I started 2018 with the goal of networking my *ss off. I mean, I'm in NYC, so it was bound to be a smart investment of my time, right?
Ehm... well, it wasn't panning out as I wanted it to.
Every networking event I attended was the same song and dance. I would get my name tag, write down my name and what I did; Digital Marketing. Then scan the crowd for other digital marketers, avoid them like the plague and continue to talk to people who spent way too much time selling me on their services. And let's be honest, no-one likes being sold to these days! If they were polite, (not all of them were) they would kindly ask what I did in return. If I responded with digital marketing, I was often met with a blank stare and apprehension. I could sense them tensing up, and even though they never said it out loud, their body language was screaming, "Oh gosh, not another marketing pitch!!"
These networking events honestly sucked. Nobody seemed genuinely interested in helping each other. They all just seemed like a narcissistic pitch fest. If I did manage to connect with someone, it was usually because I managed to build rapport on another topic. At the end of the day, it was a lot of work with a minimal payoff.
In the meantime, our sales pipeline had been showing symptoms of slowly drying up. Having been in business for the last 10 years, I'll be honest and say that I've seen this red flag before and know from my experience that the sooner you address it, the better off you are later.
I also knew from last time, that to get out of these ruts, you need to dig deep and face some harsh truths and realities. It's ugly and uncomfortable, but usually always rewarding.
I realized that our weakest link was finding new clients and so I applied for 'Hubspot's Pipeline Generation Bootcamp.' An 8-week intensive program led by sales expert Dan Tyre intended to teach you how to identify leads, connect with potential companies and build an opportunities list. Oh, yeah, and you have to make 120 prospecting calls! ** Gulp **
For the first two weeks in our Bootcamp, Dan forced me to rethink our agency positioning statement. As I was working through the steps, I realized we weren't a digital marketing agency at all.
No, we were a growth agency!
Everything that was already baked into our agency values, our approach to metrics, our accountability for positive ROAS, our desire to translate marketing efforts into overall business ROI and our ability to connect dots across screens, across channels and across teams meant, that we were, in fact, in the business of growing companies.
With this realization in hand, we approached every (and I really do mean every) social interaction with our new magic words; we are a growth agency. We help businesses grow faster, bigger, better.
The pivot has been incredible. No longer am I getting blank stares; instead, I'm met with curiosity and engaging conversation. Prospects want to talk to us, they want to grow their businesses, and they want to know how we can help them.
Last week I was walking my dog and bumped into a neighborhood acquaintance. "What do you do again?" he asked. I told him we were a Growth Agency and helped businesses grow faster, bigger, better. "Really?" he replied, "I've been looking to expand my business."
"Tell me more about that," I asked, another trick I learned from Dan. And just like that, I have another lead in the pipeline.