Through the years, as they built Nextiny Marketing into what it is today, Gabriel and Jackie Marguglio (Nextiny’s CEO and COO, respectively) have learned a lot. In this episode of Coffee Talks, they discuss the five biggest lessons they’ve learned from starting an inbound agency.
Last Week's Episode: What Are Users Doing On Your Website?
1. Establish a Culture
Establishing a culture at the office was a long process that pays big dividends now. You want to build an environment that makes people want to come to work rather than drag their feet all the way from home. That starts with the people you hire.
When building a team, it’s easy to want to focus on the skills and experiences. Those are important things, but they may not be the most important. The most important, we found, was building a team of passionate people with positive attitudes. Yes, you still need to seek out those skilled enough to do the job you need to be done, but when we stopped hiring purely on those qualifications, we found the culture we were seeking.
And it snowballed from there. The more persons you find that are a good cultural fit, the easier it is to define exactly what you need to be looking for. Good people attract good people. We found it was easier and easier to show folks the type of environment we had here and it brought others like that.
Your work isn’t done once you have the right employees, though. Having a positive work/life balance is an important factor in happiness in general which leads to better work, better health, and better relationships among your team.
2. Picking Your Customers
As you pick out the best team, you must also pick out the best customers for yourself. It’s tempting to just find the biggest fish out there, but even with clients, finding that perfect fit is what will lead to a happy, healthy business relationship. This is one of the ways we can maintain our ideal office culture because hard-to-work-with clients produce stress and long hours which is detrimental to the team.
When we look at a potential customer we don’t just see the dollar signs floating around, we think about whether we can help them, whether they are a good cultural fit for our team, and if this is a positive relationship. All of these questions lead us to decide if both sides of this deal will be happy and continue on in a long-lasting relationship.
If we decide that the fit is not good, then we do everything we can to find an agency that would better match up a customer and we can part ways amicably.
3. Investing in Technology
Never be afraid to look forward. We always want to make sure we’re not left behind by advances in technology. Years ago it was getting into HubSpot, now we’re diving headfirst into video. Always be on the lookout for the next big thing that can lead you to success.
But, make sure you’ve done your homework. It’s great to have that creative vision, but you also need to keep yourself firmly gripped to reality. Research potential technology investments. Analyze everything so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and won’t be surprised by anything, good or bad.
4. Sales Process
A key element in establishing your culture, both in your team and your customers, is to have a sales process that promotes it. This starts by not delegating the complete process to just anybody which can lead to customers who aren’t good fits and lead you away from those that you want to work with. Your sales team is the face of your company to any potential customers and having the wrong energy right out of the gate will only increase the gap between you and your desired customer.
Obviously, especially at first, you can’t be too picky with customers. But, as you grow, it’s important to establish a vetting process that separates the customers you want away from those that you don’t.
5. Being Yourself
Lastly, it’s important to be yourself. It goes hand-in-hand with what we’ve covered before, but presenting a genuine representation of your agency and culture is the best way to spread and grow it even further. Whether it’s through the sales process or displayed to the world via videos or podcasts, every time you showcase your culture you are putting it out there for potential customers and employees to find and they will find it.
Additionally, this is a great way to develop your brand and, with the help of engaging content, can create real relationships with your audience in the form of brand affinity.
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