3 Ways Agencies Need To Transform Before They Can Help Smart Clients

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Digitalization has never affected small businesses more than it has over the past two years. With the sudden need to move operations into homes, digital processes and automation have become an immediate priority.

The most successful businesses throughout the pandemic have done so by adapting to the new digital normal. In fact, 67% claim to already be ahead of their peers in digital capabilities before the crisis even started.

Image source: https://financesonline.com/digital-transformation-statistics/

While most of them may have skipped the first hurdles of operating in digital spaces with digital-first workflows, many are yet to find the best ways of optimizing these processes. This applies equally to agencies and consultants that help these businesses in various solution provider roles.

In fact, as many as 89% of organizations plan to adopt a digital-first business strategy. With this heavy reliance on digital transformation and technology, agencies partnering with SaaS providers should seize the opportunity to provide small businesses with critical information.

Let’s explore what agencies need to do to help smart clients optimize their businesses online and offline.

1. Become a digital expert yourself

Before your agency can consult small businesses about taking their next crucial steps, first, you need to get your house in order. This means doing everything possible to ensure online daily operations are streamlined, optimized, and automated.

It stands to reason that consulting agencies with a “Do as I say, not as I do” approach don’t instill the same confidence as those leading by example.

Consulting and marketing agencies can solidify their value proposition by becoming digital pros and demonstrating their expertise through social proof. This goes a long way to establishing credibility and positioning yourself as an industry authority.

When small businesses first go digital, this often involves moving stacks of documents onto apps that enable the company to create and store detailed customer records. This may also entail switching to an online payment system and adopting marketing methods. But, above all, going digital emphasizes the importance of automating these processes.

That said, digital adoption comes before digital transformation for many small businesses. As such, they’ll often look for assistance with picking and implementing the right tools across their organization.

Image source: https://foundryco.com/tools-for-marketers/executive-summary-digital-business/

Providing clients with the right technology solutions is about much more than earning affiliate commissions:

  • Agencies should look to set their clients up to work more efficiently.
  • Teaching the right SaaS delivers consulting value with software as a conduit.
  • Customers learn to work on their own using the right tools.

Case in point, business management solution provider vcita allows partner agencies to create versatile co-branded versions of the platform, so that agencies can customize the user experience and provide maximum value to their small business customers. In this manner, agencies can build education, setup and management services around the platform’s key capabilities, helping SMBs with:

  • CRM and lead management tools
  • Online scheduling, a calendar, and event registration management
  • A client portal
  • A dashboard to manage your marketing campaigns centrally
  • Online payments and invoicing

2. Choose a partner that’s with you all the way

Suppose your agency is selling white-labeled services or SaaS to small businesses. In that case, the best way to ensure you can offer professional consultation and advice is to maintain a dynamic relationship with your technology partners. 

As you go about forming these relationships, carefully consider which models you want to adopt when supplying customers with your service.

The “Done for You” Approach

As its name suggests, the product is set up by the provider to operate as needed. However, the product will still come with the templates and the final processes your customers need to succeed. The advantage to the done-for-you approach is that it’s immediately applicable, so your clients will save plenty of time. On the flip-side, most of the labor involved falls to the agency, as it takes the project out of the client’s hands near-on entirely.

Plus, customers learn less when their business management is completed for them. Smart clients understand they’ll be forced (at some point) to return to the source with this model to get updates and aid.

ClickFunnels founder Russel Brunson put this approach in the top of the funnel category for many services online, with the “Done with you” and “Do it yourself” approaches leading up to a premium offer.

The “Done with You” Approach

The done-with-you approach holds the customer’s hand while they tackle business management for themselves. As a consulting style, customers follow guidelines and teachings set by you to optimize their business processes. However, they can turn to your agency with questions when needed.

For many agencies, this model offers a happy medium, as it allows them to empower clients, educating and guiding them as needed, but it also encourages clients to learn new skills so they can eventually thrive on their own. 

If done well, “Done with you” also puts agencies in the best possible position to resell others’ platforms and also upsell additional services.

The “Do it Yourself” Approach

The “Do it yourself” approach is often the cheapest and the most low-effort path on the agency’s side. In short, your agency provides customers with the know-how to optimize their own business operations.

Many small businesses believe they can perform well with a “Do it yourself” model. However, they often require more hand-holding than they initially think and can’t always apply general teachings to their own circumstances.

That’s why a “Done with you” approach is often the most suitable solution. Here, clients are shown how to manage their businesses well rather than just hearing someone talk about tactics and skills. They can be set on the right path to learning how to implement these processes themselves.

3. Enable client self-service

Whether it’s brick and mortar retail or the digital realm of SaaS, digital self-help services are an incredibly popular means of providing customer support.

Over 70% of customers expect company websites to include self-service options – and consultancies are no exception. If your agency doesn’t showcase its ability to fulfill this need, how can you expect clients to trust you to help them?

Self-service support predominantly comes in the form of automated chatbots, online documentation, roadmap, handbooks, knowledge bases, and FAQs.

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Besides meeting your client’s expectations with up-to-date documentation, self-service tools can also help your agency in other ways. Customers will happily find their own answers, giving you the time to nurture other clients and focus on more complex customer queries.

Are you ready to transform your agency?

As more and more of your small business clients venture into digital territories, your agency itself must be an authority in the digital space. This is the only way to confidently lead them on their digital transformation journey with any credibility to your brand. Often, this involves transforming your own processes to reflect the optimization you want customers to achieve.

There are many apps and services that can help your agency master your own processes using a CRM, marketing automation, and online scheduling tools. The real question is, how soon can you incorporate all these tools and processes into your agency machinery and customer lifecycle?