Running a Digital Agency? Here are 5 Unconventional Time-Saving Sales Tips

How digital marketing agencies can save time

Getting Things Done sounds nice in theory.

But when your task list has 20 things for you to accomplish today, and you only have time for about 5 of those, where do you begin?

There’s no shortage of books, posts and apps promising to help you squeeze in a few more ways to get stuff done. To zero your inbox like a zen productivity master.

These tips might buy you a few minutes here and there. But between client deadlines, emails to return, employees to follow up with, and sales calls to return, you probably need another eight hours.

The trick isn’t to look for MORE things to do, but less. Find the big wins based on bad practices, and turn them upside down.

Here are 5 things you should be doing while running an agency right now, but probably aren’t.

1. Say “No” More

No one likes to say “no”.

One study from the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin showed that around 50% of college students would willingly vandalize a library book just because someone asked them to.

Instead of simply saying “no”, they’d rather deface property.

Embracing “no” will help you sell more by disqualifying bad prospects earlier in the process.

What are all of the red flags you should be watching out for? The signals that it’s not going to end well? Noting these, and then rigorously rejecting prospects that aren’t a good fit, will help you prioritize time for the good prospects instead.

Because it should be HELL YEAH, or no. Maybes will kill you in the long run.

For example, go out of our way to turn prospective customers away. Because if your services aren’t a perfect fit with the client, one of the following typically happens:

  1. a long, frustrating sales process,
  2. an unhappy, churning customer, and/or
  3. bad PR.

Start qualifying (or better yet, disqualifying) with the BANT basics. (If you’re unfamiliar with BANT, check out this amusing wedding anecdote to see how it works.)

BANT

  • Budget: Is there a realistic budget based on what they’re looking for? Expectations are everything in service businesses. If they don’t even have a budget identified, chances are they’re wasting your time.
  • Authority: Dealing directly with a decision maker is the only way to successfully get the sale to go. All intermediaries should be bypassed.
  • Need: Is there a burning need for what you’re selling them? “Nice to haves” equate to no urgency or investment behind it.
  • Timing: Are they looking to start now, or in the near future. Again, if they’re just browsing around for something that might not kick off until next year, it’s probably a no-go.

But now dive deeper.

For example, does their business model make a difference in how your services might benefit them?

One industry might be willing to pay 10x more than another industry, simply due to the value they stand to gain. One insurance client is probably worth 100 eCommerce sales. So it might take you less overall work, and less time to deliver that extra value simply based on the client’s business model.

Another pro tip: people inherently view marketing as an investment or a cost. And there’s nothing you can do to change them from one to the other.

For example, start by figuring out how much they’ve invested in the past.

Find out who built their current website. Their in-house office administrator with zero marketing expertise? Or their brother’s sister’s friend’s cousin who puts together WordPress sites at night? Chances are, if they didn’t already spend some serious coin on their website, they’re not going to value your services.

The same holds true for other marketing software. Use BuiltWith to see what’s installed and what they’re using (or not using), to give you an indication of how much they’re already spending on marketing.

2. Sales Role Specialization

Multitasking makes you 40% less productive, according to research by Rubinstein, Meyer & Evans.

That’s not good, especially considering recent studies that have shown our attention spans to already be shorter than that of a goldfish.

Yet multitasking still exists. You’re probably doing it right now while reading this post.

Why? Because your environment – your office, company, department, or team – isn’t set up properly.

Specialization is a powerful way to prevent multitasking before it starts. For example, the four separate roles Aaron Ross from Predictable Revenue include:

  • Inbound Lead Qualification: Qualifies all incoming prospects.
  • Outbound Prospecting: Generate outbound prospects.
  • Account Executives: Sell! (Here’s your quota-carrying person.)
  • Account Management: More customer happiness, upsells, less churning.

Predictable Revenue

Specializing sales roles also makes it crystal clear when you’re too ‘top heavy’ in one area (like ‘sellers’), and not enough in others (like prospectors or account managers). Then it’s easy to pinpoint problem areas (like not enough prospects coming in the door). All of which helps you fix things faster.

3. Speed Up Workflows

Once roles are specialized, documenting workflows (and optimizing them) over time becomes easier.

You can see which tasks should be batched for efficiency; scheduled ahead of time and then completed all at once without switching between different types of work.

You can test which ones can be sped up; constantly iterating on small parts of the process to make big improvements over the course of a year.

And you can see which tasks can be eliminated completely. Like, why are you still doing data entry in this day and age?

There are so many good sales CRM options out there today that combine essential tasks like contact history, follow up, phone and email logs, even through to project management. Everyone knows about Salesforce, but it’s also incredibly bloated for smaller sales teams that don’t need all the heavy, ‘VP reporting’ like features.

The best tool for the job is the one that gets used. So instead, give one of these simple, lightweight and affordable options a try.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive does just that – help you manage your pipeline more efficiently. The drag-and-drop interface, integrations, follow-up notifications, and built-in reporting is perfect quota-carrying agencies.

Contactually

Contactually is focused on building relationships but is equally adept at helping you stay on top of lead management and collaborate with others internally throughout the sales process.

Sidekick - tool for any web agency

Last but not least, Sidekick is a wonderful little extension that keeps adding new features to make your life simple, like email activity tracking and letting you know when a prospect has clicked on a link or visits your site. (It’s an offshoot from the evolving HubSpot Sales CRM).

4. Spend Less Time Prospecting

Prospectors should prospect. However, the over-emphasis on prospecting (company wide) can (and should) be cut down.

Why?

Your chances of selling to new prospects are only around 5-20%, while selling to your existing customers is closer to 60-70%, according to the book Marketing Metrics. And 84% of B2B decision-makers start their purchase with a referral.

Think about it this way:

You’ll get new leads (hooray!), who are already qualified (no crap?!), with less work (okay, now I’m listening), because your best customers will be referring similar peers, and then you’re already being introduced by a trusted third party.

Instead of waiting until after an engagement with a client, start by asking for referrals at the beginning.

Right after they’ve signed on the dotted line and you’re getting ready to kick off the project, simply tell them how your business is all built on word-of-mouth (it even helps keep your prices lower because you don’t have to spend so much on marketing!), and how you’d love to help companies exactly like your clients. Then take the next step by already having a pre-built message or email that your new client can copy, paste, and hit send.

Another tip is to ‘create’ a lower priced consultation offer for sale and then offer it for free to friends or colleagues of your customers and clients. In this case, the consultation offer can be like an audit that now has a higher perceived value (because of that price tag), and you’re offering an incentive to help people your client likes (putting the focus on helping others, as opposed to selfishly asking for more work).

5. Pull the Deal Away

There comes a certain point in time when you should break up, instead of follow-up.

If the salesperson puts up all the effort, with little-to-no return, they undermine a relationship that’s supposed to be built on mutual trust and understanding. Breaking up with non-responsive prospects helps you turn the dynamic back around.

You can try to preempt this at the beginning of a deal, by openly telling prospects they can’t buy from you. This forces prospects to pitch you on why they deserve your product. And it gives you a chance to proactively chip away at objections, ultimately reducing buyer’s remorse.

You can (and should) try taking the deal away in the middle of your process if last minute issues begin popping up unexpectedly.

And what about the one who’s gone cold? The prospect who seemed ready, was willing to start ASAP, and then … nothing. MIA. Send a breakup email.

Break Up Emails by Web Marketing Agency

These effective little emails generate a 33% response rate according to Katharine Derum, a senior sales manager at HubSpot. My favorite goes something like this:

Hi $FNAME,

Hope you’ve had a nice week!

I haven’t heard from you, so I’m assuming you’re going in another direction or priorities have changed.

Please let me know if I can help in the future.

Best,
NAME

Yes, it’s that simple. Hit send and watch as elusive prospects finally give you an answer one way or the other.

The upper hand in a negotiation is almost always on the buyer’s side. While they don’t have to buy, you NEED to close this deal. That’s why last minute efforts to get you to discount prices always work. When you stop to think about it, the chances of you willingly walking away from a done-deal are extremely low.

But at the end of the day, desperation only undermines the services you’re offering. Life’s too short to spend in a one-sided relationship.

‘Common Sense’ isn’t Easy

These tips sound like common sense. What’s uncommon is their application.

It’s easier to appease the President and prioritize new lead generation than focus on growing through referrals.

It’s easier to blame lost deals on the prospect’s last minute desire for price breaks instead of being assertive and bold.

And it’s easier to scan Reddit for the latest tip or hack that will buy you a few extra minutes each day.

But here’s the kicker:

Big wins, like the 5 listed here, force us to change. They’re not difficult to implement, but they require us to embrace our own vulnerabilities and insecurities to forge ahead to make real progress.

Business problems are personal problems in disguise, according to Michael Port.

The good news is that if we’re able to recognize and address these in sales, then we can apply them again and again in other areas as well. The result is better performance with more confidence. And with a bit of luck, less time spent working.

Introducing Linkody’s Multi-User Support Feature – Version 1.0

Linkody team work

One of the most requested features here at Linkody backlink tracker has been the possibility of multiple people within the same organization to work on a different client project each, all from 1 Linkody account.

Announcing the ability for Linkody Pro and Agency account owners to provide unique logins for their team members. Pro accounts are entitled on up to 2 users and Agency, up to 5 users.

There are 3 types of users – Owner (this is the default option, there can only be 1 Owner in each account and he/she is the one receiving the email reports), Manager and Link Builder which will have the following access:

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The future version will also include Clients with “Read Only” access so you can collaborate and communicate ideas with your clients instantly.

Here’s how it works:

1) First, navigate and click on your name in the dashboard:

1

2) Then, click on Users (beta):

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3) By default, you are the “Owner”. Add new members by clicking on “Add User”:

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4) Next, fill in his/her “First name“, “Last name“, “Email address” and also come up with a “Password“, which you will then provide to him/her for the login:

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5) Finally, select his/her role as either “Manager” or “Link Builder” and hit “SAVE CHANGES“:

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Now, let’s say you want to search for links added by a specific person on your team.

Use the “Quick search” form in the links section:

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Click on the gear icon and select “added by“:

Now, you can search by the person’s first name or last name (as filled in when creating their user) and it will appear like this:


Note: This is the very first version of the multi-user feature, so we expect to hear all your feedback, comments and suggestions.

Please, feel free to reach out to support@linkody.com or in the Live Chat widget inside your Linkody dashboard, bottom right.

Happy linkbuilding!

 

What is the Best Follow Vs. Nofollow Ratio?

 

what is the best dofollow vs. nofollow ratio

Links drive the web.

Without the right links, you may not rank in Google top 10. And Google’s algorithm has evolved over the years to reward natural, relevant, and authority sites.

There is a great correlation (or relationship) between Google rankings and links. If you see a web page that sits at the #1 position in Google, it probably has a lot of the right links. According to Moz, 99.2% of all top 50 results had at least one external link pointing to the website.

Yes, links connect the dots of the web together. But from the search engine’s viewpoint, not all links are created equal.

In the past, Google created a metric called “PageRank” to calculate link points. These link points come primarily from dofollow links. So we can define dofollow links as links that search spider follows, indexes and rewards. These links are counted as points, because they pass SEO value to a web page and improves it search rankings, page authority, and overall search performance.

It’s been a long-standing argument. SEO experts and internet marketing companies want to know what the best dofollow vs. nofollow link ratio is. Continue reading

11 SEO Experts Share Their Advice on 5 Evergreen Questions to Make You a Better Marketer

SEO Experts share their advice

Hey there! Welcome to the Linkody blog. First time around? Linkody is an easy-to-use and affordable backlink tracker in real-time. Start your free 30-day trial here.

We, at Linkody, believe that sharing information and useful findings with peers is the cornerstone of making each other better and more successful at online marketing every day.

That’s why we decided to ask 11 prominent SEO experts on 5 ‘evergreen’ questions in order to help you become a better marketer and keep you up-to-date with the latest trends:

  1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?
  2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?
  3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?
  4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?
  5. Which metrics do you rely on when assessing links?

Following here is what they had to say. Continue reading

How RankBrain is changing SEO

Users are so dear to Google. If users can find the right information quickly, Google will continue to dominate the search engine industry. That’s why Google is always looking for ways to serve better content.

Panda update was a major evolution in Google’s algorithm. The Penguin update which redefined link building, and the hummingbird all changed the future of SEO as we know it.

A new artificial intelligence algorithm “RankBrain” is here.

I’m going to walk you through this new AI algorithm, what it’s all about, how it works and how you can increase organic traffic – just by understanding what RankBrain wants from your site, and optimizing accordingly.

You’ll get to know whether or not Google is turning its business over to AI machines, and if it’s true, how will this affect your organic search performance? Continue reading

The Ultimate Guide To Building Authority Links Through Guest Blogging

building authority links through guest blogging

How much money do you spend on link building each year?

A recent survey by Moz revealed that about 37% of business owners spend between $10,000 and $50,000 per month on link building. That’s huge!

Why should you spend such a large amount of money when you can leverage guest blogging to get high-quality inbound links from popular blogs out there?

The other week, I was invited to a dinner hosted by a friend. There were people I’ve admired for years who were present.

While having a great time, laughing and discussing some sweet nonsense, I silently asked myself, “How did I become so close to these experts and influencers?”

Trust me, it all began when I connected through a guest post.

The benefits of guest blogging are clear:

  • You gain traction to your new blog.
  • You get quality inbound links to your content pages.
  • You drive hot traffic to your site.

But I didn’t realize that guest blogging will actually position me as the expert that people will look up to for SEO, and link building.

And this benefit isn’t limited to online business, it far surpasses that. After all, while I was enjoying a dinner with people whom I got to know through guest blogging, I’m being introduced to real estate investing and other offline opportunities. What a luck! Continue reading