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Get Paid for What You Know, Not Simply What You Can Do

Andrew Dymski
Andrew Dymski I'm a Founder at ZenPilot where I help marketing agencies buy back time by developing the processes and systems they need to scale without reinventing the wheel for every client. I'm co-host of the Agency Journey podcast where each week we interview an agency owner, consultant, or author.

The traditional broken agency business model says that you should be paid for what you do for clients.

Trading time for money is no way to deliver value. 

When you package your expertise into the solution to your ideal-fit client’s costly problem, then you’ve changed the game.

Now you’re valued for what you know — your expertise. This unlocks a host of benefits, and we’ll unpack three of these benefits in this post.

Your Clients Receive More Value

You’d never expect the patient to sit up on the table and give instructions to the surgeon on where to cut and what to remove.

It isn’t the surgeon’s ability to complete all the technical maneuvers necessary that makes them valuable. A surgical physician’s assistant can do most of those things.

What sets the surgeon apart is their training, specialty, track record, and expertise to lead the procedure.

As a patient, you want to work with a surgeon that has completed thousands of the procedures in question.

Their expertise and experience are a reassurance to you that you’re in good hands. As their patient, you’ll be the beneficiary of the surgeon’s past lessons learned.

The same is true when it comes to client services.

So many companies are bleeding out on the table because they’re facing an issue with their marketing, sales, and service model.

They desperately need an experienced surgeon who has worked with dozens of other companies that look just like them to come and take control of the situation.

Instead, many agencies look to the client for the list of requests. They allow the patient to direct the surgeon.

As a result, the patient bleeds out, and the surgeon gets fired.

As a surgeon picks a specialty in medical school, you must choose to serve one ideal-fit client.

And as the surgeon continues to perform research and improve the pre-surgical, surgical, and post-surgical processes, you must commit to building and improving the solution to your client’s costly problem.

In this place of focus, your clients receive the maximum value of your past experiences and expertise.

Your Team Unlocks More Leverage

The traditional agency model is broken.

At scale, it is a series of spinning plates. The agency team is responsible for making sure none of those plates stop spinning and come crashing down.

This is exhausting work. It is also emotionally taxing.

In this broken model, the loudest client receives the most attention.

And the more time your team spends with these people, the less energy they have to help other clients.

The Agency Freedom Model flips this around.

When you’re paid for what you know instead of what you can do, you can get creative about how you package your knowledge.

This is called leverage.

Let’s say you offer sales implementation as a service.

When you sign a new account, your account manager goes on-site and teaches each client how to implement a CRM and run consultative sales calls.

Each client looks a little different, so they need to customize the configuration to meet the client’s specifications. Then they leave, and the team goes back to the old way of going things.

Let’s Take Sales Training as an Example

This account manager can only serve one client at a time. The hours in a day limit the number of clients this manager can service. So if you grow under this model, you need to take on more risk and hire more account managers.

But what if you used tools and training to bring more leverage to the situation?

Instead of going on-site and customizing everything, the account manager creates the CRM structure that is best deployed for the agency’s ideal-fit client. Then they create a series of training videos, certification quizzes, and process sheets.

The sales team members can complete the training on their time.

And instead of going on-site to answer questions, they host a weekly open Q&A. Every salesperson can join the call to get their question answered. They can also listen and learn from other people in a similar situation and implement the same system.

Now this one account manager can service an almost unlimited number of clients. They have taken their knowledge and leveraged it using tools and training. 

As a result, they’re less stressed. The clients are more empowered and take more ownership over their work.

When you serve one ideal-fit client by giving them the solution to their costly problem, you will have done your team the greatest favor of all.

This focus will unlock leverage opportunities across the entire customer lifecycle. In addition, this will increase their capacity so they can serve more clients.

That allows the agency to grow revenue without hiring more team members. As a result, clients actually receive more value than before while the agency profit margins continue to grow. That is a win-win-win scenario.

You Achieve Greater Impact

Agency owners are some of the most gracious and kindhearted people out there. They sincerely want to deeply impact their client’s businesses and create a thriving culture that their team can call home.

But the natural limits of the broken agency business model hold them back.

Instead of the freedom to invest in their team and guide their clients, they’re sucked back into delivery to put out client fires and talk frustrated team members off of the ledge.

There is a better way.

You can deeply serve clients and create a great place to work for your team when you’re paid for what you know. This is deeply satisfying for agency owners.

It gives you the freedom to have the impact you’ve always wanted.

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