from her experience on the client side that agencies were really lacking.

How Your Personal Values Can Help You Niche Down

Jessie admits that in the very beginning she was willing to do any sort of agency work for £50/hour. She would even take on menial or boring tasks like paid search. That is until she learned about the benefits of niching down.

Ecommerce became the obvious choice for her, since she had always been focused on consumer marketing.  Additionally, sustainability has always been the most important value for her so she brought that to her agency work.

When you have strong values for your agency, eventually you'll find yourself working with brands that share those same values. As time went on, she noticed they were working with a lot of female founders and a lot of sustainable brands. Jessie figured they were repelling brands that did not share those values and attracting the ones who did. She took to LinkedIn and started posting about sustainability. Eventually, she started working with charities and participating in tree planting activities and slowly built a clientele that resonates with her values.

Now the agency is approached more and more by sustainable brands that share her passion. As When you find your agency's unique identifiers, implement the change you want to see in your agency and you’ll attract people with the same values.

Online Training for Digital Agencies

4 Key Agency Hires to Exit Yourself From Daily Agency Operations

When she moved to New Zealand, it put a lot of distance and time difference between Jessie, the team, and clients. She spent a year planning the move during a time when she felt she was constantly chained to her desk. She felts she was always either answering emails or jumping into meetings. Moving gave her some freedom but she knew she needed to make some key hires first.

Never be shy about hiring senior staff who have the experience to take over without the need for extensive preparation. Jessie hired four key roles to ensure everything would run smoothly without her:

  1. Head of Operations
  2. Director of Paid Social Strategy
  3. Director of Google Ad Strategy
  4. Commercial Director

With others dedicated to specific parts of the business, this freed Jessie up to focus on the 5 roles of an agency owner. Some clients still request Jessie or want face time with her so she makes time twice a week for those meetings. However, she is very strict about how much time a week she will devote to this.

It’s a change any agency owner can implement by having clear boundaries. Jessie moved to a different country, but even if she hadn’t she believes she would have eventually gone in this same direction because the way she had been overworking was not sustainable.

Setting Up a Hiring Process That Eliminates 90% of Bad Matches

Those four key roles were a critical part of her plan to exit day-to-day operations. So how did she find the best talent to hire? Two of them were promotions from within the agency, which is why you shouldn’t forget to empower your team’s growth. For the other two, her agency tested several sites but generally found LinkedIn was the best source.

They typically post the job in remote workgroups and do cold outreach, where they send messages with the job description. After that when a candidate looks promising, they have a cleverly built funnel setup. The funnel uses marketing language and leads to a series of tasks that includes written tests and videos to make sure the candidates expresses themselves correctly. This process ends with a series of interviews to evaluate both technical skills and culture fit. It is a carefully constructed process that eliminates 90% of bad matches.

Remember you must hire the right culture fit. Skills can be taught and learned, but culture cannot.

You probably won’t set up the perfect hiring system for your agency on the first try. However, it is a way to ensure that you won’t lose a ton of time in interviews with people that ultimately don’t have what it takes to be successful on your team.

Want the Support of Amazing Digital Agency Owners?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to the Digital Agency Elite to learn all about our exclusive mastermind.

Direct download: 4_Key_Agency_Hires_to_Get_You_Out_of_Daily_Operations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

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