As the digital marketing industry develops further, the skills needed to stay on the Top are constantly changing. This has not only been proven by Amaze Growth’s findings, but also by the Forrester Study from 2020.
We have developed our online Consulting Skills course precisely for the Growth Needs of marketing agencies in 2021. Therefore, our last webinar was dedicated to the application of the Consulting Skills and in particular on the development and implementation of a strategy.
In this article we provide you our findings and the SOSTAC Framework, that we tailored to the needs of Digital Marketing Agencies.
Consulting as a service
We found out that from the 300+ agencies, which we accompany on a frequent basis only 10% of consulting services are monetized. The top 3 services that our agencies want to provide are Digital Marketing Strategy,International Expansion and Data & Analytics Services.
Why are only 10% monetized?
Most agencies in Germany have a monthly subscription as a contractual basis with their clients.
The agencies that use the Retainer model get a monthly payment, based on different KPI’s. All the services provided in the month are included in the initially negotiated subscription and there is no playing field for additional consulting services.
For the agencies that work with the Project based model it is much easier to monetize consulting services as they can sell e.g. Digital Marketing strategy as a separate project to the same client.
The Rate Card model is still not very popular in Germany. This model is similar to the Retainer model, but there are frequent adjustments to the negotiated services and prices.
How to tackle this problem if you use the Retainer model?
Definition is the key. What is the scope of the services that we offer, and what is outside it? It sounds simple and self-explanatory, nevertheless it is still hard to achieve. The constant changes and technical improvements in the industry creates a mismatch between the client’s and the agency’s expectations.
Agencies must be careful not to charge double for their services, but also not to undersell their efforts.
After setting the scope of the project the next biggest challenge is the implementation and adjusting the clients’ expectations.
The place to monetize your consulting services is in the first phase of a project. The development of concept strategy is very important but often undervalued work. It has high workload, but on the other hand the outcome of the implementation is highly uncertain. Already there, agencies can create a value case for their work and charge for it.
In the implementation phase, the strategic work load is less, however the results are mostly certain. Normally, the services provided here are part of the retainer.
The same goes for the support phase. The workload is foreseeable and is already calculated in the subscription plan.
How does Accenture do it?
There are two things that not only Accenture but also other consulting companies do:
1. They constantly train and observe the development of their employees.
2. They use standardized tools to scale the learning curve, but also to enable their employees to apply the learned knowledge easier.
Using this method Accenture has almost doubled their revenue in the past 10 years. Therefore, we have developed our Consulting Skills course on demand, that you can easily book for your agency. You can learn more about it here.
We have also tailored the well-known SOSTAC framework for the needs of digital marketing agencies.
Application: Development of a digital marketing strategy
The SOSTAC Framework is a very good baseline that you can further develop for your needs like Brand Building and Data Driven Marketing. Digital Marketing Strategy is all about: How you develop your customers, Where do they want to go and how do they get there. There are often different stakeholders involved, therefore it is important to know who is on the driving seat. For this we recommend the SOSTAC framework, which puts you in the leading position.
What makes a successful consultant?
Asking the right questions is a skill absolutely essential for every consultant. There, consultants often rely on frameworks such a SOSTAC that structure their approach, make it easier to visualize and deliver better results later on.
1.Where are we now?
2. Where do we want to be?
3. How do we get there?
4. What do we need to get there?
5. What are our priorities?
6. How do we control the outcome?
We have systemized all these questions on one page that you can adapt to your current client.
This page gives you a good overview of all the information and makes it presentable for meetings and easy to discuss.
If you are interested in our Tool as well as in a video where we guide you through it then feel free to contact us.
How do you sell the Digital Marketing Strategy?
Simple plan on how to implement the digital marketing strategy with a customer is to plan your time questioning, development of hypothesis, calculation of value case and of course presentation. In this way you also present to your customer the service you want to bill them for. And last but not least account for your time.
Implementation of consulting as a service
How can you bring this to your agency?
1. Find a group of people that want to become consultants. They are dedicated to this topic and are not necessary responsible for the implementation. This group of people should become your Growth Consultants and our online course would be the perfect way to achieve this.
2. Start with one service. You can also use our Customer Segmentation tool for this step. Evaluate which of your clients needs which consulting service and where can we actually achieve the upsell and monetize it.
3. Create the toolbox and the pricing. Our framework is a perfect baseline, but it is still very important to tailor it to your specific needs. Apart from the SOSTAC framework it would be very useful to have a play book. Don’t forget to discuss the pricing!
4. Test it in your sales and lead generation process. That way you can find the best way to scale it.