How Small Agencies Can Climb to the TOP: Focus, Training, and Collaborative Journeys – The INBOUND Series

Pete Nicholls 3

Pete Nicholls, Director of HubDo, the only 100% wholesale-only Platinum HubSpot Partner, talks about his company’s purpose: to help smaller (1 to 5 employee), inbound (mostly B2B) agencies grow and to deliver client success. As a partner for HubSpot partners, HubDo has identified areas where small and start-up agencies typically have problems—marketing the agency, the sales process, service delivery, and growth issues, such as hiring staff and managing finances—and provides the tools, programs, services, and a collaborative “incubator” to nurture these agencies as they grow.

HubDo offers 1) Hubspot Certified Training, 2) HubDoClub, a community of SilverPeak graduates (explanation to follow), with access to a library of recorded MasterClasses and discounted PandaDoc (document automation) services, and 3) several HubDo Services. By “grouping” a lot of smaller clients, HubDo is able to offer services that HubSpot cannot scale at the individual, small agency level—full-time people working with small agencies one-on-one would be inefficient and prohibitively expensive.

Pete discusses why his company adopted the Hubspot platform: HubSpot’s completeness of vision regarding inbound marketing, its ability to execute, its dedication to R&D investment, and the quality of its software. HubSpot offers an integrated suite of CRM, Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub software, popular enough that third parties have built ancillary software around the HubSpot platform. Agencies may use the stripped-down, HubSpot-branded components for free for an unlimited amount of time. Beyond that, pricing is tiered, based on supported functions. Startups can apply for scholarships to accelerate their marketing and sales traction. HubDo works exclusively with HubSpot partners or those considering the HubSpot platform.

Pete presented “How to Grow Your Small Agency: Pro Tips from the Silver Peak Team” at HubSpot’s Inbound 2018. The biggest takeaway from this compilation of HubDo’s Silver Peak participant responses is that marketing agencies often fail to market themselves.

HubDo’s 9-month Silver Peak program provides a roadmap, instructor-led sales education, weekly coaching sessions, and collaborative group dynamics to empower small agencies to become HubSpot Silver partners . . . or even to go beyond that. To qualify as a “Silver” HubSpot partner, the first level of recognized accomplishment, an agency must sell services that generate as least $1,125 in monthly recurring revenues for licenses sold within the past year. The next Silver Peak team is scheduled to start its climb in April 2019. For more information about joining the “expedition,” see: https://www.hubdo.com/silverpeak

Pete observes that LinkedIn has proven to be a very effective B2B channel, and the number one channel for agencies. The marketing channel that works best all-around? The human channel.

Pete also talks about LinkedIn’s social selling index, which measures how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships—and provides tips on improving your score. LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index can be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi. Pete stresses the importance of focus by noting that, when an agency can recognize and say “no” to a “bad fit” client, the universe tends to bring them the right kind of clients.

Pete can be contacted on Twitter @hubdo, on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/penichol/. His company’s website is: https://www.hubdo.com/

ROB: Welcome to the Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m your host, Rob Kischuk. I am live at HubSpot’s Inbound Conference, and I am joined right now by Pete Nicholls. He’s the Director of HubDo. He’s based in the UK. Welcome. Glad to have you here.

 

PETE: Thank you, Rob. Delighted to be here.

 

ROB: It’s fantastic. Why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about HubDo and what HubDo is great at?

 

PETE: HubDo is a HubSpot Platinum Partner, but we don’t quite fit the normal mold because we are the partner for partners. We focus on helping to build agencies. I work with marketing consultants who want to grow, but they’re frustrated, daunted, and overwhelmed by what it takes to build an inbound agency. We help with that.

 

ROB: What are the different levels where agencies get stuck on their way up?

 

PETE: That’s a really interesting question. That’s actually like the question, “Tell me where parents get stuck when they raise kids.” You keep getting stuck, Robert. [laughs] It just keeps coming. But the challenges change, and it becomes more rewarding.

 

But there are some classic areas where agencies do generally get stuck, and it falls into the areas that map really nicely into the way HubSpot’s Academy Program and Channel Agency Training Programs fit, which is the marketing of your agency, the sales process, the delivery of services, and then the overall growth of your agency – which is really the growth of a business, like hiring staff and finance and all of those things.

 

You can get stuck in any one of those, but that’s generally where they fall into.

 

ROB: Are there any particular sizes, staff-wise or revenue-wise, where you see agencies commonly get stuck?

 

PETE: We see it up to a certain level, because we’re focused on the smaller agencies. They are businesses that are between one and five staff, normally. As they grow beyond five staff and up, that’s not the area that we focus on. We do hand off to others who we know are well placed to help agencies go on to 10, 15, 20 staff and up.

 

But we’re in that “get the journey underway” mode of focusing on the smaller agencies. How do they get started? They normally fall into one of two categories.

 

They’re an existing successful business, like in content production, maybe content writers or video production agencies, and their customers now, instead of just paying those bills for those services, want to see the ROI on those services. So, you have a business that becomes an inbound agency because they want to show the ROI of what they do.

 

Or you have those who just want to build an agency. They want to build a business. They maybe come from a corporate background, and they’ve said, “I want to build my own business.”

 

Although those might sound like very different scenarios, the journey of getting started on building out the inbound agency part is pretty similar holes that they fall into.

 

ROB: To a large extent, you have bet your business on the HubSpot ecosystem, right?

 

PETE: I have, yeah, that’s true. We’ve aligned very closely to HubSpot. We didn’t on Day 1. Like any business, you have a strategy, you have an overall plan, and you fail fast and pivot. Sometimes it’s hard to fail fast when you’ve got leases on premises. Like we opened an office and a year later we closed that office. It was based in Queensland in Australia. It was right to do at the time.

 

But in 2015, that’s when we really took a strategic decision to say we need to align closely around not just a company, but a vision. What HubSpot represented, after looking at a lot of the different alternatives – if you look at the Gartner Magic Quadrant, it maps into completeness of vision and ability to execute. I saw HubSpot had a completeness of vision of inbound and the ability to execute. They’re putting the money into R&D and producing fantastic software.

 

It’s kind of a barnacle strategy. Attach yourself to something large that is rising and focus on just trying to add value as much as you can in that space.

 

ROB: I’ve had some guests who are very diversified in what they do, and they would say “don’t hang your hat as an agency on HubSpot” – or pick a platform. I’ve seen it with MomentFeed, I’ve seen it with Yext, I’ve seen it with a lot of things, and there are others who are very closely aligned. Can you over-align your agency to a platform like HubSpot?

 

PETE: I think it’s pretty hard to over-align. That’s a really good point. I see HubSpot as being not a standalone product in the way that – because we considered Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, did a lot with MailChimp. There’s a lot of different products; look at Scott Brinker’s MarTech landscape of the thousands of vendors that are in that space.

 

What stood out for me, and ended up standing out for Scott Brinker – I’m a bit of a fanboy of Scott, followed him for years – he has become the VP of Platforms for HubSpot.

 

HubSpot is a platform. I think the 400+ vendors that are integrating their products with HubSpot means that we’re not so much aligned with HubSpot as a standalone island. It’s the platform of PandaDoc and Aircall and each of these other vendors. So, we are aligned with them, but we’re aligned with them because they integrate with HubSpot as a platform.

 

ROB: Do you still see, even in the small agencies, are they still dabbling in other things at the behest of clients? Are they doing other automation? Like, this client just wants to be a little bit cheap and use MailChimp. How do you see that play out? Not to call MailChimp cheap, but it can be.

 

PETE: It can be, yeah. It is what it is. It’s a great product for the niche that it fits into. Any one of these items can be quite a tactical play. I like the fact that with HubSpot, generally, it requires a strategy. The agencies that want inbound and see the change that’s happening in the way that consumers like to research and buy, get where they need to take their customers and they know that any one piece of tactical software isn’t the answer anyway.

 

Where you’ve got customers who can’t quite get their head around the strategy of the whole thing, some agencies will cater to that. We’ve learned to say no to supporting those agencies. We just can’t help them a whole lot.

 

ROB: One thing that was interesting to me, being a little bit outside the ecosystem, was – at least my perception is a lot of the Partner Program is predicated on this idea that you’re essentially selling HubSpot through to your clients. Is that right, basically?

 

PETE: The client still has the direct relationship with HubSpot. The customer never buys HubSpot software from the agency. When a customer is signing up and buying the software, it’s a HubSpot contract. It’s direct from the customer to HubSpot. HubSpot has a direct sales team, and they’ll actively work those client opportunities and sell.

 

So, to add value in the ecosystem as a partner, it’s not a resell model that you’re taking HubSpot software and reselling it.

 

ROB: It’s like a referral with a kickback, essentially?

 

PETE: Yeah. It’s probably closer to an affiliate model, but a really well-regulated affiliate model, because you can’t just walk in – there’s an investment in learning and money and time to meet the bar to become a HubSpot partner, and you have to commit for at least a year and then make it go. The quality therefore is higher.

 

That’s part of the reason we aligned. Before we chose HubSpot, it was a bit like herding cats. It was. In fact, we thought we were going to fail. If we stayed on that strategy, we would have failed. The agencies were so diverse, all the platforms were so diverse. By aligning around a product and a methodology, we knew how we could help each one. HubSpot’s been a good choice.

 

ROB: You mentioned some of those learning stages early on. Right before that, what led to striking out and starting this business in the first place? What were you doing before? Talk about that transition.

 

PETE: It’s morphed a lot. I have a corporate background. I worked for a fantastic company called Cisco. That’s Cisco with a ‘C,’ so not the delivery, but the networking giant. [laughs]

 

ROB: And not the musician. [laughs]

 

PETE: [I worked there] through a major stage of its growth, which was a fantastic ride. But through that time, I got involved with a lot of business owners and felt a real affinity with wanting to help business owners to navigate change.

 

When I was at Cisco, it was navigating the transition of IT because cloud wasn’t a thing when I started, and it certainly was a thing when I finished. I saw a great transition coming through customer behavior, and inbound as one of the solutions to that. I felt really drawn to wanting to help business owners of good businesses, businesses that add value.

 

So coming out of Cisco, that’s the aim. But it didn’t look anything like HubDo does today. We went into software development of mobile apps. I’d been drinking the tech Kool-Aid for too long; I actually developed an app. I showed it to business owners and they said, “That’s fantastic. What the hell is it? How would I use that in my business?” It was just a step too far.

 

So, we had to figure out, what is the problem that businesses have? How do we solve that? It came down to grassroots of: “I need more leads, I need more clients. The way I used to do my marketing isn’t working anymore. Can you fix that?” So, we’ve pivoted around that, and that’s been going since 2011. It’s been a 7-year ride. It’s only the last 3 of those years we’ve been with HubSpot.

 

ROB: Interesting. With this perspective that you have across so many agencies – HubSpot, pun not intended but perhaps entirely intentional by the company, is a hub amongst other marketing channels. Many other marketing channels will drive traffic into a site that is using marketing automation. Many other channels will drive leads into that.

 

With these embryonic agencies, what are the channels you’re seeing that are most effective and manageable for them? Because at scale you can do everything, but when you’re, like you said, one to five people, you can’t do everything. What’s the most effective?

 

PETE: There’s a variation in the agencies whether they’re B-to-B or B-to-C. Predominantly, it just happens that the agencies we look after tend to be B-to-B. Therefore, it’s very relationship-oriented.

 

For the agencies themselves, what’s proven to be the number one channel is LinkedIn. Although LinkedIn isn’t a platform that they’re-selling, it runs through the nature of how they operate and how they find their clients, how they solve for their customer. The industries that they look after are wide and diverse.

 

What I’d say has been most effective, though, is to keep it human. As soon as you start looking at it as a numbers game and we just need to get leads in and automate these leads and so forth, that sort of smacks of the call center, “Make a thousand calls a day, get one sale.”

 

That I think fortunately is starting to go away. GDPR in Europe has put the hammers on doing a lot of things that we shouldn’t do. So, the human element as a channel, if that makes sense. The channel that works best is the human channel.

 

ROB: Right. Getting down into the meat of that for a moment, it sounds like – I can picture some different LinkedIn strategies. You can buy some ads, you can run some organic content, you can have people reaching out to people and building connections and individually posting content. What’s working? Or is it more the latter, or is it another twist on this channel?

 

PETE: I don’t know why LinkedIn doesn’t make it easier to find, but LinkedIn has a measure called the Social Selling Index, or the SSI. If you go to I think linkedin.com/sales/ssi or if you google “Social Selling Index,” LinkedIn will tell you your score out of 100 on your Social Selling Index.

 

There’s four different criteria that they measure you on. If you click on any one of those criteria, you get a mini presentation from LinkedIn about what that aspect is. If you manage to improve on all four of those, you’re following a formula that LinkedIn knows statistically, just by the large numbers, that it works.

 

The strategy that works is establishing a human connection but being very focused in the way that you do that. You’ve decided as an agency what a good fit client looks like, what a bad fit client looks like. Sometimes it takes a long period before an agency gets to the stage where they’ll say “no,” and it limits their success until they say “no.”

 

What I mean by that is when an agency is prepared to say “no” to a client who wants to work with them, it means they’ve finally crossed the threshold of  “focus.” Once they start doing that, then the universe tends to bring them the types of clients that they’re looking for on LinkedIn.

 

So using your Social Selling Index around the focused client – it’s person by person to start with, but that tends to gain a momentum as more people start to talk about you, share, and you’ve built an ecosystem around your business.

 

ROB: Plausibly, the people I see a ton in my LinkedIn feed repeatedly are people who are doing this well?

 

PETE: Yes. The algorithms change, but yeah. In a nutshell, LinkedIn is showing you the things that it thinks are most relevant for you. So, the folks that are publishing thought leadership, statistics, they’re engaging, they’re commenting, they’re liking, they’re sharing, they’ll be quite visible over the ones who aren’t active. Maybe they’re publishing blogs on that part of LinkedIn that supports that. That’s what you’d likely be seeing: active people in the areas that you show interest.

 

ROB: I think that’s really insightful. LinkedIn, any newsfeed, has algorithms. It’s sort of like SEO or any other algorithmic feed, except they’re telling you how to win. But they’re telling you how to win by being authentic, which is also how Google really works as well.

 

Google works similarly. Over time, they’ve moved towards more and more authenticity as the measure, but they still have to use the algorithm and people still try to game it. But more and more, you just have to be authentic.

 

PETE: Absolutely. SEO is a really nice correlation to LinkedIn. If you want to be visible in the LinkedIn feed—in front of the people that are your ideal client, the people that you really want to help—then the quality of your work on LinkedIn to be visible does map nicely to what happens on Google if you want to be visible there.

 

There’s certain things you need to do in order to rank using SEO, but from the LinkedIn side, it’s more human than technical. Google is quite a technical solution around SEO. You get a lot of technical things right, and then you improve your content and you focus on the topic that you want to be seen for. In LinkedIn, Social Selling Index is about getting involved. This is something that you can outsource, but I haven’t seen any outsourcing of that works very well.

 

ROB: Right. It’s sort of like the outsource lead generation services who all send me really terrible emails and then ask me if I want to trust them with our own brand and our own audience. I really have a hard time trusting them with that when I don’t like the email I just got.

 

PETE: Yeah. Or the people who reach out to you on LinkedIn and they send you a connect request, but no message to say, “Hey Rob, I’d like to connect with you. I’ve been listening to your podcast.” None of that, they just connect with you. You think, “Okay, give them the benefit of the doubt. I’ll accept the connection.” And bam, you get a message back to say, “Hey, I want to sell you this thing.”

 

ROB: So, this is not good for your Social Selling Index.

 

PETE: [laughs] That’s a good way to burn down your Social Selling Index.

 

ROB: One thing that I think someone who’s not in the HubSpot ecosystem might not know is the different levels, and then what these things mean. You have some Gold and some Platinum and some Diamond. If you look at it simply, I think what I saw is that Diamond is something like $10,000 in recurring contracts?

 

PETE: That’s correct.

 

ROB: That may not sound to someone outside like very much, but I get the sense that seeing that number is really the tip of the iceberg for that business. $10,000 a month doesn’t sound like much of a business, but an agency that has achieved Diamond – what does that agency look like?

 

PETE: This is where to get to that level, it’s probably not the only thing you’re doing. It would be an important part of what you’re achieving. If you’re an inbound agency and you’re doing it really well, you’ve got to get a lot of things right. Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond is an indicator that you’re probably doing a lot of things right – particularly if you can get to that level and then sustain it.

 

HubSpot is a software company, so it’s selling software licenses like Salesforce.com or anyone. There’s recurring revenue. HubSpot can measure a partner based on how much HubSpot software has been attributed to them as a partner. The monthly recurring revenue, $10,000 USD per month may not sound like a lot, but actually that buys quite a bit of license activity.

 

You only get to measure that for the first year. A year later, you’re back to zero.

 

ROB: Oh, so you’ve got to be adding $10,000 a year in new licenses, then?

 

PETE: It’s a sliding window. At any one time, you need to have $10,000 worth of monthly recurring revenue for licenses that have been sold within the last year. Projecting when certain licenses will be over a year old, you’ve got to keep topping up the tank.

 

There’s two main measures. There’s monthly recurring revenue of sold, but there’s also managed recurring revenue. For Diamond, that’s $50,000 minimum managed recurring revenue. So you’ve got to be doing five times as much in terms of the number of clients that you’re actively managing and supporting.

 

ROB: Right. To get there and stay there, you would sell $10,000 a year for 5 years and keep it all – which also isn’t going to happen. [laughs]

 

PETE: Therein lies the nature of the challenge and why you’ve got to take your hat off to any partner who has gotten to those tiers and sustained it.

 

ROB: Very, very interesting. How big is a Platinum agency, typically?

 

PETE: That’s a really good question, because HubDo is Platinum, and we have 12 full-time staff. But it depends on your business model as to what it indicates. I think you could easily find Platinum agencies of 30 staff or 40 staff, depending what else you’re doing. We focus very specifically on HubSpot.

 

Because we’re a wholesale agency for agencies, it means that we are helping other agencies with their clients, too. A little bit different. So, we don’t need a super large team, but I think unlike HubDo, your classic agency that has gone Platinum to Diamond is going to be in the 15 to 40 staff bracket.

 

ROB: Very interesting. Being a wholesaler of software sounds like a bit of an old and new concept. Is that something that was offered to you out of the box, or did you have to navigate your way to telling HubSpot that you wanted to wholesale their software?

 

PETE: It’s a wholesale model in the sense that we support agencies who then support end clients, but we don’t resell the HubSpot software in a wholesale manner. The client always buys their software directly from HubSpot. We act in a wholesale way to help the agencies succeed.

 

As far as asking HubSpot, “Can we do that?”, HubSpot are still learning to understand where HubDo fits. The correlation of the role that we play, you’re absolutely on the money when you say this is the old and new.

 

My old background (where the gray hair comes from) is from being in the IT vendor space because I was with Cisco. Cisco is a technology vendor with IBM, Hewlett-Packard, EMC, NetApp, the whole ecosystem where two-tier distribution is the way you do business.

 

You have certain larger partners that you work with. If you’re the vendor, you have partners from a large telco, like Telstra in Australia or AT&T, through to enterprise size partners. They’re big enough to warrant having direct contracts and relationships and to support them.

 

Then you have thousands of smart people that have a role to play in the consultancy space. Now, in that vendor realm, you handle that through two-tier distribution because there happens to be some hardware involved here as well. So, you’ve got to have warehouses that ships tons of stuff.

 

But in the SaaS space where HubSpot are, you don’t need warehouses. It’s less obvious that you need a two-tier model. But in fact, the reason that you need a different way of handling many smaller agencies is to be able to do that programmatically at scale. The things that you need to do for hundreds of smaller agencies, you just can’t allocate full-time people to do that one-on-one. You’ve got to do it as groups.

 

ROB: There are services you offer that HubSpot could not reasonably justify offering at scale.

 

PETE: Yeah, it’s very difficult to do as the vendor. I mean, you can do it, but as a public company it’s not economically viable, necessarily, to do that.

 

Plus, there’s an ecosystem play. We spend a lot of time with PandaDoc and with Aircall and with each of these other vendors so we can equally give them all the air time. We don’t have staff that bleed orange. We look after the other pieces that make up the full solution, and there’s a role for that.

 

ROB: This week you gave a talk on “How to Grow Your Small Agency.” What are some things you shared in there that we haven’t talked about, that someone who wants to grow their small agency should be thinking about?

 

PETE: We touched on some of the challenges early on of where agencies get stuck. The talk that I gave yesterday, which was at HubSpot’s Partner Day – prior to Inbound, there’s a day completely dedicated to partners – it was run for the first time in 2017, so this year was the second time round. I presented on a program that we’ve spent the last year running, which is called Silver Peak.

 

Silver Peak just came about in that the first tier of HubSpot is Silver, so it was a nice name to say that’s the goal, and we have a challenge to overcome stage by stage. I’m a bit of an analogy guy, so the mountain climbing analogy of let’s looking at your marketing, let’s look at the sales, let’s look at how to sell value, let’s look at delivery of services, each of those.

 

That came up as an idea in October 2017; 50 agencies came on the journey with us for this first Silver Peak Team. I delivered back the key learnings from that on Partner Day. The title of the session was “How to Grow Your Small Agency: Pro Tips from the Silver Peak Team.”

 

So these are not my tips. These are the tips from spending around 40+ hours going back and interviewing all of these agencies one-on-one around their key learnings, and if they could talk to themselves a year before, what would they say to themselves? And then turned that into a presentation. So that’s what yesterday was about. We stepped through the key learnings.

 

ROB: What stood out to you? What did people tweet out from that presentation, or what were some of the standout thoughts from them that flow off the top of your head very easily?

 

PETE: I think the standout is this term “cobbler’s children.” I asked the audience, “Put your hand up if you’ve heard this term.” Not a lot of hands went up.

 

ROB: How many people know what a cobbler is? Maybe not so much. [laughs]

 

PETE: True. They make shoes. This term “cobbler’s children,” what I’m referring to is – you can google “cobbler’s children syndrome.” The cobbler’s children are the last ones shod. If you’re a shoemaker, you’re making everybody else’s fantastic shoes, but you and your children are barefoot.

 

It’s a syndrome. I think you see it in all industries. In the case of marketing, they’re marketers, but their own marketing isn’t something that they necessarily want to show other people. I’ve seen inside enough HubSpot portals to see that many agencies, their own marketing is tumbleweeds.

 

It’s just a human nature thing. That’s what has stood out. Not only has it stood out that it’s definitely a problem syndrome, it also stood out that the agencies who solved it during this Silver Peak 9-month climb are the ones who made the most progress on growing their agency – and the ones who didn’t struggled.

 

ROB: Interesting. You do see certainly there are the web design WordPress agencies who will tell you, “We’ve been working on our new website for 6 months.” I think probably very clearly in this building, there are many inbound marketing agencies who are not inbound marketing themselves. You understand how it’s hard to allocate the resources, but – I don’t intend to fawn over HubSpot here, but they seem to live some of their values down to a very fractal level. There’s a very big picture, and then each layer you go down . . .

 

Even where we’re talking right now, I was talking to someone I knew over at Terminus. You may know them. They’re here exhibiting. I said, “Where should I set up this podcast?” He said, “Email HubSpot.” I said, “I don’t know if they’ll be very fond of that but let me try it.” They said, “Look, here’s a place where you can do it. Don’t block the hallway. Just don’t be a jerk, and we’re happy to let things flourish.”

 

Within that is a dimension of an inbound marketing experience with them. That’s part of my experience with them.

 

PETE: That’s not an uncommon experience. I think inbound attracts a certain type of people. I enjoy working with the agencies who love doing inbound because they’re great people to work with. It’s a very honest, open way to operate.

 

Even the staff that HubSpot hire, they each have their own businesses. It’s one of the things that you do. It’s my understanding that you have a HubSpot license as an employee, and you can use that to develop your business.

 

I’ve become good friends with Justin Champion, who is the pillar page Professor of the Academy, and he lives nomadically. He travels around the U.S., he visits towns and he does these presentations. He just has his life completely open, and he has his own blog and pillar page writing about how to live nomadically. HubSpot encourages that. You see that with everyone.

 

ROB: I have to ask, with this Silver Peak program, you’ve done it once?

 

PETE: There’s two teams. The first team of 34 agencies started in October 2017, and then another smaller team of another 16 came onboard in early 2018. The first team have just finished their 9-month climb of everything that we laid out as a program, and the second team are halfway through.

 

ROB: Is there a third group coming soon that people should be expressing their interest in, and how would they do that?

 

PETE: There is, actually. We’ve decided this should happen again. We need to adapt the program because HubSpot adapt their software structure, and some of the agencies that come onto the program are not yet HubSpot partners.

 

This allows them to decide, is it for me? If I’m a small agency, before I commit the 12-month license on all of this – if I’m just not sure or I don’t have the cash flow for it yet and I come onboard – Silver Peak 3 will have a mix of existing agencies and people considering becoming agencies.

 

It kicks off – we’re just going to run a discovery call first on the 19th of September for folks to come and hear what this is about, ask a ton of questions, decide if it’s for them. It’s a big commitment to come into something for 9 months. So, we’ll do that first and see how many want to join.

 

ROB: So, if folks look for HubDo or Silver Peak, they’ll find this? Or where should they go?

 

PETE: Yeah, if you google “HubDo and Silver Peak” or “the Silver Peak challenge,” that leads you through to a landing page where there’s a form, of course. Anyone who fills out that form gets an invite to the call we’ll run as a discovery call, just to throw it open for discussion.

 

ROB: That’s exciting. You might have two more classes’ worth of results to share next year.

 

PETE: I’m sure we will, because we’re going to run Silver Peak 4 in April. So, if we’re sitting here at Inbound in 2019, by then we’re probably talking around 120 agencies’ worth of experience. It’s like, if you talk to 120 different parents, what challenges have they had raising children, you just learn more and more stuff.

 

ROB: [laughs] They’re each their own special child and with their own personality, right?

 

PETE: Yeah. It’s like with their businesses. They love them, but some days they just want to sell them. Yeah, it’s a good mix.

 

ROB: Very exciting. Thank you for sharing today, Pete. I think we’ve covered a lot of good territory, and there’s a lot to learn here. Thanks for talking about how we overcome this first hump and a lot about this ecosystem that I think some folks might not understand.

 

PETE: I think growing together – because you mentioned ecosystem – partners can learn a lot from each other. Best not to do this in a bubble. Talk to other partners, learn from each other. Inbound, if you’re working with other inbound agencies, they all want to do the right thing. This event is a testimony to that.

 

ROB: Fantastic. Thank you, Pete.

 

PETE: Thanks, Rob.

 

ROB: Take care.

 

PETE: I appreciate it. Cheers.

 

ROB: Thank you for listening. The Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast is presented by Converge. Converge helps digital marketing agencies and brands automate their reporting so they can be more profitable, accurate, and responsive. To learn more about how Converge can automate your marketing reporting, email info@convergehq.com, or visit us on the web at convergehq.com

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