As a business, you have expectations that come with how an agency charges you and how the collaborative nature of scaling up agency costs comes with new business. Changing your cost structure potentially every 3 months seems exhausting, but it's actually quite the opposite.
Think of it as planting a small seedling; you need soil, seeds, fertilizer, sunlight, and water to make a plant grow. A scalable model for growth also has its necessary components.
If you are changing agencies or looking to work with one for the first time, there will always be a large transition in personnel, work hours, cost, technology, and more. There's no need to rush into the most expensive plans when you're trying to implement a new marketing plan.
Start small by implementing the free or standard versions of software. Because there is little or no benchmark data for KPIs for a new Growth-Driven Retainer, you can adopt technology as you need it so you avoid a huge spike in cost.
Sometimes, digital marketing can take a while to start up. For the first 3 months of your GDR, Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, and strategic landing pages will extend the top of your funnel.
Agencies will spend this time understanding your GPCTs (goals, plans, challenges, and timing) in order to create realistic KPIs and metrics for the future growth of your company.
Things are likely starting to get off the ground. You're getting some qualified leads through social media and AdWords and your sales team is processing more leads. By this point, agencies should have enough ROI data to see if this path is working for you and if the relationship between both parties is good for everyone.
Begin adding some more marketing and sales enablement. If the process is working, you can slowly begin adding technology that improves the marketing and sales processes. Your agency will be with you every step of the way both coaching your sales team and analyzing the volume of business you are able to take in.
If It's Working
If you see that you are getting a realistic return on your investment and your business is poised to continue maintaining this current pace in the future, it can be time to adopt a more standard retainer model.
If you feel like your business is ready to really ramp up, you can talk about adjusting your retainer at the end of the 6th month to match expected growth.
If It's Not Working
There's no pressure if the relationship isn't for you. Smaller companies may find that they don't need a lot of high powered technology, and the traditional inbound + ads method is working just fine.
If you're ready to opt out of your current marketing, there is an easy and natural place at the end of 6 months to do this. You and the agency walk away without any hard feelings.
You stuck with an agency this far. You started out slow and added technology as you saw your clients grow. You're ready to start scaling up your business big time.
It sounds strange, but don't be surprised if your agency seems to be taking you back to the drawing board with exploratory data. This is the exciting part...
You now have 6 months of data that shows how well your KPIs matched your ROI, and your agency knows exactly what it takes to help your business grow. As you continue this growth trajectory, it might be time to add in some more services.
These services go beyond just the 'premium' version of your current marketing technology. Integrations for data analytics, conference calls and more will help you and your sales team turn around a profit in no time.
Things have gone really well over the year. You have sat down with an agency three times now, and you're still wanting more. Months 9-12 help showcase all the work you've been doing.
Now that there are specific, measurable marketing goals laid out before you, an agency might push for a more standard retainer model at a higher ticket. Remember, at this point, you have scaled your business far beyond what a typical agency is able to achieve.
Will you be paying more per month than you were on a standard retainer model? Maybe. Will you see far better results in the long run? Most definitely. What do you say?
If you want to learn more about Growth-Driven Retainers, or you want some more background information, visit our comprehensive resource on the subject.