One membership covers your whole agency. You and your whole team can take part in all these sessions with an Agency Hackers membership.
Every month your agency's team leaders can join sessions aimed at creative, sales / marketing, client services and operations leaders.
Upcoming live sessions
These sessions are for Agency Hackers members. If your agency isn't a member yet, please join here.
MONTHLY CFO SURGERY: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO RE-INVENT?
Hired-gun CFO Deepa is here to answer your agency finance questions. Drop in and get a grip on your money.
If you're not in charge of the money, the money is in charge of you.
When it comes to finance, little hinges swing big doors. Seemingly insignificant choices have far-reaching consequences.
Deepa Shah is a portfolio CFO to several agencies. She runs a monthly CFO surgery for Agency Hackers members, where you can get ad-hoc advice on a range of finance matters.
Drop in and sleep better at night with some of your finance questions answered.
HOW TO KEEP AND GROW YOUR
AGENCY'S EXISTING CLIENTS
What drives true client commitment? Find out how disloyal clients really are – and what you can do about it.
Why does winning a NEW client feel sexier than getting more work from one you've ALREADY bagged?
One day, Simon Rhind-Tutt got to work and found a memo from his agency's chairman.
"I worked at a large international agency, and we were on the Gillette roster. A memo arrived telling us that instead of working on ONE of Gillette's brands – we'd been given ALL of them. It was a massive piece of business worth millions."
"The memo simply said: "Congratulations to all".
Three days later, Simon got another memo.
"It said we'd just won the Alpine Double Glazing account – worth a couple of hundred grand – and there was to be an all-staff party to celebrate."
"Even then as a junior account manager I thought: we've got this wrong. We're celebrating winning a small piddly account that will probably bugger off in a year, rather than one of the world's biggest clients giving us ALL of their business."
Today Simon is one of the two founding partners at Relationship Audits, which helps agencies evaluate, solidify and grow their client relationships.
If you think your clients are loyal, Simon has some great stories that make you sleep with one eye open.
Simon is talking to Agency Hackers about winning more work from existing clients.
- How to know if your clients are happy or satisfied – and why that might not be enough
- What drives true client commitment?
- Are your clients open to taking a Zoom call or having a chat with another agency?
TAKING ON THE CONSULTANTS
How should independent agencies respond to the rise of the consultants?
Look out! The big "network agency" gorillas are finding they need to steal indie agency's work to survive.
They're descending from the top canopy and feasting on the jungle floor...
...throwing the agency ecosystem into chaos.
In this session we're joined by Leo Rayman, CEO of Grey Consulting – and we'll be discussing how to respond when the suits park their tanks on your lawn.
- Taking it to the consultants - what happens when agencies try their hand at consulting
- Why agencies need to steal from the consulting playbook and move "upstream"
PIVOTING YOUR AGENCY: "IT TOOK TWICE AS LONG. IT WAS TWICE AS HARD"
Ben Caspersz decided to focus Claremont on behavioural change. It would be one of the hardest things he'd ever done.
Ben Caspersz decided to pivot his 12 year-old agency Claremont into a new offering. It would be one of the most difficult things he'd ever done.
"It took double as long, double as much money, it was was twice as hard" says Ben. "I'm generally quite good at budgeting and building contingencies, but with this my optimism bias crept in and I got it wrong."
Ben has agreed to talk to Agency Hackers about what he got wrong – and how it finally worked.
In this talk, Ben will talk about the journey he took Claremont on – shrinking the team and finding their feet in a new market.
But Ben says that while hard, the pivot has been worth it. "Now we are specialist in behaviour change and social issues."
"If people can listen to this interview wand learn from my mistakes, that would be brilliant. It would save them a lot of aggro."
"Initially, we had our first loss making year. It was not working. I did question whether it was wrong."
"But we're now in a growth phase, and – touch wood – we will double our size this year compared to last year and achieve some decent profits."
SYSTEMS, PROCESSES AND PEOPLE:
HOW TO ACE YOUR AGENCY OPERATIONS
When was the last time you looked at your processes? Say goodbye to upset clients and deliverables falling through the cracks.
Proper processes (that people understand and follow) are the difference between running a business you love, and having a job you can never quit.
Gray MacKenzie's business Zenpilot helps agencies automate their operations. In this session, we'll dig into some ways agencies can streamline and structure their operations and processes.
We'll talk about:
- How to get people bought in to processes and start adopting the mindset where they're looking to build assets for the business.
- Why you should assign an internal champion that is explicitly NOT the agency owner (and why that piece is crucial).
- Why your processes need to "live" where the work is actually done – (if you want your team to follow and adopt them.
Gray lives and breathes agency process. There are are some good nuggets in here – even if you already have well-oiled SOPs and workflows.
WHAT'S IT LIKE AS A
BLACK AGENCY LEADER NOW?
Josh Akapo runs a community of Black agency leaders. What stuff do they talk about? Let's find out.
What's it like being a Black agency founder?
When Josh Akapo told me he'd started a private Guild group for Black agency leaders, I asked him why he started it.
He told me that when you're Black and you run an agency, you have to decide how much of your race to bring into your business.
"You face questions like: am I going to be a diversity and inclusion hero? Am I going to try to bring everyone into the industry and open up doors and break down barriers? Because that can be exhausting. Or do you forget your Blackness?"
We'll ask Josh about:
- Having to be pickier about clients.
- Having to think about how you're perceived.
- Deciding what battles to fight. ("You can be almost too aware of your Blackness as an agency founder, and because you're too busy trying to change the world you lose the reason why you wanted to start the agency in the first place.")
If you are Black, or you're interested in the challenges Black founders face – join this one!
"If you just want to be a black agency founder and to make work that's cool. But the world doesn't work as nicely as you want it. At some point your Blackness is going to have to come to play in it."
Are people still buying and selling agencies? What's the market like right now?
Join the team at Waypoint Partners for an informal update on how the M&A scene is doing.
We'll hear from them how:
- There is (still) a very active buyer market that’s not (yet) full of distressed agencies
- There are more "non-traditional acquirers" buying agencies for the first time. (Sometimes they know what they're doing, and sometimes they don't. What do you need to watch out for?)
- There are more non-traditional deals being done.
Waypoint Partners has a great line of sight across the M&A landscape, so I thought it would be good to hop on a call with Jim Houghton and Matt Lacey to find out what's occurring.
Join this and get clued up on who's buying and who's selling.
BUYING OUT YOUR BOSS: INSIDE
AN AGENCY MBO
Wildfire PR MD Debby Penton owned 20% of her agency. Hear how she bought out her founder who was no longer around.
"You're MD of this £2.5m agency – but you've got a majority shareholder who's no longer running the business. Everything is amicable now. But give it a few years and it will be different."
"You'll be pissed off that you're giving up the lion's share of the money – and by that time it will be too big for you to buy it out."
So Debby decided to act.
“We bought him out and we've got a few years to pay it off.”
The deal went through and everybody remained friends. But there are a few interesting lessons in this for anybody who might buy – or sell – a majority stake in their business.
- You will be encouraged to put your own money down – but you DON'T have to.
- You might just find you hold the cards as the buyer.
- Be careful about losing control over a business you own.
Now Debby and her business partner Andrew are in control of a fantastic agency that's set for growth. Join us and ask Debby your questions if you’re thinking of doing anything like this.
But two years later, they threw in the towel.
"We were generating leads – but agencies couldn't close them" says Josh.
"Every agency SAYS they want more leads, but most agencies do not understand the amount of FOLLOW UP required to get something to happen."
"People would just send an email and expect a deal to magically materialise."
So Josh and Joey pivoted. Instead of finding leads for agencies, they now help agencies build an in-house sales function so they can do it all themselves.
We'll cover how you do this: the process, technology, people and assets you need.
If all your business comes through "word of mouth" or random referrals, this will definitely get your brain whirring.
"Most agencies are bad at hiring and managing sales people" says Joey.
"Even if you DO find a 'diamond in the rough' salesperson, they're STILL probably not going to be successful – because you haven't given them a sales process. A sprinter needs a track to run on."
Question: how can you put growth at the heart of your agency?
In this session we're joined by Alannah Daly of Raised by Wolves. We'll talk about:
- How do you stop new business being siloed?
"Lots of other parts of the agency will be very integrated – but new business people are often left on their own. New business needs to sit at the center of the agency as a key part of the culture and how the agency ticks."
- How can you get a "momentum" around new business in your agency?
You know the feeling: you're busy on client projects – and when all that dies down it's: "Oh my God, my pipeline's empty!"
How can we keep that mojo going, so new business is a living, breathing part of an agency – rather than something that we pick up and put down?
- How can you instil a growth culture?
"A growth culture is where it's not on one person's job. What's your strategist's role? Your creative director? What are their objectives with regards to growth across the year? How are you using their brains to ensure that creativity and ideas sits at the heart of your new business strategy?"
Join us refresh your thinking on how you approach new business.
"In Mad Men, you really got the sense that new business sat at the centre of the agency. Don Draper was respected for his ability to win new business. That's where the excitement and drive was. In some respects, we've lost that."