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Creating a Focused Inbound Agency Framework with Nate Riggs

Take Control of Your Business

For Nate Riggs, finding focus is key to life. He has a long background in marketing.

This led to a successful social media consulting firm at the height of the social media boom. It was through this experience that Nate discovered inbound.

He alreay saw the value that the methodlogy brought to clients. Discovering HubSpot helped him realize how the entire system can be tied together.

After reading Traction by Geno Wickmen, Nate reevaluated the way he did business. Nate heard about Traction from fellow inbound agency owners—the book teaches the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).

As entrepreneurs, it can be easy to loose traction. When we loose traction, our businesses take control. We find ourselves at they're mercy. Instead of building a real business, we discover that we've just built a job for ourselves. Often times several jobs.

The EOS helps you take control of your business. Finding focus is key to gaining control. 

Building an Agency Focus Around HubSpot 

Today NR Media Group only brings on new clients that will touch HubSpot. This focus allows them to narrow their scope of service. Cutting out the clutter means that Nate and the team can spend more time teaching. 

Nate has added two key aspects in his client acquisition strategy. Each of these elements make sure that they're working with a client that knows they need help. It also makes sure they're willing to change themselves as part of the solution. 

Using a HubSpot Adoption Scorecard to Grade Prospects

The first aspect of the process is a HubSpot Adoption Scorecard. With an agency focus on companies that are on or willing to use HubSpot, this is a way to get his foot in the door. There are a lot of businesses out there who are already on HubSpot. Most of these businesses aren't taking full advantage of the software.

The HubSpot Adoption Scorecard helps companies realize what they're missing. Nate and the team take the opportunity to take a look under the hood. They have a process for evaluating the level of adoption inside a HubSpot portal. After the review, they present their findings. This is a great opportunity to share a next-step partnership plan. The next step in the process is an Inbound Readiness Workshop.

From the beginning, the goal at NR Media Group is to empower companies to adopt inbound. This can be more complicated than selling an inbound retainer. Buy-in the is first step toward success. That is where workshops come into the picture. 

Leveraging the Power of In-Person Workshops to Gain Buy-In

Inbound Readiness Workshop are Nate's opportunity to get everyone around the table. With all the key decision makers in one room, Nate and the team can begin the process of building buy-in. This is a sink or swim experiment. 

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Important note about this first-step workshop—without the c-level in the room, the NR team isn't showing up.

It is mission-critical to have the leadership team in the room during the workshop. It's purpose is as much to scare away prospects the wrong prospects as it is to educate the good ones. Before moving forward to a next level engagement, they need to be willing to jump in with both hands and both feet. 

Clients are not expected to make it to inbound implementation alone. The NR Media Group guarantee is that within 24 months, you'll be independent in your inbound marketing. Nate wants to educate the team how to manage things themselves. 

Kicking Off Key Actions in the Inbound Synergy Process

Starting slow out of the gate can kill an inbound partnership.

The second phase in the client journey is the Inbound Synergy Process. This is a 60 day campaign focused on setting up the proper systems—fast. When you're kicking off a new inbound partnership, there are things that you can't miss.

If you want to start delivering results fast, it is important to lead with strategy. Buyer personas are a core element to a successful inbound strategy. It is hard to be successful with inbound when you don't know who you're targeting. Creating an inbound strategy and detailed buyer personas puts their clients on the fast-track. 

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Proper HubSpot setup is the next phase in this process. It is the only way to maximize the value of each visitor to the website and lead in the database. HubSpot is a powerful tool when you use it. With a repeatable process for configuring a new HubSpot portal, the NR team sets their clients on a solid foundation. 

Create Content Once the Framework is in Place

After the Inbound Synergy Process, it is time to start creating content.

Did you see what just happened? It isn't until the 90 day mark that they start creating content. With a repeatable framework in place, they're able to make sure that each client starts smart

Content is an important part of inbound. It is the core of inbound, and you can't do inbound without it. But you can't do inbound well by jumping into content too fast.

An agency framework (HubSpot Adoption Scorecard, Inbound Readiness Workshop,Inbound Synergy Process, and Inbound Content Creation) brings so much value to a client. When you come to the table with a process like this, you're guiding the journey. 

Roles vary during the Inbound Content Creation phase.

At the beginning, the NR team creates about 90% of the content. Over time, usually between the 6-9 month mark, things start to change. Content creation responsibilities begin to shift to the client team. The NR team transitions into a coaching role. In this role they can help facilitate the creation of content and keep the client team on target.

Using Process Documentation to Train New Team Members

An agency framework brings together a lot of moving parts into a repeatable process. A repeatable process requires documentation to run well. Creating these documented process doesn't only impact the client acquisition strategy. It impacts new talent acquisition, too. 

Nate is a part time professor at Ohio University. Each semester he teaches inbound to about 50 college students. This experience has helped him clarify the inbound message. The skills necessary to communicate inbound to college students transfer well to the c-suite. 

As part of his teaching role, Nate offers a JEDI Internship each year. This is the entry level position at NR Media Group. From there the structure looks like this:

  • Junior Consultant 
  • Consultant 
  • Senior Consultant

Training young talent isn't without risks. There is a large learning curve coming out of school. There is the time to master the inbound methodology. Perhaps more important are the people skills necessary to interact with clients.

Creating documented processes helps hire young talent and train them up through the ranks

inbound-agency-processes-documented

When it comes to documented processes, less is more.

There needs to be room for creativity. If a process gets too long it is never used. In real life, processes need to live where the work is being done. They need to be flexible enough to adapt case to case.

Nate recommends that a process never go longer than a one page Word document. 

Document Processes as You Go

When you're servicing inbound clients, you're going to encounter problems that you've not seen before. These challenges are actually hidden opportunities.

When you overcome a challenge for a client, document that process. Capture that magic. When you come to that issue again, you have the documented process.

This discipline makes you more profitable over time. The first time you encounter a problem it is going to take a lot of resources to find the solution. As you grow in experience, the number of documented solutions grows. When new client challenges come up, overcome them faster by leaning on pre-established processes. 

Tools Recommended by Nate:

Topics: Operations, GamePlans

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