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How To Grow Your PPC Agency And Not Your Headcount

Our Top 3 Tips On How To Grow Your PPC Agency And Not Your Headcount

Every Agency Wants To Grow, But All Agencies Face The Same Growth Challenge, No Matter Their Size: How do you scale without growing your headcount?

Boutique Agency Scenario: your agency is already busy and you want to be in a position to take on more clients. Do you hire a new team member knowing that you’ll have to carry that wage until you get a significant number of new clients to cover the wage bill (pretty tough in the current climate), or do you try and squeeze in a few extra hours in the day so that existing team can take on a few new clients each (who needs sleep, right?).

You tell yourself “if I can only fit in a few extra clients, I could grow it myself until I’m earning enough to carry the wage”. But unless you had a fair bit of downtime in your workday before (what a hilarious thought in an agency), that’s going to be a big ask.

Even large agencies face the same challenge… in fact, the larger the agency, the more complex it can become, as not only do they need a new manager, sometimes it means a discussion about an entirely new business unit (account manager, team leader, etc). We’ve seen many large agencies who don’t look to grow above an additional 15%, as more than that would overload the capacity of the current business unit!

And then, of course, there are the additional costs of a new team member- recruitment, upskilling, technology outlays, office space (or not, these days!), administrative load.

At PPC Samurai we’ve helped hundreds of agencies double their clients with no new hires, via a three-stage process:

  1. Be Proactive About Planning
  2. Clear The Decks To Create Capacity
  3. Implement Advanced Strategies and Use That To Win New Business

Here are our top 3 pro-tips to help you do the same:

1. Be Proactive About Planning: Create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

This is where we start with almost every agency, and it becomes the template for how you manage PPC across your business.

We suggest an SOP that outlines core activities to be done on a daily, weekly and monthly basis for every account, with further segmentation into alerts, hygiene and optimization opportunities (or whatever other priority segmentation makes sense for the business). There’ll usually be a different document for e-comm clients vs lead gen.

Further, we suggest the document should outline three things; the process/check/workflow that you run on that account, the benefit of that process and the action to take if an outcome is found. And further, if it is specific to the account or general to the agency.

An example might be:

Process: Checking for dramatic drops in impressions, as a proxy for ensuring the account remains active
Benefit: Avoids being unaware of credit card/payment failure, and the difficult client conversation that’ll follow
Action: Contact the client and have them place more funds on the credit card.
Application: Lead gen/ agency wide.

The establishment of a detailed (and living) SOP gives you an incredibly efficient and proactive way to manage accounts, with a roadmap for automation. Side note: make sure you discuss internally with all key team members and come up with a plan together – you’ll need buy-in for this to be effective.

2. Clear The Decks To Create Capacity: Automate The Daily Grind

We find the % of time spent on repetitive tasks is just too high with most agencies. Once you have your SOP sorted, look at the biggest time-sinks on the list. Rank the tasks by the value to the client and the amount of time you spend on the task. Your automation hit list is organised by the tasks that rank highest to lowest on both axis.

It’s really important to consider the value to the client in this process, as it’s so easy to get caught up in repetitive low value tasks that take a lot of time…but this isn’t where you want to start your automation list! Tasks must be of high value to all parties.

Start working through your automation hit list and you’ll be amazed at the number of hours you get back each day!

Many agencies are now able to complete their regular workload in less than half the time it took before!

So, now you’ve got capacity, but what next?

3. Start Implementing More Advanced Strategies To Win New Business

This is where the magic happens. This is the stuff that’ll win you business.

Now you have the extra time, you can focus on smashing your clients’ targets by implementing (and automating!) more advanced strategies. These are the strategies you’ve always wanted to try but could never imagine having the time for. It could be a great new campaign structure that you could never operate without automation (we recommend our favorite, BMM/Exact), or ad tests that you don’t normally have time to do or granular shopping campaigns that would be incredibly manual without automation and tooling, or a way of managing budgets you favor! Or simply something new you read about that you know will set you apart from the pack, if only you had time to actually trial it.

Not only does it help with client retention (churn is the silent agency killer), but we have many agencies that leverage these more advanced approaches in their new business pitches – and it works! Potential new clients are impressed with a long list of activities you’ll perform, backed up with data on how well you do it.

To Recap...

Step One – put in place an SOP for a controlled and proactive approach.
Step Two – automate your hit list to create capacity.
Step Three – implement your dream strategies to win and keep clients.

This process takes a couple of weeks to document and implement…but imagine the trade-off between a few weeks of your time and:

  • Doubling your clients with no new hires
  • Tripling your profit (as you have little uplift in costs)
  • Sleeping better at night, knowing you’re delivering your very best to customers

We look forward to hearing how you go! And if you need a hand at all, please reach out. You know we’re a helpful chatty bunch and we love to hear from you.

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