There are so many things that need to be done to run a successful digital agency, from generating leads and pitching services, to managing client relationships and delivering services. On top of that, the digital agency landscape is very competitive, with new agencies opening up every day.

Agencies often get stuck in meeting their current clients’ needs, and they don’t put in enough effort into growing. Other times, agencies might work hard on growing, but their efforts fail to provide any substantial results.

Today we’re going to look at how you can grow your agency by setting goals, creating a sales process, improving lead response time, creating case studies, forming strategic partnerships, improving existing client relationships, and focusing on building recurring revenue.

1) Set growth goals

The best agencies set quarterly and yearly growth goals. They know exactly how many leads they need to generate every month to hit their sales and revenue goals.

Setting goals are important for a number of reasons:

• It provides direction and guides decision making
• Facilitates planning and strategic thinking
• Improves motivation and inspiration
• Helps to measure performance

To ensure growth, you need to set SMART goals for your agency. SMART goals are:

Specific – Goals need to target a specific area for improvement (e.g., revenue growth).
Measurable – There should be a way to quantify goals and indicate progress (e.g., by how much do you want to increase revenue).
Achievable – Your goals need to be realistic (e.g., if your current monthly revenue is $30,000, setting a goal of scaling monthly revenue to $1M in the next three months would be unrealistic).
Relevant – The outcome of your goals needs to solve a challenge you’re having.
Time-bound – You need to set a clear deadline for achieving your goals.

Here’s an example of a SMART goal: We will grow revenue from client services to $50,000 per month by December 31, 2020.

Growth metrics

There are three metrics that you should be tracking when working on agency growth:

1) Sales conversion rate – The rate at which you convert leads to clients. Your sales conversion rate provides a quick insight into the effectiveness of your sales process.
2) Client lifetime value – Shows how much revenue you’re making over the lifetime of a client account. Knowing your client lifetime value will help you understand how much you can afford to spend to acquire a client.
3) Average time to conversion – How long it takes to convert a lead to a client. Tracking the average time to conversion will help you pinpoint parts of the sales process that might need to be improved.

You need to think of your agency’s goals as an obligation, not an option. Try to establish some accountability by publicly declaring your goals or sharing them with others in your company.

2) Create a sales process

Not having a defined sales process will make your agency lose both time and money. You’ll have a hard time converting leads, and no way of knowing which parts of your sales process are working and which need fine tuning.

You need to map out these four steps in your sales process:

1. Connecting – Finding leads and connecting with them through inbound or outbound tactics (or both).
2. Qualifying – Making sure that the leads are the right fit for your services. With inbound, you’ll be qualifying leads through the use of buyer personas, while outbound lead generation will require you to qualify a lead manually (usually via a phone call).
3. Closing – Selling your service to the leads. Detail every part of closing a deal with a client, from explaining your services and overcoming objections, to asking for the deal.
4. Delivering – After you’ve made the sale, you’ll need to deliver your service. To provide a consistent service and make all your clients happy, create a structured process for the delivery stage, outlining every step you need to take to deliver the service to your clients.

3) Improve lead response time

The average lead response time for agencies is 42 hours, with less than 40% of agencies responding within an hour. How much time does it take your agency to respond to a lead?

A study has shown that agencies that contact leads within an hour are seven times more likely to convert leads into clients. Furthermore, in B2B industries, 78% of customers buy from companies that respond to their inquiries first. This makes it crucial to respond to your leads as soon as possible.

Aim to get your lead response time below 60 minutes.

4) Create case studies

Most leads won’t be persuaded by your sales pitch. They’ll be persuaded by the results you’ve generated for other companies, especially if those companies are similar to theirs. To show off all the great results you’ve generated for your clients, you’ll need to create case studies.

One of the reasons case studies are so effective is because they are highly specific. They outline how a particular problem was solved in a specific situation and shows the results that the solution generated.

Contact a few of your best, happiest clients and ask if they would be willing to participate in a case study. Ask them about their experience with your agency, and how they’re satisfied with the results you’ve provided so far. Use their testimonial and the hard data on the results you’ve generated and create one or more case studies.

Post these case studies on your website or blog and then promote them through social media, guest blogging, and advertising.

Apart from case studies, you can also consider creating success stories and testimonials.

5) Form strategic partnerships

Very few agencies are truly “full-service”. Most create partnerships with other, often specialized agencies so that they can provide their clients with everything they need. Partnering with other agencies can help you expand your service offering so that you can attract more clients as well as upsell your existing clients.

Another way you can benefit from agency partnerships is to partner with an agency whose services complement yours. For example, if you’re running a marketing agency, you could partner with a web design agency that can refer clients who are in need of marketing services. In exchange, you could refer some of your clients to them or simply pay them a referral fee.

6) Improve existing client relationships

The growth of your agency can be further accelerated by improving the relationships you have with your existing clients. This would allow you to upsell and retain clients easier.
Communicate with your clients regularly and ask how satisfied they are with your service and if you could be doing anything better.

Create processes for renewing client accounts as well as for proposing new projects to upsell clients. Strict, defined processes will help you stay organized and successfully retain and upsell clients as well as keep you on track to meet your goals.

7) Focus on building recurring revenue

One-time projects are good for temporarily improving your cashflow, but they’re only a short-term fix. Any agency that wants to grow should focus on building recurring revenue. Some services are better for building recurring revenue than others.

For example, you could start offering web design services, but most clients will only ever purchase a one-time website design from you.

An example of a service that can help your agency build recurring revenue is lead generation. If you can consistently generate leads for your clients, most would be happy to pay you for the service for as long as possible.

A quick and easy way to start selling lead generation services to your clients is to use Wavo.

Wavo is a complete white label solution for generating and selling leads that can help your agency upsell clients and increase revenue. We offer a free 7-day trial so that you can test our platform and see exactly how you can benefit from using Wavo for lead generation.

Get the Bonus: 7 Ways to Grow Your Digital Agency (Infographic)

We’ve prepared a handy infographic that will help you learn everything you need to know about growing your digital agency. You can download it below.

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Grow your digital agency

Growing a digital agency starts with setting goals. Growth goals will provide you with direction, help you develop plans and processes, as well as motivate your entire team.

A crucial part of growing your agency is the ability to predictably and consistently convert leads into clients. To be able to do this, you’ll need to create a strict, defined sales process which will allow you to efficiently connect with leads, qualify and close them, and deliver your service. With all the competition in the agency world, it’s also important that you respond to leads as fast as possible.

When it comes to pitching your services, being able to showcase previous results in the form of case studies can be immensely beneficial. Work on regularly producing case studies with the help of your most satisfied clients.

Remember that you don’t have to grow your agency all by yourself. Form strategic partnerships with other agencies so that you develop mutually beneficial relationships that will provide you with leads, clients, and referrals on a regular basis.

Don’t forget to keep working on improving existing client relationships. Communicate with your clients regularly and make sure that they’re happy with your work. Create processes to retain and upsell these clients.

Finally, consider offering services that can help you build recurring revenue, such as lead generation or content marketing.