This year, Nextiny reached its 15th anniversary as a company and became a HubSpot Platinum Agency Partner and Wistia Gold Partner.
Over the last 15 years, Nextiny has evolved through many iterations of itself. Nextiny began as Destiny Technologies, an IT/website design company which then became an SEO company, and over time turned into an inbound marketing agency by partnering with HubSpot in 2013 and finally rebranding in 2014 as Nextiny, our next destiny -- get it?
The Challenge - Unsustainable Business Model
Before HubSpot, we were managing 50+ clients who were on monthly retainers for only a few hundred dollars a month. We were losing two to three customers a month and had to sell the same amount of accounts in order to keep the business running, with no growth. Furthermore, the lack of cash-flow stability inhibited our ability to hire the best talent. As a result, Gabriel Marguglio, our CEO, found himself working until 3 am every day in order to keep customers and employees as happy as possible. Our employee satisfaction was low and therefore, the turnover rate was really high. It was a vicious cycle and undoubtedly, an unsustainable business model.
In May 2014, we signed our first HubSpot and inbound marketing client. The first year and a half into our HubSpot partnership was really difficult since we were operating with a team built based on a then obsolete paradigm. While at INBOUND 2015, Gabriel had an epiphany. After attending countless sessions with testimonials from thriving agencies, he came to the painful, yet exciting conclusion that we were operating an outdated agency model by servicing the wrong customers with employees who could not match the level of accountability, passion, and flexibility required to run a successful growth agency. Thus began the process of rebuilding Nextiny in order to fit our new vision.
The Solution - HubSpot + Great Clients + Great Culture
By the end of 2015 we began our latest transformation by transitioning out more than half of our legacy customers who were not a good fit for the inbound model. Simultaneously, we made our own internal marketing a priority by implementing a more structured inbound strategy for ourselves and by hiring a dedicated account manager to support this strategy, who is still with us today as a Senior Account Manager and part of our Leadership Team.
In the same way that we utilized inbound marketing to start attracting our own buyer personas from scratch Jackie Marguglio, our COO, prioritized defining our own culture. This led to the implementation of an inbound recruiting strategy and the development of an innovative hiring process to attract the best talent and form a kick-ass team.
Throughout this process we discovered that it was crucial to pinpoint exactly who our ideal customers were through defining the type of businesses that we wanted to work with (for example, the luxury lifestyle industry). It was equally important to define them by the ideal traits that we value, such as the ability to work with us as partners, instead of just service providers.
Similarly, when hiring employees, we realized that we needed not only people with a certain educational background and level of experience, but most importantly, we wanted people who were passionate, service-oriented, and excellence-focused. We focused on hiring employees who would fit our culture of always providing more value to the customer and going the extra mile.
HubSpot provided us, through our transition into bigger retainers (which are now ten times what they used to be with our legacy clients), the financial flexibility to more carefully select both our clients and employees. We are able to justify these larger retainers by providing data that clearly illustrates their return on investment, which is completely unavailable through the use of previous disjointed, primitive analytics tools.
Some introspection, as well as the sage advice of HubSpot community members and other partners, also led us to the realization that we needed to say no to potential customers who were not a good fit. We must instead, wait for the right people to partner with. This is some of the best advice that has directly contributed to our success, and for that we are grateful to those who helped us throughout this process.
We found ourselves elated by our newfound confidence, shifting from desperately trying to convince potential clients to buy from us and potential employees to work for us, to determining realistically whether the partnership was a mutually good fit through a more comprehensive sales and hiring process.
“Learning when to say “NO” and reject instant gratification for the long term goal, was the most important lesson in 15 years of running Nextiny.” - Gabriel Marguglio, Nextiny’s CEORelated Article: Looking for an Inbound Marketing Agency? Why You May Not Want to Work With Us
The Results - Success for the Agency, our Employees and our Customers
As a result, on January 1, 2017 we completed transitioning out all of our legacy clients by empowering them with education and free versions of the same tools that we use today to generate success for our customers (HubSpot Marketing Free). We stood by our commitment to our new business model, and to HubSpot, by focusing our efforts solely on the HubSpot COS, and inbound growth (marketing + sales) retainers. This brought a new level of stability, as well as success, and a higher MRR (monthly recurring revenue) than ever before.
We have now reached 20 full-scale, 100% HubSpot COS (website platform), inbound growth retainers. The best part? Three of our first HubSpot clients are still with us as valued customers and have become our best case studies.
In December 2015 we doubled our revenue with inbound services, and over the past 18 months we have accelerated to more than doubling it again. This year, we are growing at an even faster rate. Since becoming a HubSpot partner in November 2013, we have seen a 4X increase in monthly recurring revenue.
4X Monthly Recurring Revenue Growth in 3 ½ years
Nextiny’s team is now composed of nine, full time employees and more than 45 industry-specific meticulously vetted freelance writers. We have frequently been asked how we can sustain our growth with such a lean team. Our emphasis on hiring A+ players is the answer. We are also constantly interviewing potential candidates, thus maintaining a full recruiting funnel to sustain this growth. Furthermore, our culture emphasizes empowering our employees to reach their full potential with resources, time, a comprehensive HubSpot Academy education, and customized development plans that derive from individual strengths. In the past year, we have expanded benefits and salaries and accelerated employee growth to match our agency growth. At Nextiny, employees who rock have the opportunity to grow at an expedited rate and to lead.
Meet the Nextiny Team - What is Nextiny?
HubSpot gave us a structured platform to run our marketing and sales efforts, not only to generate success for our customers, but also prove it. Once we were able to prove success, by showing the return on investment (ROI) to our clients, upselling and offering additional services to drive growth became easier processes.
Our growth as a HubSpot agency has allowed us to continue to flourish as the HubSpot tool continues to advance and evolve. We went from an inbound marketing agency offering strictly traditional “digital marketing” services to an inbound growth agency that helps companies develop a go-to-market strategy. We work closely with our clients’ marketing and sales teams to incorporate inbound marketing, video services for marketing and sales, sales training and consulting, and more. Sales and marketing alignment has become one of our cornerstones for success. Closed-loop reporting is one of the most critical aspects of our process allowing us to make decisions for future marketing and sales efforts based on data. Being strategic is a skill, but having the data to back you up empowers that skill to drive continued success.
Future Success - HubSpot Integration Partnerships
HubSpot integrations allow us to partner with the leading technologies in the field to propel our capabilities and therefore, provide even more value for our customers over time. This creates an ever-expanding universe of revolutionary tools that connect with the HubSpot core methodology and functionalities through their HubSpot Connect program.
CallRail facilitates the tracking of previously undetected inbound phone calls as HubSpot inbound leads. Closing the loop on these calls expands our ability to prove ROI to our customers by capturing website visitors who tend to call instead of engaging with forms on a website.
So what’s Next(iny)? As you can see, the word next is not only ingrained in our culture, it’s in our name. Change is who we are and something we highly encourage. As a Platinum HubSpot Agency Partner we plan to continue driving success for ourselves and our clients through the HubSpot tool and through other notable industry partners like Wistia, Databox, CallRail, SeventhSense, and more.
HubSpot Partnership Testimonial by Gabriel