Agency Sales Strategies with John Doherty of Credo
John Doherty is a veteran SEO and digital marketing leader who is the CEO & Founder of Credo where they help companies find and hire great digital marketing firms. This conversation will focus on his present-day expertise of helping agencies and consultants generate more leads and close them into paying clients.
- 2:30 How does an agency get in with Credo?
- 6:00 How does your revenue model work?
- 8:24 Do you match agencies with prospects based on their past retainers only?
- 10:15 Was your sales training a revenue model or was it about helping agencies perform better?
- 12:07 Does your training get into lead generation as well or is it mainly focused on the sales process?
- 14:23 Do you have any tips for people on how to get leads in the post-COVID-19 business environment?
- 18:04 How do you deal with prospects ghosting on you?
- 30:51 What are your thoughts on pricing and charging?
- 34:05 What is your preferred method for pricing?
- 42:16 How do you arrive at the value in a value-based pricing model?
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2:30 How does an agency get in with Credo?
We are connecting up businesses that are looking to hire digital marketing firms with digital marketing firms that we have vetted out.
We determine who we can bring on based on our pipeline. We apply a value to every project that comes in. Right now we’re asking everybody to just join the waitlist.
So you tell us a little bit about yourself and join the waitlist. Then as we have openings we’re going to reach out to people that are a fit.
The vetting is in three steps. Results, professionalism, and culture.
You tell us about a couple of your clients, the projects you did for them, the results you got for them and then you also give us their contact information. We’ll get in touch with them and see if they will recommend you.
To assess your professionalism, we look at the quality of your reporting and deliverables.
And as for the culture, we’ll call everybody that we’re actively referring work to, just to get to know them. We think about the agencies that we’re sending work to as partners.
6:00 How does your revenue model work?
It’s free for the demand side. On the agency side, we have levels of the sales pipeline. The bottom level is $12.99 a month.
8:24 Do you match agencies with prospects based on their past retainers only?
We try to assess the agency’s ideal client and optimize towards that. If we trust them and believe that they can close and a bigger fish comes along, we give them a crack at it.
10:15 Was your sales training a revenue model or was it about helping agencies perform better?
It was both honestly. I’m going to launch it as a product so you can just pay for that training and go through it at your own pace.
I built it because we were seeing agencies that do phenomenal work and they just weren’t closing. At the time our business model was built more on how well the agency closed and then retained work. So we wanted to do whatever we could to help them close.
12:07 Does your training get into lead generation as well or is it mainly focused on the sales process?
We do talk about lead generation. What I like to do is help people focus. I also talk about the lead generation ladder. Referrals, your properties, your paid acquisition, and then finally accelerants like Credo or Clutch.
14:23 Do you have any tips for people on how to get leads in the post-COVID-19 business environment?
We saw agencies losing 30-50% of their revenue overnight, teams getting trimmed back and people getting laid off.
But they still need to get things done. They let go of their SEO manager and now their digital marketing manager is doing it all. They’re also going to go and hire an agency for less per month than they were paying their SEO manager. So they still get things done but cheaper. So I think that’s one way to lean into it.
I haven’t seen a change in search volume for things like information. If anything, I’ve seen a bump for information about stuff like how to do SEO, how to run paid ads, how to get a better CPC, etc.
This is hard for a lot of digital marketers who haven’t been super data-focused but for those that have been, this is how you get to identify your wasted facebook spend. This is how you scale your accounts profitably or on the SEO side, that is how you determine which content is working and which is not.
You should find new opportunities and open up new markets with keyword research and link building etc.
I would say there aren’t as many “leads” out there right now, but I think we’ve mainly just gotten rid of the tire kickers which I think is a good thing.
18:04 How do you deal with prospects ghosting on you?
I deal with it with what I call the DSSP framework and it stands for Discovery call, Strategy call, Scope and Proposal.
So you’re doing an initial discovery call, qualifying them, are they a good fit and letting them get to know you a little bit. Scheduling another meeting from that – book a meeting from a meeting.
Schedule a longer call 3-5 days out so you have time to dig into their metrics, performance, and competitors, etc. Get a feel for what’s going on so you can talk intelligently with them about their own business.
A lot of people do the discovery call and then go and do that research and send a proposal without actually ever talking to the prospect again. Completely wrong.
You have to talk to them and you have to get deeper with them to build trust that you know what you’re talking about and that you can deliver results for them specifically.
And then after that call, before you send a proposal tell them that you’re going to send a proposal but you’re also going to send them a recap.
That’s the scope. Send them an email like this is what they talked about, these are the things that you think they need, here’s the pricing for that and ask them how it looks to them.
Then ask them if you can send them a proposal. If they don’t reply or they’re like can we add in this thing, can we take that thing away, we’re not convinced, you have that conversation with them.
The key here is you propose to them exactly what they said yes to and you don’t try to upsell them or change pricing or anything like that.
People ghost because you’re putting in things that aren’t relevant to their businesses. Things that they haven’t even said that they wanted but you thought that they might need. Save that for later.
30:51 What are your thoughts on pricing and charging?
When it comes to pricing, you start with what other people are charging in your space. Then you have to know what are the results that the client is looking to achieve and you work back from there.
Say they want to go from 1 million to 5 million in two years using just SEO, content, and link building. It’s a big stretch. If you can add 4 million in revenue per month to them, they should be willing to pay you a decent chunk of that. I usually say it should be around 10% that they should be paying you.
34:05 What is your preferred method for pricing?
I’ve tried it all and I would say that agencies should do value-based pricing or some combination of value-based pricing, number of hours plus overheads.
I do not recommend that SEO agencies work off of a percentage of the upside. I have never seen it work.
You should be clear ahead of time about how often you’re going to communicate and if the client asks for more time then he should be paying you for it.
42:16 How do you arrive at the value in a value-based pricing model?
Let’s say that clients know that they have x amount of keyword rankings and they’re looking to go from 50 leads to 150 leads a month and they close at y percentage and the average project is worthwhile to them.
You say if we can get you another 50 or 100 leads, it is going to be worth $1.5 million. So over the course of a year $1.5 million additional. So 10% of that is 150K, divide that by 12, add in your overheads and you have arrived at a value.