"I have more leads than I can count!"
"I signed another client and I'm at max capacity!"
"I'm going to need to hire more people, we're growing so fast!"
When you hear someone talking about business being good, or maybe a little too good, one common response is "those are good problems to have". But whether these are 'good' problems or 'bad' problems, they're still problems. As an agency owner you need to be tuned in to the struggles your agency is having so you can address them before they become serious problems.
I'm too busy with client work to do my own marketing.
This is the most common 'good problem' I hear from agency owners. It's the old saying that the dentist's kid has rotten teeth, the cobbler's kids have no shoes, the marketing company has no marketing. If you were good at what you do, you'd have more clients and wouldn't have the time to do this for yourself, right?
Why it's a real problem
You can get by with a shoddy website and dated message, you can still get work through referrals and your business can be healthy, but you're not going to grow. If you lose a key client and suddenly need to drum up business, you're going to be starting months (or years) behind where you would have been if you had just kept up your own marketing efforts.
Don't leave yourself in a lurch by ignoring the needs of your own branding and marketing.
I have more leads than I can handle.
This 'good problem' could be a symptom of several other problems:
- You are not pre-qualifying your leads and are bogging down your sales team with unqualified leads
- You are not allowing your leads to self-identify and filter themselves into different lead funnels, putting the burden on your sales team to do this
- You don't have a sales team large enough to handle your leads
- You have the wrong people handling sales
For most marketing agencies, the real problem is that the person who is handling sales leads is also fulfilling other roles in the agency. By wearing multiple hats and juggling the priorities of multiple departments, you are putting someone in the position where following up with leads may get pushed down the list. You want to make sure that whomever you have following up with your sales leads has this as their number one priority.
Pre-qualifying and segmenting your leads can go a long way to reduce the burden of sorting through them and helps greatly improve the quality of leads that go to your sales team. Adding a self-identification question to your contact form can help you prioritize leads and reduce the legwork required, while still giving people that personal touch they expect.
For example, we have client who is a student loan lawyer. He has a great piece of content about offset tax refunds and gets a LOT of contact requests from it. However, almost all of the people contacting him about offsetting tax refunds are not best-fit clients. To help manage this, we added in a self-identification question to his contact form. Now we can better prioritize the leads that come in and reduce the stress of 'too many leads'.
I have too much work!
This comes in various forms but essentially boils down to commitments vs resources. Whether you're a large agency, a small agency, or this problem is isolated to just a few people within your organization, it's a symptom of not having the resources to fulfill your commitments.
You need to reset the balance.
The solution to this is very simple - you already know what it is. You need to either reduce your commitments or you need to increase your resources.
Remember problem #1 of not doing your own marketing? It's because this is one of the easiest things to cut when your commitments/resources scale is unbalanced. As we already mentioned, this is not the ideal solution if you're interested in the long-term growth of your agency.
Instead, you should take a look at the types of commitments you're making and the resources that you have to share in completing them. Are things unevenly distributed, resulting in certain team members creating a bottleneck for others? Are you taking on work that's not in your core competency, resulting in slow delivery or increased revisions/fixes? Do you have people on your team who are unable or unwilling to fulfill your company's commitments? When you can identify where the pain points are, it's easier to shift things to realign and re-balance.
Many agencies are surprised to find that hiring new people doesn't help. You need to undertake the exercise of really digging into where the misalignment is to make sure you are hiring the right person. Do you need to add a new skill set to the mix? Bring in a generalist who can offer support to multiple people? Hire an additional specialist?
More often than not, it's not just your client work that's increased but internal work as well. Do you have a key team member that is juggling client deliverables as well as doing team management or internal operations? Identify people who are wearing multiple hats and assess whether shuffling those roles around changes what role you might need to hire for.
Any time you're thinking of bringing on a new resource I'd challenge you to take a step back and look at your organization as a whole. Are all of the people in the 'right seats'? A simple change on your team might solve more capacity issues than hiring someone new.
This is a high risk problem
Being 'too busy' to get everything done is a serious problem. If you're unable to do all the things on your list you're likely skipping operational tasks, skimping on client delivery, or working your team too hard. If you're ignoring operational tasks your agency health is at risk. If you're skimping on client delivery you may lose some key clients. If you're working your team too hard they will leave for greener pastures and you will have an even harder time getting the work done with fewer resources.
Address good problems before they become serious problems.
Your 'good problems' are almost always symptoms of organizational issues that need to be addressed. Taking the time to tackle these while they're still good problems will help you successfully navigate around many of these issues.
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