If your digital marketing agency is struggling to generate enough quality leads or close enough new clients, improving your marketing campaigns and sales skills are a waste of time.
Unless you’ve first created something more fundamental.
Find a Fast Horse
Warren Buffet once said, “good jockeys will do well on good horses, but not on broken-down nags.” Said another way, if you give a great salesperson (your jockey) an inferior service to sell (your horse), they’ll struggle.
Here is a deliberately extreme example to drive home the lesson.
We offer a black hat SEO link building service guaranteed to get you penalized by Google. It’s $5,000 a month with a one-year commitment, and you have to pay the entire year’s fees upfront.
We offer a proprietary link building process guaranteed to get you first page organic rankings for your top 10 keywords. It’s $300 a month and you can cancel at any time.
Which service would you rather market and sell? Assuming these services were real, even a very average marketer or salesperson could do well at Agency B.
Improving your marketing and sales skills are of course important elements of new client acquisition. However, the best way to increase sales is to first make sure you’re playing what I call Winnable Games.
What’s a Winnable Game?
Imagine playing chess against a baby. Even if you suck at chess, you’re definitely going to win. Every time.
In the context of digital marketing sales, a Winnable Game is a set of circumstances that make it highly likely that you will both win the prospect’s business and turn them into a happy customer. In short, you have a massive marketing and sales advantage over your competitors. You’re riding a faster horse.
Playing Winnable Games makes everything about attracting qualified leads, closing deals and serving clients much easier. That’s why it should come before trying to improve marketing campaigns and sales skills.
So how do you get into Winnable Games in the first place?
You create them.
How to Create Winnable Games
Many years ago, the CEO of a successful digital agency told me a story that stuck in my memory. He’d come across a case study about a hospital that had a 95 percent success rate on a particular medical procedure. I don’t recall the industry average, but this hospital’s 95 percent success rate was WAY higher than that of other medical facilities that performed the same procedure.
The hospital’s success rate was so high because they identified several factors that indicated when the procedure would be successful and when it would not. Once they set the criteria, they were ultrastrict about which patients qualified to work with their doctors. If a particular person did not meet the success criteria, they would not perform the procedure.
Once the hospital established their extremely high success rate, it became a powerful marketing and sales tool that attracted even more patients. The hospital created the perception that they were clearly the best choice for the procedure—which they were, for specific people in specific situations.
To make it easier to attract leads, win deals, and retain clients, you have to work only with clients you are confident you can make happy. And that brings us to the first step in creating your own Winnable Game: identify your ideal client profile.
To begin creating your ideal client profile, ask yourself the following question:
What factors or circumstances indicate our digital marketing services can truly help someone such that they represent a Winnable Game for our agency?
If you have employees, be sure to include them in the creation of your ideal client profile so you incorporate feedback from the front lines.
Once you have your ideal client profile, you have to create services and position your agency in a way that makes you the obvious best choice, like the hospital.
A Shortcut to Being the Best Choice
As your ideal client profile starts to come into focus, you can sharpen it through the lens of specialization.
Let’s say your ideal client profile revolves around servicing small businesses. That’s still pretty broad. You’ll be swimming in a sea of stiff competition, including battling lots of free and low-cost service providers.
If you go a step further, by working only with lawn care companies, for example, you’ll be seen as a specialist. If the owner of a lawn care business is looking to hire a digital marketing agency, which agency would you rather be?
We are a digital marketing agency that produces great results and has great customer service.
We are a digital marketing agency that works only with small businesses.
We are a digital marketing agency that specializes in generating leads for local lawn care businesses.
All else being equal, Agency C wins this sales game every time. When you’re a specialist up against generalists, you’re playing chess against babies.
How to Get Started
You can quickly increase your lead generation and sales simply by specializing in a particular industry. By narrowing your focus and brand positioning, it will be obvious where you should market your services, and you’ll have a powerful point of differentiation you can promote during sales presentations. These free resources can help you get started.
This article is only scratching the surface of the concept of Winnable Games. If you’d like to go deeper and get a bucket full of specific ways to position your agency for the win, you have three options.
Specializing in working with digital marketing agencies combined with our ability to help clients create Winnable Games, before we start improving sales skills, is our superpower.