The Art and Science of Selling Agency Services: How to Stop the Churn

By | August 29, 2012
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Growth is the easy part. Retaining it, and making it profitable, is the real challenge for agencies. — Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer)

And we’re live from Inbound 2012, where Paul Roetzer just finished his presentation, “The Art and Science of Selling Agency Services: How to Stop the Churn.” As part of the VAR track, the session offered insight into PR 20/20’s growth and churn rate, and the steps Paul has taken to improve agency performance.

In general, only 36% of marketers are firmly committed to their agency partners. In the presentation, Paul outlined four actions marketing agency leaders can take to make retention a priority.

1.) Assess Strengths and Forecast Potential

Numerous factors can affect the stability of an account from the get-go, as they have a direct impact on marketing performance moving forward. These include:

  • Business lifecycle stage
  • Competitive advantage
  • Financial stability
  • Growth Goals
  • Leadership team
  • Pricing strategy
  • Product/service quality
  • Brand awareness
  • Internal inbound competencies
  • Lead sources
  • Marketing/sales integration
  • Marketing technology utilization
  • Reach
  • Website performance

By evaluating and scoring these elements during the sales process, agencies can better allocate time, money and talent, and devise marketing strategies to ensure a successful campaign. An honest assessment also helps set realistic expectations upfront, and gets everybody on the same page out of the gate.

Note: To help organizations understand their marketing potential, Paul introduced Net Marketing Score (@NMScore), a free assessment and marketing intelligence engine. Sign up for the beta program.

2.) Offer Integrated Services

Eighty percent of chief marketing officers think integrated services will increase in importance over the next five years, according to a study by The Horn Group and Kelton Research. However, in the same study, 60% of CMOs indicated that they are unable to find an integrated firm to meet those needs.

To deliver on client requirements and retain relationships, agencies need to offer integrated services. This includes search, social, content, web, mobile, brand, PR, advertising, email, analytics, tech integration and app development.

3.) Benchmark Performance

Benchmarking performance at the start of a client campaign helps you set expectations and gives you a base to measure future success. Without starting metrics—e.g. website visits, leads and sales—to measure against, it’s hard to prove agency value and demonstrate results.  

PR 20/20 builds client Scorecards to track and show performance to clients. Note: A downloadable version of this Scorecard is provided to all registrants of Marketing Agency Insider’s Client Services Series under Creative Commons 3.0.

4.) Connect Actions to Audiences and KPIs

By benchmarking data, and then tying actions to audiences and KPIs, you can let performance tell your story. This way, if the agency relationship is questioned, you have a measurable, results-driven program to fall back on and prove your worth.   

How Do You Manage Churn?

Share your experiences and lessons in the comments section.

If you’re at Inbound, stop by the PR 20/20 pod to say hello. We’re happy to share more information on Net Marketing Score and the Client Services Webinar Series.