Joey Gilkey and Josh Earl help agencies set up in-house sales teams.
Joey previously worked in the Fortune 100 world in the US, for a global IT services company running a sales team of 150 salespeople. He then became the VP of Sales for a consulting firm, before starting his own company.
Joey explains that ‘typically, agency owners are visionaries and creatives. They are strategy-driven people who perhaps were previously freelancers and then who had to learn how to sell. Whereas I came from the sales background and then had to learn how to become an agency owner.’
At first, he ‘partnered with a few of his agency owner friends who enjoyed and loved the delivery aspect of agency life, but didn’t know anything about sales. Agencies thought the biggest problem was generating leads, so we set out helping them to do this as a Lead Gen agency.’
‘But, we found that no matter how well we did our jobs, or how many leads we drove, we weren’t solving the bigger problem of growth for agencies.
Leads are not the problem, the lack of sales structure within most agencies however, is an issue.
Josh explains where he thinks agencies go wrong when closing a deal from a lead-gen agency. ‘Agencies are used to getting referrals, these deals are always:
– Red Hot,
– Arrive at the right time for the client,
– Usually involve a client who is ready to make a purchase.’
But, Josh explains, ‘when his lead gen agency would get a response from a potential client, they would exchange only a few messages before handing off to the agency. A good system from this point onwards is necessary to turn a lead into a deal.’
Joey describes how most agencies utilise founder-based selling to generate deals. ‘These models are highly dependent on referrals and on an already established basis of trust. The founder naturally has the highest conversion rate; they know the most about the product and have agency ownership in common with the client they are selling to. It is because of this that agency owners do not want to risk this conversion rate and are reluctant to hand over leads to someone in sales. It is this difficulty in handing over sales to a sales team that can prevent founders from growing their business.’
Joey and Josh have created the Sales Driven Agency. A type of agency which does not require agency leadership to be involved in sales in order to accomplish predictable, sustainable and scalable growth. Joey explains how the ‘Core 4’ can make this a reality.
- Process: Repeatable processes, workflows and workbooks are necessary to completing goals. Processes are broken down into:
– Sales Processes: The sales themselves.
– People Process: Hiring training and management processes.
There are two process periods before the deal is closed: Left of Deal vs Right of Deal. Then Post Deal once everything is agreed and closed.
Left of Deal – Pre-appointment: Processes will be needed for data collection, outreach and activity logging.
Right of Deal – Appointment through to Close: First time appointment, creating the proposal, delivering the proposal, getting the contract written are all involved in this part. Creating and breaking down your workflows can make it really easy to manage.
When asked whether these tasks are completed by the same salesperson during both the Left and Right of Deal, Joey describes that he believes that the continuity of one sales rep works best for the whole process. He does suggest that to make this model as efficient as possible, providing sales reps with admin assistants is the best option.
- Technology: You must make sure that technology makes you both more efficient and more effective, compromising on one of these will hinder its use. Sales engagement tools can be really effective for Left of Deal processes.
3. Talent: Who do we hire and how do we keep them?
‘Hiring is the easiest part and what most people start with. The reason that most of us hire is either:
– We know we need someone to replace us as the person who drives sales.
– We don’t want to be doing sales and so need someone to do it for us.
The issue with either of these, is that you will bring a person onboard without having a sales process.’
- Assets: What are we creating that equips our talent who runs the technology?
Assets can include both internal and external assets. For example, internal assets can be internal databases or a knowledge library which hold information on products, training and campaign materials.
When asked where to start if you’re a really small agency, Joey reassures and suggests, ‘you are probably doing more than you think you are.’
‘Use the three Ds; Do, Document, Delegate. Find what you are doing well and document it, it won’t be perfect straight away. If you can document it really well then you can delegate or automate it later on.’