Agency Advantage 39: Eric Baum on Overcoming the New Challenges as Your Agency Grows

Agency Advantage 39: Eric Baum on Overcoming the New Challenges as Your Agency Grows

In this episode of Hubstaff’s Agency Advantage Podcast, we’re talking with Eric Baum of BluLeadz, who shares how he overcame the evolving problems he faced as his agency grew.

One of the struggles of hosting this podcast is that I know listeners are at different places in the lifecycle of their agency. Some just made their first hire, others have a growing team, and others are as big as they want to get.

This makes picking topics to cover difficult because as agencies grow, their problems change.

In today’s podcast, Eric shares how those problems evolved over the growth of BluLeadz from a solo practice all the way up to their current team of 17 (they are one of only 11 Hubspot Diamond Certified Partners), and what he is preparing for as they continue to grow in the future.

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If you’re looking for a refreshing view on how to overcome the evolving problems as your agency grows, then this is the episode for you.

Download a full transcript of the interview with Eric Baum: Get it right here.

Key Takeaways

Growing your clients as your agency grows [5:00 – 8:00]

If you want to stay at the forefront of your field, that means offering new services as you grow or a new way of delivering your old service. When you don’t have a track record for these services, it can be a tough sell, especially when your clients are used to things being done in a certain way.

When Eric started transitioning towards inbound marketing, he had to take a very gradual approach. As the services changed, so did the pricing, but he had to make small jumps. First they went from $500/mo to $750, then to $1,000, $1,500, and eventually $2,000. This wasn’t an overnight process, and even today it isn’t complete. Their lowest client is paying them $1,500 a month while their biggest client pays $32,000 a month.

When you have a major change, you can start with a clean slate with new customers, but you have the uphill battle of getting the people who have been with you from the beginning to accept that. Don’t try to rush this process.

Standing out in a crowded space (getting found and building trust) [20:00 – 26:30]

When you run a marketing agency, it can be tough to stand out, especially when you are competing against other skilled marketing agencies. To Eric, standing out in a crowded market comes down to two things: getting found, and building trust.

First, you have to get found. It’s literally simple as that. If you’re in front of your ideal clients at the right time, and with the right information, then they’ll download your e-book and say, “Okay great. These are the guys I want to talk to.” You may get some companies or individuals who will download ten different e-books from ten different agencies, and try to compare them all. When Eric runs into that at BluLeadz, they typically remove themselves from that conversation right out of the gate.

Once you get in front of them and get them interested, you need to build trust to close the deal. When you get to a certain point with your agency, and you’re being compared to your peers, typically they’re all about the same. One agency may specialize in a different vertical or they might have more experience in your industry, or they might be better at design than video, but at the end of the day, the client cares about trusting the people they are going to work with.

If you can build trust into your sales process and reliably get in front of your prospects, you won’t have a problem growing.

Learn from those who have already done it [27:30 – 32:00]

Eric is a huge fan of learning from what other people have created and done before. There is an incredible amount of information out there about what successful agency owners have done to get where they are, and many of the industry leaders host training sessions to help shortcut the process.

He takes advantage of these opportunities whenever he can, then he internalizes the information, and takes what works, removes what doesn’t, then makes it his own. When there are so many successful agency owners willing to share their hard-earned lessons, you’d need to be pretty conceited to think there is nothing you can learn from them.

Don’t let your ego get in the way of learning from those who have been there before.

Don’t lose sight of your client’s goals [37:00 – 41:30]

When BluLeadz was first starting out and working with smaller businesses, they were almost always dealing directly with the business owner. But as they grew and started working with bigger clients, their point of contact in the business was often a CMO or VP of Marketing. This doesn’t seem like an issue, but the trouble arises when the point of contact doesn’t have the same priorities as the business owner.

Sometimes a CMO or VP of marketing is focused on activity, while the business owner or CEO ultimately cares about generating a positive ROI on their marketing dollars. Eric learned the hard way that while people may think that they’re doing a great job and making the client happy, at the end of the day if you’re without a direct line of communication with your CEO, it can be easy to lose focus on the ultimate goal; results.

Losing sight of this can spell disaster when a big client leaves the agency with seemingly no warning.

Want to learn more?

To stay on top of what BluLeadz is up to, you can check out their website and follow Eric on Twitter. If you want to reach out directly to Eric, you can send him a message on LinkedIn or even call him on his cell phone (yes, really!), but you have to listen to the episode to get his number. Eric is happy to help anybody that is willing to listen, so if that’s you (and as a listener of this show, I hope it is), don’t hesitate to reach out.

Resources mentioned

Content Marketing Institute
Joe Pulizzi
Paul Roetzer
Mike Lieberman
Bob Ruffolo
John McTigue

Thanks for listening!