Welcome to a very special installment of the Agency Profit Podcast. Does the term ‘Agency Audit’ fill you with fear? How would you feel if I told you there was a way to audit your agency in way less than an hour. This week, we continue to make the impossible possible by introducing you to the founder at Agency Academy, Dev Basu, a man who holds the key to auditing your agency in a mere 15 minutes.
Dev breaks down the Nine Systems Every Agency Needs to Grow and Scale – because he’s sound like that. So, with that, let’s buckle ourselves up for a special bumper edition of #APP!
Founder of one of Canada’s fastest-growing agencies – Powered By Search – Dev is also the founder of Million Dollar Agency and a Professor at the Seneca College School of Marketing. In fact, you may remember him from Episode 18 of the Agency Profit Podcast.
After growing Powered By Search to multi seven-figure revenue, he has shifted his focus to Coaching. Currently, he helps other agencies move towards, and beyond, the seven-figure mark by accelerating their growth.
What’s so exciting about Dev is that he’s in the trenches. He knows the tactical stuff when it comes to marketing; he’s still operating Powered By Search (at a world-class level, I should add) making his Agency coaching beyond relevant. I’ll also note that he’s one of the best educators I’ve come across in this space. His ability to educate, especially in the crucial webinar space, is unparalleled. I am just really excited to extract as much gold from his brain as possible!
Points of Interest…
- The Importance of an Agency Audit process 3:36
- Have you Downloaded the Audit yet??? 6:50
- Understanding How Well You Can Scale 8:44
- Attract: Building Your Authority… 15:44
- Convert: Auditioning Prospects… 18:37
- Deliver: Leverage Talent… 27:14
- Deciphering Your Score for Self Assessment 33:18
The Importance of an Agency Audit Process
Firstly, before we tackle the Agency Audit Worksheet itself, which Dev has kindly shared with us here… I want to address the importance of process auditing, and what it is about Dev’s process that makes auditing so valuable.
“If you don’t know where you are, and you know where you want to go, it’s very hard to be able to get there. And so, if you don’t know what’s broken, you don’t know what to fix.”
In short, it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. There is a certain false narrative that exists around traditional forms of coaching, whereby it’s a set formula for success – “if it worked for me, it should work for you too.” Such a mindset doesn’t, for example, take in the combination of luck, timing, plus the necessary business acumen required. This is why Dev and his team created their audit framework.
Bringing it down to its simplest form, said framework is based on three key principles…
- It doesn’t replicate someone else’s success playbook; your business is different
- It underscores the importance of self-assessment – so you can lie to everybody but yourself about the state of your business
- It’s extremely user friendly, with it only taking 15 minutes to complete
As for what it comprises of? It’s a sequence of specifically worded questions, nine in total. These questions will uncover both profit centers in your business, as well as cost centers, plus items you can then fine-tune. Each one of these items are revenue accelerators that help you grow your agency.
Learning about and growing your business is the sequencing. Knowing what to focus on, and when to focus on it is critical. Going through exercises like this audit is what helps you uncover your agency’s next logical step.
Have You Downloaded the Audit Yet?!
I sure hope so, because me and Dev are about to dive into the detail of his Audit Framework at the 6:50 minute mark.
The Audit is geared for a very specific purpose. It’s going to help you find ways to make your first million dollars, annual revenue in your business, or it’s going to help you find your next million dollars. If you want to think about growth in your agency, there are three things you need to do…
- Attract: have a way to attract the right kinds of leads and then turn them into clients
- Convert: Define a way for converting them using a sales process that actually works
- Deliver: Look at the way you can deliver results
The delivery step is obviously a lot more complex than that. By way of expanding on that point, Dev says…
“That’s basically where you need to look at the way you have either productized your IP – and created a process for delivering results – or a way for delegating and leveraging the talent you actually have, plus a process for systemizing wins.”
Understanding How Well You Can Scale
It always starts with the ‘Attract’ portion of the scale; you don’t have any leads, no one in your pipeline, and therefore no clients to sell or do delivery work for. So, the first thing we look for is a narrowing your niche (or your “nitch”, if you happen to be American).
What you want to focus on in the question over in the Attract section is how to narrowly focus your positioning. You want to be seen as a specialist agency, solving a specific problem, for a specific kind of client. All of those things together create this narrow sense of positioning. As for how to get a gauge of your positioning, Dev details the below litmus tests indicating you may have a score in the red zone…
“If you think about whatever it is you do – be it web design, SEO, PPC content, whatever it might be in the digital realm – if you were to take your website, and your main competitor’s website, and you simply swap the logos, would your clients even know the difference when they go on the website? If the answer is ‘No – they wouldn’t know the difference because, on the tenant, it all seems the same’, then you’re definitely in the Red Zone.”
** Dev digs into the Red, Yellow and Green zones, plus Horizontal and Vertical Focus, from the 10:48 minute mark **
Attract: Building Your Authority
Now, to the next step. The question here, simply put, is: How easy is it for your clients to quickly and easily comprehend, plus accept, that your agency is the best in the market?
When you have that amazing credibility, everything gets easier. The query really centers around is “What have you put in place to build that authority over time to be omnipresent in the minds of your ideal clients?” For more on this kind of concept, we have a great interview with David C. Baker who literally wrote the book on Expertise.
To summarise the ‘Attract’ portion; we’ve addressed…
- Narrowing your niche
- Building your authority, i.e. how are you perceived as an authority for that particular niche
- Fill Funnel, i.e. how successful is your marketing strategy to generate inbound leads
**To hear Dev expand upon Fill Funnels, shimmy yourselves along to the 16:38 minute mark**
Convert: Auditioning Prospects…
Now that we’ve tackled the Attract section, now we move forth to Convert. The first step here is Auditioning Prospects. Essentially, this is a contrarian way of considering how to engage with potential clients.
“The average agency has a contact us button on their site. They’ve got a little form, which asks nothing. There’s no real direction other than ‘Tell us what you think’ and there’s a send button. However, If you think about what comes in through that contact form, it’s every type of potential requests that you can get… “
But how can you convert this to a lead? Get on the phone and be interrogated by a potential prospect for 45 minutes, only for you to come away with no information Nope. Their one-sided fact-finding mission could easily have been done if you put more succinct content on your website. In essence, what you want to do is flip that role so you get to audition your prospects instead.
At this point, some of you reading/listening are invariably thinking, “Eh, what the hell are you talking about? How can I get a client to jump through all those hoops when I can barely get them on a call?” To you good people, I say, it ALL comes back to the Attract section. If you’ve done a good job of positioning yourselves, building expertise, and therefore gaining access to more business than we need – THEN you have the leverage to start taking control of the sales process.
** Dev delves it the subsequent ‘Convert’ points of Master Proposals and Close Consistently from the 23:42 minute mark **
Deliver: Leverage Talent…
Again, if you’re following along and filling out the worksheet, add up your scores and get your average. Now, we’re gonna move on to the last section, which is Deliver.
Deliver is – again – all about three things, the first of which is being able to work your team and then the problem. It involves Leveraging Your Talent by delegating great work to them.
The second part looks at Productizing Your IP, so that there’s a process that is uniquely yours. It’s your methodology. It’s rooted in facts and science, as opposed to words that sound great in marketing meetings, but mostly fall apart in delivery. It is all about taking your hive mind; the brain trust of everyone in your business, and getting them to create a structured and deliberate way of how you do things at your firm. You should find out just how structured and compelling your methodology is for delivering client results – plus if everyone in your agency knows how to refer to this when marketing, selling, and delivering for clients.
Lastly, Dev discusses the process for Systemizing Wins, which involves your ability to reduce any volatility you have with clients. IN short, you want to raise the bar so that all of your clients have a greater average degree of success working with you. That goal is only possible if you train your team on things like retention, referrals, renewals, and revenue expansion as well.
** Dev discusses Leveraging Talent in depth from the 28:15 mark, while Productize IP and Systemize Wins are broken down at 29:17 and 31:23 minutes respectively **
Deciphering Your Score for Self-Assessment
You’ve got your scores under each section. Now, get the averages for the Attract, the Convert, and the Deliver section. For example, if you score a ‘6’ on Attract, an ‘8’ on Convert, and ‘4’ on Delivery – add all those up, divide by 3, and that is your score.
That’s exactly where you’re at right now, with ’10’ being Best in Market and ‘1’ being the worst. The difference between ‘1’ and ’10’ is many millions of dollars. You could literally be looking at a $5million to $8 million annual recurring revenue range.
Below is Dev’s Million Dollar Agency Model Self-Assessment. It’s a ‘traffic light system’ and a gauge of where your company currently stands. Simply color in those parts you now know are either Red, Yellow, or Green. Let’s say; if you average a Yellow score in the Fill Funnels section because you’re not generating enough leads, color it yellow. The result is a color-coded model to help you hone in on the areas you need to build on.
Also, really study the areas that are the reddest and the yellowest; these indicate the bottlenecks within the business that are holding you back from being able to scale, and either find your first million or your next million dollars. Over the course of time, you’ll be able to work through making those from a red to a yellow, and a yellow to a green. Your revenues will go up, you’ll have happier clients, and your team is going to be happier. Retention rates will go up and then, finally, profitability will go up as well.
And that – dear readers – leads to more money, fun and freedom!
You have people, you have processes, and then you have clients that you apply the processes to. They’re a trifecta that winds up working together as an overall system. You must also define the optimum way of taking ideas from your brain and acting on them succinctly and strategically while sequencing it all correctly. Dev’s Audit will make all of this clearer.
If you’ve not been busy beavering away on your self-audit already, do make sure you check it out and fill that model in; it’s a VERY useful way to visualize the weak spots within your agency.
Lastly, I want to discuss something super exciting for us. Full transparency here… you’re going to start hearing ads for the first time inside of our podcasts. This is a milestone moment for us. We have our first ever sponsor and – yes, you guessed it – that sponsor is Dev.
When he approached me, saying “Hey, what would it look like for us to do this together?” I wanted to ensure this collaboration would be something that adds a tremendous amount of value to our audience. I’m not prepared to subject our audience to adverts that aren’t beneficial to them.
Therefore, we devised a mutually beneficial concept of recording the episode and creating a special offer that’s exclusive to us here at The Agency Profit Podcast. Dev has kindly offered the opportunity to schedule 30 minutes to go through this assessment with him. To clarify, we’re not proposing a pure sales call; consider it an opportunity to learn if Dev’s vast skillset in a coaching capacity is a good fit for your agency.
Should you want Dev to personally review your Audit, plus gain clarity on where opportunities may be in your business, he will host via milliondollaragency.coach/audit Once you’ve booked your call, this is what you can expect…
“First, we’re going to go broad – like, tell me more about what’s been going on in your business, where your situation is at right now. Then, we’re going to go deep and look at what factors are holding you back. You’ll know some of those based on the self-assessment, and we may have a conversation about the possible root causes surrounding that. The main thing I offer is to make the boat go faster, to shorten that learning curve. It’s not about gaining content; there’s plentiful content on the web. The key thing is access and accountability, and that’s the way I work one-on-one with my clients.”
As for what you’ll get? 24/7 access to Dev – especially if you have Voxer. You can just shoot him a message and he can help you out in the moment. You may, like one of Dev’s clients, add another 240k to your business…
Want to see more from Dev? You can do that via…
Did you learn anything new from this episode? Let us know in the comments below! Our next installment of #APP, on February 24th, will see us chat with Dan Englander. While our previous blog with Trent Dyrsmid is over here…
Marcel is an agency profitability optimization consultant, keynote speaker and the CEO of Parakeeto. He’s on a mission to help the average agency get the information they need to be more profitable. From sharing educational content and resources to creating tools at Parakeeto to make measuring the most important metrics easier – everything he does is aimed at making agency profitability more accessible.
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