I love sales. I started Rock Candy Media because I believe any marketing problem is also a sales problem, and I wanted to help other people sell themselves. As one of Austin’s top advertising agencies and marketing consulting firms, we get to help businesses across the country create revenue and identify new sales funnels. However, despite our success and all the awesome creative work we get to do for our clients, RCM’s top client is RCM.
Advertising is competitive and cutthroat. If an agency can’t hack it, the client is going to fire them, which makes it that much more difficult for the next agency to get that client on the line. We understood this from the beginning and much of RCM’s early success was built around identifying that business owner pain point and addressing it head on. (Identifying consumer pain points is one of our specialities.) When clients saw the way RCM actually cared about their long-term success and invested our brain trust in their company, the contrast between us and their old agency created immediate loyalty.
As we’ve grown, our own business development strategies have evolved. We’ve started targeting different types of clients and changing our retainer structure in a way that allows us to devote even more personalized attention to each client. A part of this process has been learning how to filter out the ideal clients for RCM. Or, to put it bluntly, learning when to stop selling ourselves. Here are some important lessons we’ve learned as we’ve restructured our sales cycle.
Establish Multiple Sales Funnels
Not every prospect is far enough along in their development to need a full-service agency or consulting firm, but every company does need cash flow in order to grow. We identify the “lowest hanging fruit” and create both short and long-term goals. We make a point to contact prospects in the growth stage and encourage them to keep RCM in mind for when they have set up a scalability action plan. We also established RCM Focus as a way to provide a fresh, affordable infusion of strategy and creativity to up-and-coming companies.
Be Honest With Prospects
Instead of taking a meeting with everyone who fills out one of our contact forms, we instead encourage people to apply for an RCM Positioning Analysis. We’re straight up about the fact that we can’t take everyone and if you apply and we decline to bring you in for an analysis, it’s not a reflection of your value, but really us helping you out by not wasting your time on something you aren’t ready for.
Challenge Prospects Early
Meetings at RCM are not like meetings at other ad agencies. We don’t calmly present a bunch of charts and figures. Ideas fly, strategies are broken down and evaluated and we try to scare you (if what we pitch doesn’t make you nervous, it’s probably not going to work). If a client can hold their own in an RCM meeting, they’re a keeper.
Watch Out For These Clients
For whatever reason, certain industries attract a personality type that does not do well with our marketing style. We judge every prospect individually, but these types are often flaky.
- Early stage startups without a Series A round of funding
- Anyone seeking a very specific service that is project based and not goal based
- Anyone who tells us they have no competitors
I’m incredibly grateful that we’re in the position to be turning down prospects, but it does always make me feel a little bad. However, I want us to only work with companies that we can grow, because collaboration is key and if execution strategies are approved and in place, both our client and RCM can grow together.
When we are retained by a CEO, entrepreneur or business owner we become a part of their team, and clients describe us as “the growth part” of their company. While everyone is replaceable, my team is harder to replace than others, and the agency I built is not a scalable as others.
You either have a team built on hiring the smartest of the smart and you’re not as scalable, or you hire a team based on being the average and you are scalable. In that sense I’m proud to say my team at RCM is not AS scalable. We have the best stable of clients in the world and the opportunity to increase their bottom line is something I don’t take for granted.