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Agency Insights: Ditch Hourly Billing and Capture Upside

Published by Jamie Nau on 09 Jul 2024

Our team has returned from several top industry events where the general mood is improving across the board. Based on what we see as we update our clients’ forecasts with the final Q2 numbers, we concur: business looks like it's picking up in Q3 and Q4, with shorter sales cycles and clients ready to pay top dollar for specialized projects.

The 12-14 month slow-down the industry faced, after PPP money started drying up, feels like it’s reversing. But things look different on the other side – and that’s not a bad thing, by any means. 

Here are our top take-aways:

  • Prospects are fully aware they need agencies to offer vital services: in-house marketing teams are smaller than in the past. They’ll turn to agencies for specialized rather than full scope projects.

Opportunity: Position yourself as a specialist throughout the marketing and sales cycle. We find that this works best when you niche down and only provide the services at which you excel. You’ll be able to charge more, improve processes, and attract the client who wants exactly what you have to offer. Win-win-win.

If you haven’t figured out where your x-factor lies, you can try doing a client audit: review your clients and look for the best and worst experiences. Anything you find in common, you can try to replicate.

  • Prospects want agencies to be proactive, trusted partners, not just another vendor.

Opportunity: Be the doctor, not the wait staff.” Imagine walking into a doctor’s office and having the doctor ask, “What would you like me to do?” You go to a doctor for expertise and authority; that’s the same reason clients go to you.Blog Post Template (57)

Don’t be afraid to diagnose a problem and present a solution, even if it wasn’t in the initial scope of work. (Yes, ideally you’ll find things out during the sales call, if your sales process is robust, but there’s a reason you don’t know what you don’t know.) 

Execute on that plan and you’ll win their respect and long-term loyalty.

  • Say goodbye to “time and materials” and look towards value-based pricing.

Opportunity: Pricing is a part art and part science. It requires experimentation. The good news is: for the ‘science,’ if you track your pipeline metrics and see how your win rate is fairing, you can react accordingly. Remember, you don’t want to win too high a percentage of deals – if you do, that’s a sure sign you’re pricing your product too low.

Value-based pricing is near and dear to our hearts: You can read about the benefits in Jody Grunden’s book, Digital Dollars and Cents.

Download the book