How To Navigate Your Agency Through Challenging Times

We are living in creative times, in the video below, I'll give you clear actionable steps that you can do as an agency today that's within your control.

You likely have a lot of what-if questions as we go through this transition of change.

What if . . . you get the call from a client that they are going to bring marketing in-house?

What if . . . your client halves their budget or cancels with you?

What if . . . your team cannot transition to working from home?

At the end of this video, you will be able to plan for the next three phases ahead.

  • Adjusting - Work on a plan for what is within your control
  • Pivoting - How to prepare & adapt for what-if situations.
  • Building - How can you strengthen your agency for the future.

[Final] How to Navigate your Digital Agency through Challenging Times


Get link to the checklist mentioned in the video below. 👇

If you don't feel like taking notes while watching the video, here's what was mentioned:


Phase #1 : Adjust what is within our control.

So at this first phase, something has happened in your agency, either by internal or external factors and you now have to adjust. 

Create a timeline

It’s important to create your own timeline on how to deal with what’s happening, so that employees have certainty on what your plan is and how you choose to deal with it. As an example, if entire your team has now started to work from home, give them a time frame on how long this will be. It doesn’t need to be set in stone, but it'll help people settle in quicker and help build a routine. 

Cashflow & forecasting

Meet with your accountant and go over your cash flow to see if you have enough to meet the expenses of the business. And for forecasting, sit with your sales team and go over the what’s in the pipeline and what is realistic and actually going to come in as new business. 

Speak with your bank & landlord

Chat to your bank and landlord about your available options. Look at things like payment terms — do you pay rent per quarter? Ask if they’d be open to helping you with different payment arrangements. 

Call all of your clients

Speak to every single one of your clients — from one business owner to another — on a very human and compassionate level. Find out how they are and what they need.

They've probably gone into working from home quite quickly and they might not have been prepared for it. So there might be simple things you can offer to help them with, like setting up slack or zoom.

Setup a weekly check in and see how they’re getting on. Maybe even set up a mastermind group for a collection of your clients (everyone from the CEO to Marketing Directors to join) and get them to share knowledge to help each other navigate through these tough times together.

Conduct a Software and expense audit

Review your tech stack — all of the software expenses that you use in your agency can add up. Call your software providers and check if they can offer any discounts or assistance and for tech that you no longer use, cancel or pause those subscriptions. 

Look at your team

So after you’ve reviewed your cash flow and forecast you'll now need to review the members on your team and probably have to make some tough decisions. Not too quickly and not too slowly. This is where you could start looking at going into a 3 day or 4 day week as an example. If you do have to make the tough decision by letting them go, there are new opportunities out there for them. Have this chat with them to see how you can support them, there are freelance marketplaces like On The Bench where they can register their skills and find gig-based projects.


Phase #2: Pivot

Prepare and adapt for "what if" situations. 

Create new services

Think about what new services can you create as an agency to fill up your pipeline? Can you do virtual workshops, virtual training, lunch and learn sessions with clients? 

Video Sales Enablement - customers are going to have sales teams who haven’t yet learnt how to use sales tools like Vidyard - now’s the time for them to get stuck in. Offer these customers CRM training and sales enablement training that get’s their team ready for a new way of selling. 

“How To” training courses - Ask clients what they need help with, it could be “how to do webinars, how to setup and run Facebook Live events”  - get your account management team to create online training material and put this onto a online training/ learning academy and then promote consulting services off the back of this. Get your AM's to start thinking like business owners and create content that they can use for their current clients and future prospects. 

Now this could be a difficult one - if clients decide to take their sales and marketing work in-house — get ready for this. Look at creating a 90 day transition plan. Maybe create a handover package at a reduced rate of what they were paying you. Brace yourself for this change and who knows, after the 90 days, they could be back. A big thing with clients - is get ready. Try to keep your calm, don’t panic, keep the dialog and bridge open. We will get through this and the worst thing you can do now is to burn bridges.

Encourage daily client check ins 

Make sure your AM team is doing daily check ins with clients. Get them to speak with clients so that they stay connected and keep delighting.


Phase #3: Build 

Strengthen your agency and it's future.


If your team is working remotely, create environments where they can still feel included and part of a greater team. Maybe create a buddy system where pairs or groups of people could meet up for a quick daily virtual coffee break. Also set up one-on-one meetings with the team to make sure they’re doing good and chat through any issues or concerns or ideas they might have. 

Internal Work & Organize 

Look at your own internal work and processes. Dedicate one day a week to look at your own business, your website, your marketing - create helpful content for your clients. Support your clients and prospects. Maybe even update your agency playbooks.

Create internal training & setup a virtual book club

Understand what your team wants to focus on. Understand what they want to add to their skills set and make a plan to learn together. Maybe a Friday afternoon team training, just before your virtual pizza and drinks meet up. 

Create a book club — read and review books together. Get the team to share their learnings with everyone and see what can maybe get implemented in the agency. 

Podcasting - Start planning for it or create one

If you don’t have a one for your agency, now is the time to start planning or creating your own podcast. To learn more about how to create a podcast for you business head over to the Rev-Casters Facebook group where they share content on building a podcast

Reach out to your agency community

Talk things through with the community — remember you’re not alone. Agencies communities are sharing really helpful information, so connect and remember to breathe. We’re all in this together and should be supporting each other as much as we can.  Head over to Growit Group, where Clodagh shares helpful content and is willing to hop onto a call and chat through any agency advice you might need. 




Posted by Clodagh S. Higgins on Apr 9, 2020 1:45:02 PM
Clodagh S. Higgins

Clodagh S. Higgins

Clodagh S.Higgins is a Business Coach & Consultant for Digital Marketing Agencies with the Growit Group based in Ireland and works globally. An ex-HubSpotter, she has worked with over 500+ agencies around the world, helping them on the areas of sales, marketing, services, scaling and growth in their businesses so that they can deliver exceptional results for their clients. She has written a book called The Happy & Healthy Digital Agency & hosts a podcast called - Agency Life.
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Topics: Service Providers, Professional Services

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