Video - Rethinking agency clients' needs to reduce churn with Rachel Nulman - Schapiro of vcitaOct 12, 2022
In this GYDA Talks, Robert is joined by Rachel Nulman-Schapiro of vcita.
When speaking with marketing professionals at agencies, I often hear about the challenges they face with retaining customers. As an ex-marketing agency person myself, I can relate to this. Small business customers are a tough crowd. Like all businesses, they need a steady stream of fresh incoming leads, but unlike larger companies, they don't always have the infrastructure needed for making the most of those leads.
As an agency, you can deliver dozens (or perhaps even hundreds) of leads to a small business every month, but how many of those will turn into paying customers that translate into money in the bank? Many small businesses aren't equipped to make the most of the leads they receive. They often won't respond on time (if at all), and don't have the tools or the know-how to nurture them.
It is for this reason that many small businesses don't realize how valuable agency services are. With no grasp of the value, they're more likely to churn, and the agency is more likely to lose business to its competitors.
Based on my experience at vcita, and after discussing these issues in-depth with many agency professionals, I'd like to share some insights on how agencies can optimize the way they deliver leads in order to increase the likelihood of those leads turning into customers.
Robert Craven 00:07
Hello and welcome to the GYDA masterclass and today I am absolutely delighted to have as many ratios and procedures now rather than me reading a biography, it seems to make much more sense for Rachel to introduce herself and tell us a little bit about her and what she could talk about. But the clue is in the title, which is reducing SMB client churn. Hello, Rachel.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 00:36
Hey, hey, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here. And hey to everyone shout out to everyone listening tuning in. I want to thank you so much for sparing me from listening to my own bio. It always so we, you know, we sit there and cringe. So I'm always happy to introduce myself. So hey, everyone, I'm super excited to be here and chatting with you about churn. My name is Rachel Nulman-Schapiro, I'm Director of Product Marketing at VCITA. In my previous life, I was actually living the agency life so I used to own a digital marketing agency with a couple of partners. We serve the small business community, which was great fun, and we're gonna be talking lots about small businesses today.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 01:22
I really loved working for the agency and it was a great chapter of my professional life. And there's so many lessons I've taken with me from my agency time, I did end up making the shift into the vendor space into the SAS vendor space where I kind of moved into companies that serve digital marketing agencies and kind of help them scale and help them just work better and serve their better serve their clients. I worked for a great company called any clip, which is a programmatic servicing company that also has some great video marketing solutions. And nowadays I work for a VCITA for almost four years. And what we do with VCITA is we work with digital marketing agencies on helping them kind of expand their offering, fight, churn, which is our main topic for today, increase their revenue, just create additional services for their customers, and mostly create customer stickiness, which is the ultimate medicine against churn. So let's, I want to share some thoughts about my, about my agency days, I was fortunate, you know, a couple years in the agency, life has taught me a lot and there's a lot I've learned about agencies also from the other side. So I've spent almost a decade now, serving agencies working with agency partners, and there's a lot I've learned from our partners as well. Looking back at those agency days, I think what I absolutely loved most was having super clear and crisp goals, and having a number that backs up your work and being able to sit at the end of the month and say alright, you know, customer, this is what we've done for you. This is where we're at. And, and having just like a really clear path to scale. So everything we did was built in a way where we said we were doing it now for 10 customers down the road, we did it for 50, then we did it for 100. And then we ended up doing it for much, much more. So we just had these great processes and pretreat procedures in place. And that's something I see with the agencies I work with today, too, that the ones that are extremely successful are the ones that have processes in place that allow them to scale.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 03:35
Something else I really loved about working in the agency is that you are always always learning something new every day, every single day of life at an agency is a day where you're learning something new, you can wake up in the morning, and find out that everything you knew about Google, or Facebook or whatever it is, is no longer relevant. And now you sort of have to relearn this whole new discipline. And I know that can be frustrating at times, but it does create a certain rhythm of work. It creates a certain energy in the workplace, which I absolutely loved. And I think this is something that makes agencies such a dynamic place. It's such a great kind of environment for people that are looking to live these extreme sports careers. And what I loved absolutely most about my agency days was serving the small business community. And this is something I love about working at the VCITA too. So being able not to note that I have anything wrong, that there's anything wrong with having a vacation home but not not helping. You know these executives get their seven vacation homes in the Bahamas and not increasing you know, a bottom line for some ginormous Corporation. What I loved was really just making a big impact on people like me people like my family people like my friends are hairdressers or babysitters or lawyers or doctors helping them run a more sustainable business, helping them increase revenue, helping them enjoy the remarkable opportunities that are out there when it comes to digital marketing and digital presence and just bringing those technologies and new service into the small business space, which was just super rewarding. And, and I love that and I continue to look for those opportunities today too. So this is what I loved about agency life. And what I did not love was churn.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 05:25
Churn was probably the biggest source of stress and pain and aggravation. For me back when I worked at an agency, and for many of the agency partners, we work with VCITA now. So what happens is with churn and I'm going to, I'm going to draw a little bit of a picture here, and, and I'm asking you to bear with me, imagine you are constantly super focused on pouring water into a bucket, you're constantly focused on creating a great stable stream of new customers into your agency, and you're filling up this bucket of water, you're filling your agencies with these great customers, and it's all looking great. But then suddenly, there's a hole on the bottom of the bucket, everything you're pouring in, or at least some of what you're pouring in, ends up dripping out. And that just puts you in a race where you're constantly spilling more water into the bucket to cover up for what's been lost. So it's true that it's inevitable, there will be some clients that leave the agency. But what we see very often with agencies is not just a handful of clients, churn is a real real pain point and party pooper for many, many agencies that serve different types of verticals. And this is true for business for agencies that serve any size of business. But it's particularly true for agencies that serve the small business community. Because small businesses are as resilient and as fierce as they can be, tend to be more vulnerable, they have less cash buffers, they have less access to capital, not always able to balance their cash flow, and they're at higher risk, not always for closing down, but they're at higher risk for reaching financial trouble. And a business and financial trouble is likely a business that is not going to invest in marketing services.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 07:20
So churn was super, super painful. And there's a lot I learned about churn in my agency days, and even more than I've learned about churn working with great agencies from all over the world over the last couple of years, and I wanted to hop on here today and share some of what I've learned. If you have any questions, of course, I'd be more than happy to answer them. So we're here to talk about churn, we're going to talk about why it happens. We're going to talk about what to do about it. And I will give you some ideas that I've seen work really, really well for some of the agencies I work with. So let's start with churn. What makes churn happen? How does churn you know, kind of manifest? Why do we get this hole on the bottom of our bucket? So the first, the first and the most common reason for churn from what I've seen are broken funnels. So having kind of one place where you say, this is where I deliver leads, and you're able to count those leads and say, okay, my customer, this month, I've generated this amount of leads for you. But then that doesn't necessarily translate into something that impacts the customer's bottom line, we're not always able to draw a clear line between leads generated to customers created to money in the bank. So I gave you 50 customers, again, sorry, I gave you 50 leads, how many of them actually turned into customers? I'm not sure. I'm not sure you are sure. I'm not true there. Sure. Okay, so we have this number of leads. But we're not necessarily saying that we're giving you customers, or we're giving you deals that are ending that are closing and becoming money in the bank. And that's what I mean, when I say perceived value, the intangible perceived value, what am I as it as an agency, what am I actually giving you, my customer? At the end of the day, besides this list of leads? What is the value you're getting from my agency? I know it's a lot. Many of my customers know that it's a lot. But many of my customers aren't really able to understand how much of their success is happening due to the services they're getting from the agencies. And that is one of the main reasons for churn. They're not able to really understand what I am getting? The sales cycle can be long, sometimes the conversion rates are kind of low. You're not able to really understand how much money they're making from the money they are spending. What is their ROI, not always super clear.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 09:59
Another reason why that I've seen many, many small businesses stop working with agencies is because very often the agency services are super important for growth and for the scaling the small business, but they're not part of their business core, when the business owner wakes up in the middle of the night, you know, having a pat No, hopefully not having a panic attack. But waking up in the middle of the night and thinking about, you know, the most urgent time sensitive burning issues in their business, they're probably thinking about things like payment collection, about applying for a loan, about getting back to a customer about closing a huge deal that's currently in the pipeline, they're probably not thinking about marketing. I'm not saying they shouldn't be thinking about marketing. But what I'm saying is, it's likely that they're thinking about a million other things, but not marketing, because marketing isn't always part of the business core, it's not part of the daily operation, that daily grind, the daily tasks with the business is running through, doesn't always include marketing action items, were not part of the business core. And that's why very often small businesses just don't have their marketing at top of mind, they don't have the agency top of mind, they're focused on other things, they're more likely to churn. We also know that competition in this space is fierce, I don't have to say anything about this, because you all know when you all agree, there are so many great players out there, and we're all competing over the same businesses, competition will continue to happen. And the only thing we can do about it is make sure that our services are top notch, that we have added value, that we're setting ourselves apart from the other players out there. Low brand visibility to me is very much linked to not being part of the business core. So imagine if I am it now I'm at now I'm on the staff side. And part of the one of the great things about SaaS as a vendor is that your logo, your brand is everywhere. If I sell you a SaaS product, you are going to be staring at my logo, day in and day out, you are not going to forget the name of the company you bought this platform for you are not going to forget what their logo looks like, because you're in front of these tools all day. And this is what you're seeing on your screen. That doesn't really happen with agencies. So I can see an agency name and logo on my bank statement at the end of the month, when you charge my money. Or maybe when my account manager sends me an email, I'll see their logo in the email signature. But I'm not spending my days thinking about which agency I'm working for. That's why it's very hard to create loyalty. So all these reasons together are the most popular reasons for churn I've seen. And we're going to talk about how we can combat some of these.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 12:44
So today, I want to focus on how you can build a unique offering that creates stickiness and generates growth, how you can not only plaster that hole on the bottom of the bucket, and stop the flow of churn, but also create a fantastic sticky product that your customers will love.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 13:09
So the first, the first thing this is a tip I always give to agencies is optimising the delivery, this is kind of like the band-aid. Okay, this is not what's going to solve the whole problem. But it's a quick response you can do when you see those churn numbers spike, let's make sure the leads we're delivering are being delivered in a way that optimises lead conversion. And here's what I mean. Very often, I see many agencies use these email alerts. Okay, so we'll have an email or even worse a spreadsheet, I'll send my customer a spreadsheet, at the end of the month, or at the end of the week, hey, here are all the people that converted on your Instagram campaign or here all the people that came through through this landing page. This could be days later, you know, we know how it works. Someone is googling searching for roofing services, they're going to fill out a form on a landing page, hopefully to get some way know in every hour that goes by till then is likely an hour where their roof is leaking or, or their nails are grown out and they need to book their next manicure, you know, we want these we know that many of the consumers that are looking for Small Business Services want immediate response, they want someone now if this person doesn't respond to them immediately, they're gonna go ahead and call the next person on Google. So standing a list of prospects or leads via a spreadsheet or an Excel sheet at the end of the week, or at some point isn't really impactful. You know, it's unlikely that a business owner is going to sit there on the weekend, open the Excel sheet, oh, look at all these people. Let's call them one by one. And even if they do call them one by one, these are people that might have been looking for services days ago are no longer relevant. So this is definitely not something that I would recommend and Even I do know that there's also the, there's the email alert. So we have, you know, kind of these, Hey, someone just converted on your website emails. And I know that looks really great. But what, from what I've seen, unlike some, unlike, you know, people that work at larger companies, a lot of small business owners don't live in their email, they don't live in their inbox, they're not going to be you know, and the roofers, on the roof fixing or the doctors, you know, meeting the different patients that are coming into the clinic, or, you know, the lawyers kind of running in between meetings, they're not necessarily going to sit there, oh, you know, the moment I get an email, I'm going to open the email app on my phone, if I even have it connected, read about this lead, and then go ahead and reach out. That doesn't always work. If anything, what I've seen work better is a push notification, or an SMS or something that is more in your face rather than email.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 15:53
Now, besides best practices for making leads pop up quickly and optimising them for quicker response, which we know will impact conversion. There's also this idea of what happens if it's not a lead, what happens if it's a customer, what happens if this is a person that businesses already worked for? So someone that knows the business has a relationship with them is now reaching out via campaign filling out a form on a landing page, or whatever it is? How do we make sure that business is able to connect the dots and understand who this person is? This is how much money they've paid me in the past. Or maybe this is how much money they owe me. And you know, what type of services they prefer, what they talk to me about during their last meeting, all that information very often gets lost. And that's why it's so important to deliver leads in an environment where we're able to connect those dots and say, Oh, this isn't actually new to me, this is a returning customer, here's what we know about this customer. So that can be done via CRM platforms that can be done. There's different ways of doing it. But what's most, what's just most important is to find a way to connect those dots and not, you know, kind of not be confused between new brand new leads that no one knows anything about to existing, loyal returning customers that we know so much about.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 17:14
And the third tip I can give you is around calls to action. So the most common call to action is definitely just like, hey, contact me a contact form, name, email, whatever. But that's not necessarily the best way to optimise lead capturing for conversion, we know that there are other ways to grab leads, and perhaps create in action, where not only with the business doesn't only have to get back to someone and call and say hey, how can I help you as you left your details, etc, etc. But maybe we can use that moment of conversion to actually create a request for a booking, or request for an estimate, or in a request to tell me more about this particular service. So in the world of calls to action, let's imagine that we're able to have a call to action on the campaign that is to find out how much this will cost, you know, request an estimate, or book a free consultation, or whatever it is just do something beyond just filling out a contact form. So these are just some tips that I can share, when it comes to optimising the way leads are captured and better lead delivery will definitely lead to a better conversion rate, which will definitely improve perceived value. So we're already in a good place where we're talking about helping these small businesses not only get the leads that get them in a way where they're able to convert them and see the value from their marketing agency at the end of the day.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 18:47
I also want to talk about the way we showcase our success. So now that we've talked about lead delivery and lead conversion, we also need to make sure that at the end of the day, the small business knows that these leads, and these conversions are coming from the marketing campaigns. They're paying us to run. And it sounds silly, but this is not always so great. Sometimes marketing agencies aren't so great at marketing their own success, and I'll explain what I mean. Sometimes, there's this moment at the end of the month, will say and we talked about this a little earlier, you know, hey, I delivered this amount of leads. Do I invest any time in explaining what that means in terms of revenue in terms of potential opportunities that your salespeople are currently working on? Probably not. So we're when it comes to showcasing our own success. We usually stick to the number of leads or perhaps the conversion rate, but not necessarily. And if the agency was able to really connect the dots between, how many leads were currently created, how many deals were created from these leads, and then how much money you actually have in your bank account, thanks to the services delivered by my agency, wow, mind blowing, okay, we're in a completely completely different position with a small business, they're now able to completely understand what they are getting for the money they pay us, which in the small business world can be significant. You know, I mean, even if, even if our pricing we consider our pricing to be, you know, not sky high in the small business world where there's so many expenses, and you know, sometimes the profit margins are quite slim, the investment in marketing is not something we should take for granted. And we definitely want to help them calculate ROI and see the great outcome of the money they're investing in marketing. Now, it's not only about connecting the dots. So that's part of it. Yes, part of it is just making sure we can visualise that we have the data to support, you know, our showcase of our success. But it's also making that flow happen. It's also pushing more leads, we deliver down the funnel, making sure that more of the leads we deliver actually end up turning into real opportunities, real close deals. And I know this is sometimes sort of beyond the scope for a lot of marketing agencies. And I completely understand why. But the reality is, it can be extremely impactful if we can not only deliver the leads, but also provide the tools that are needed for this further small business to convert more leads into deals, that kind of puts us in a completely completely different space.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 21:46
And we know generating new leads is always so much more expensive than closing a deal with an existing customer. Right? We know that from our own experience. And it's true about small businesses too. So small businesses, yes, they always want the new leads, that's not going to change. But there is also so much opportunity for them to create more business with their existing customers and create more upsells and increase deal volume with the customers we already generated for them. And if that was something we could help them with, if we could say, Hey, as an agency, it's not only about, you know, me creating more leads for you through the website, or social media, or reviews, or whatever it is. But I can also help you maximise deal potential with each one of these customers, I can help you remark on it. And this is something that a lot of marketing agencies do remarketing campaigns. But what if I could also help my SMBs with email marketing and nurturing and staying in touch with customers over time automating that marketing communication over time with existing customers having a newsletter for existing customers, sharing coupons with existing customers or running promotions for existing customers and increase loyalty, this is an entire space where we can create so much value for the small business, and really help them nurture existing customers. And not only depend on the new ones that we're generating for them anyway. And this actually leads me to another point, which isn't on the cycle that's on my slide. But a lot of the marketing agencies we work with at the VCITA also come into the picture when it comes to payment collection, which is usually so you know, far fetched from marketing agencies were like, why I don't do I don't help businesses collect payments, you know, that's way beyond scope. And I understand why you may think so but the reality is, is that a lot of the agencies we work for are kind of writing this online payment trend, and helping their customers with their collection process, providing them with tools they need for collecting payments online, we do have a completely unique solution for agencies in this space. And the agencies that are using it are not only delivering a great service to their customer, they're actually generating revenue through processing fees. So this is just a side note, I think, you know, the more traditional way to look at it is kind of from lead generation to lead conversion to lead nurturing. But there's this fourth pillar that we've been that we see as extremely promising for agencies, and we're extremely successful for the agencies that have implemented it, which is let's actually help them get their money in the bank, let's actually kind of, you know, drive that car all the way to the end of the road, which leads me to talking about business critical. So I think part of the reason for churn is also that, you know, if a company if a small business is looking at where they can cut their expenses, they're going to look for the things that aren't business critical. They're going to look for the areas where they're saying, you know, I could, in theory, live without this, if I cancel these, you know, my subscription or if I cancel my marketing services, or my PPC campaigns, you know, it's not like I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning and say, Oh, whoa, I can't run my business. Now, you know, I'm missing my core business functionalities. That's not the case, unfortunately, with marketing.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 25:09
So when we see agencies venture into this business critical space, and provide services, the site, you know, in addition to everything else, they're doing lead generation web presence, you know, thought leadership content, in addition to all that, they're also able to deliver services like CRM, like appointment management, and scheduling, payment collection and booking, like things like document storage, and, you know, managing paperwork. As soon as you're able to incorporate these business critical tasks into your offering, you're really creating a scenario where businesses become completely dependent on their work with your agency, you're not only delivering leads, you're not only delivering marketing services, you're delivering business management, this is where they're your clients are running their business. And this is exactly what I mean, when I talk about sticky solutions, where clients are just getting so much value, you know, they're completely dependent on what you have to offer. And they're not likely to just wake up one morning and decide that they're moving over to the competition. What does success look like? So, I talked a lot about different ideas in different ways of implementing anti churn strategies. And I did want to share some numbers from agencies that I work with that have, you know, incorporated this into their strategy. So agencies that are venturing deeper into the funnel, and helping their clients not only generate leads, but also convert them, and also nurture them and also collect payments from them, agencies that are expanding their offering into the business management space, and helping businesses not only get leads, but also run their day to day tasks. We've seen tremendous success for agencies that are using these techniques to reduce churn and grow their revenues. So we've seen, I mean, you can see the slides for yourself, but I will say out loud, it's a crazy number. So 36% increase in revenue, reducing churn to 1.5. In this particular example, I just grabbed this off one of our latest reports from one of our partners, but I think I think they started with us at 3.5. And now they're down to 1.5, after using the VCITA platform to deliver a business management solution. And what's really interesting is that they're able to triple the annual revenue per user. So basically, we're seeing the same amount of cut. I mean, they are of course generating new customers too. But even with their existing customer base, they're able to just maximise potential, and deliver more services, which of course leads to more revenue.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 27:51
Before I answer some questions, and maybe tell you a little bit more about our work at VCITA, I did want to talk a little bit about the relationship between small businesses in Tech because this has just been a real passion of mine. And I've been doing a lot of research on it. We've had a great research project at the VCITA around small businesses and their relationship with digital tools and digital adoption, digital literacy. Maybe I can share some links to some of the resources we've put together. And I've seen, you know, Salesforce has a great report on this. Gartner has a great report on this. And I think there's this really hot trend of SMBs adopting SaaS solutions, it's you know, we usually think of, Oh, you know, software companies, they must be catering to the fortune 500 companies. But actually, there are so many fantastic tools that are available to small businesses, we've seen small businesses really, really kind of accelerate their adoption of these tools. So these are numbers based on a survey we ran at the end of last year, we're just getting ready to launch the one that is 20. This is from 2021. And we're just getting ready to launch our 2022 version. Basically, in a nutshell, what we've seen is that more than half of the survey participants and these are we're talking 1000s of small businesses have adopted new digital tools as part of their workday. So they're using more applications and more, more, more software solutions to run their everyday tasks. I can say that in the notes from these questions. We've seen people say things like they're able to save a full hour every single day. And that's massive for a small business owner to spend one hour less in front of the computer and one hour more with customers an hour they can actually bill for this can be a game changer. So lots of small businesses are using lots of new tools. There's a lot of curiosity around online payment collection and this is an area I am really really excited and really bullish about. I think so many small businesses are now in this mindset where they want to offer their customers these flexible online payment options. So we know that consumers are so accustomed to paying online, you know, the Amazon way of doing things, you know, nowadays, everything I purchase online is paid for online as well. And it can be the same with service providers. You know, there's so many great solutions out there for e-commerce. But we know that e-commerce is only about 20% of commerce, and that retail is only about 20% of small businesses. So there's this whole chunk of service providing small businesses who really want to be able to collect online, you know, imagine if someone came to fix something in your house, and just sent you a link or invited you to tap your credit card on their phone. And that's it, you know, No cash, no check is in the mail. It's great for the consumer, it's great for the small business owner, because we see that it gets them paid so much faster, you know, they don't have to sit away waiting for payments. And that actually brings us back to what we started talking about, at the very beginning how small businesses are so vulnerable. This is something that can really contribute to the resilient financial resilience of small businesses, their ability to get paid on the spot, their ability to get paid on time, in a way that is easy and convenient, and not chase these overdue payments that can really lead to, you know, bad financial health. So, to wrap all this up, I guess when I'm saying when it comes to small businesses and technology, we believe that there is a huge opportunity, we see that 42% of the small businesses that answered the survey, again, these are 1000s of business owners actually invest several $100 every single month in building up their tech stack. So there is a market out there for small businesses, looking to invest in digital tools that help them run their daily operations. And this is a great opportunity for agencies and we work with many agencies that are already doing this, already kind of creating this using this demand for digital services to kind of just broaden their offering, offer everything they offer today, plus additional digital services in a SaaS model in a platform. And maybe all this is where I'll say a couple words about VCITA. I know you know, VCITA is a, we like to say that we have a startup culture, but we're definitely not a startup, we've been around for 12 years now. We have hundreds of 1000s of small business users worldwide, and we work with partners. So we do have our direct channel where we sell directly to small businesses. But 75% of our business is generated through partners, we work with many agencies. So we have many agencies using the VCITA to provide services for their small businesses. So what they do is they offer our solution to their small businesses. And they're able to bundle it with their own solution. And I'll show you an example of what that looks like.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 32:52
We have offices in Tel Aviv, and in Israel, and some great presence in Europe as well. We work with many European agencies. And the solution we offer is a platform where agencies like you can plug any application or any service that you currently offer into an environment where the small business is running their daily operations. And we have lots of features for businesses to run their daily operations. We have CRM, we have calendar management, scheduling appointments, scheduling events, scheduling, waiting lists, payment collection, invoice generation, estimate generation, coupons, promotions, email marketing, the list goes on. And on and on, I actually have like a 14 page PDF list of features. So luckily for you, and luckily for me, I'm not going to run through all of them. But just we built a really robust platform where we have lots and lots of functionality that can help small businesses just better manage their daily operations. We also have an app market. And we have reports, which are really important, and a lot of our partners will use the reports to showcase their success. So they use this report space to show the leads, they're bringing in the deals that are being closed and the revenue that's being generated. And because the user is using this platform, you will actually have access to all this data. And therefore it can draw that beautiful line we saw earlier between leads generated deals closed and money in the bank. So what we do essentially is help agencies kind of close this loop and become this super holistic, complete digital platform for small businesses. On one hand, we have you know, the traditional agency services, the website, building the social media directories, SEO, etc. And on the other hand, you have the daily operations. So the scheduling, CRM, lead management, email communication, all this is happening on one platform. And this is a platform that the user is likely to log in, you know, multiple, multiple times a day. It's the interface they're going to use every time they want to answer a customer, every time they get a lead captured, every time they booked an appointment or appointment is booked with them every time they collect a payment every time they send a contract out to be sent. This is the platform they're going to use. And we have a partner led philosophy where we believe that our partners logo should be showcased on the platform. So if an agency works with us, and their small businesses are using this platform, it's the agency's logo that's going to be showcased. And this kind of ties back into that challenge of having strong brand visibility in front of your customers. So just imagine every time your customer wants to collect payment, or sign a contract, or respond to a lead that you delivered, they're going to be using a platform that has your logo on top.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 35:46
And this is just an example of what a partnership with VCITA looks like. So this is a screenshot from the VCITA to the dashboard. You can see on the left menu, there's items like inbox, calendar, clients payments, all this stuff is here. And of course, if you partner with us, your logo will be featured on top and your additional services will be featured in the main menu. So just imagine that, you know, besides documents and campaigns are in reports, there are tabs here that say things like SEO dashboard, or website analytics or social media campaigns or reviews, you can plug any service or any third party application in. It's an open platform with public API's. And we work with many agencies that do this. And we also have tech services that can do this for you. And all in all agencies that work with us are first and foremost able to combat churn, which was the main topic for today's presentation. But they're also able to unlock additional revenue potential, they're also able to just offer all this additional value to their existing customers, they're able to stand out in the crowd and offer something that is highly competitive, super innovative, super interesting to small businesses that are shopping around for digital marketing services. And if this is in any way interesting to you, we'd absolutely love to be in touch. So I'm just going to do a quick wrap up. Today, we talked about churn and the recipe for the anti churn recipe, which is, to me, kind of a combination of everything I've learned from working at a digital marketing agency, and working with agencies over the last decade. So the tips I can give you to combat churn are optimising lead delivery processes, making sure that your leads are reaching the small businesses at the right time grabbing their attention. And the likelihood of them turning those leads into an actual deal is much higher, showcasing your success. Don't be shy, make sure the small businesses understand how much money is actually landing in their bank account, thanks to your services, support their retention and conversion services. So make sure that you're not only delivering the leads, but also maybe give them the means to convert more leads into paying customers. And finally, if you're able to become part of your small businesses, daily operation, we see that that creates incredible stickiness and can significantly reduce churn. So the result of all this is a really great improvement in perceived value. SMBs just understand how much the agency is doing for them, how much value they're getting, they're super sticky, they're not going anywhere, and you're able to enjoy an increase in average revenue per user. So this was, in a nutshell, what we talked about today. If you'd like to learn more about the VCITA, more than happy to have a conversation about how we can do great things together, you can head over to VCITA.com/partners. We have lots of different partnership programmes with different opportunities for different agencies, no partner is the same. So we're happy to tailor a great partnership that works great for you. And I'd absolutely love to be in touch. Let's answer some questions.
Robert Craven 39:07
Good. Good presentation, right. That's very good. Okay. A whole bunch of questions come in, we have exactly 15 minutes to get through them all. So if you're alive, keep sending in the questions. So the first question I've got here is what's the main motivation for SMBs wanting better digital presence?
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 39:32
So I think the survey we've done earlier this year indicates that a lot of small businesses are realising that they should be collecting payments, online payments is a big one. They know that they can collect faster. They know that there are sometimes their customers will say, you know, hey, I wish there was a way for me to pay you online and not just using Venmo or something that is completely out of context, something that is actually linked to business logic. So that's one I also get a lot of requests for automation is a big one. So a lot of small businesses are so busy, you know, doing those small tedious tasks like sending contracts or creating estimates or sending invoices or chasing payments. And they really love to have a way to kind of build the workflow where a lot of that a lot of that administrative overhead is managed for them. And that just frees them up to deal with what they love doing, you know, serving their customers working in their profession doing what they're trained to do, what they love to do. So those are probably two of the most significant motivations for businesses seeking digital help.
Robert Craven 40:40
Okay, great. Next question is churn aside. So thank you very much for your interesting presentation. Churn aside, what good tips for increasing agency revenue.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 40:54
All right. So I think well, first of all, I do have to say reducing churn does by default mean increasing revenue, because you know, less people are leaving more people are staying where people are paying you every month. So I think churn, combating churn can be a real booster for agency revenues. And I've seen this happen, and I see this happen all the time. Besides combating churn, I think, to me, a lot of revenue growth is actually about expanding your offering, and just creating solutions that are interesting and unique and go beyond the traditional, you know, website building or PPC management, a lot of the digital marketing services have become a bit of a commodity. So it's something you can get pretty much anywhere, it's very hard to create differentiation. So just adding any layer of additional value on top of that is something that can really help. And one more thing that does come to mind, kind of has to do with what type of businesses you choose to work with. I spoke earlier about, you know, retail, and e-commerce and everyone loves retail. But the reality is that retail is only about 20% of small businesses, 80% of small businesses or service providers, people that sell their time, people that sell appointments. And that's kind of the underserved market, I feel like a lot of us go after the retailers because we know that the profit margins are just so much bigger. But there is this huge community of service providers, which are in desperate desperate need for marketing solutions and marketing services. So if I was looking for a way to expand growth, I would actually look into creating services that are tailored for service providers. To me that's a highly underserved market.
Robert Craven 42:41
Well, you've answered the next question, but I'll still call it out just in case you've got additional stuff on it, which is all the business verticals, that you feel this approach works best in.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 42:56
Business vertical, so unfortunately, churn is, it is a pretty universal problem. I think all businesses are at risk of churn. So all different types may be the ones that are more established and have you know, more businesses that have been around for longer and have you know, bigger cash buffers are the ones that we see are at lower risk return. But if I have to answer about verticals, I would say that our philosophy in VCITA is just that sometimes just creating a verticalized experience to itself can be extremely impactful in creating adoption and customer loyalty. So when you have a solution or service and you're able to say yes, this service is tailored for veterinarians, like you, or hairdressers, like you or yoga studios like you and you're able to really customise the terminology and the templates and the advice you're giving I feel I feel like that's something that very often increases stickiness to just kind of the show me you know me good old you know good old show me you know me.
Robert Craven 44:13
So I've not heard the show show me you know me, but I really like that so you're a proponent of agencies, just working with confined or defined niches or not.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 44:29
So many of the agencies I work with are super broad, so they're going to be catering to the entire Small Business Community. We do have some agencies that have one big agency. Unfortunately, I can't share the name, but they're pretty heavy on health care. So they're going to target a lot of the light health community. We have another agency that is strong with home services, so the landscapers, the cleaners, but I think what's really great is that we've built something that is super compatible with it's just vertical agnostic. Like it's built for small businesses basically, that do anything.
Robert Craven 45:12
Okay, right. Next question, right. Early on, you talked about many processes to scale. So this question is, what are the processes to scale? That are broad questions I think you get, you get oh
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 45:32
Yes, this feels like maybe this could be a whole nother webinar, a whole another masterclass. If I can maybe if I had to give just one tip, I would say that the process to scale is actually having processes. And this is maybe the biggest lesson I learned from starting my own agency where at first we were all kind of just doing our thing. You know, we had the PPC people, we had the website, people, everyone was just doing what they do best. But there was no, there was no structured flow of work. So there was no, there was kind of no defined customer journey. And I think many agencies nowadays do this. And a lot of the agencies that I work with do this, but they'll have a very detailed flow for Okay, we just signed a new contract, what happens next? What happens after what happens after that? And sometimes they'll even have a visualisation of it. Like a flowchart. Okay, check. Brief delivered, okay, check website is live. Okay, check. You know, LinkedIn pages are now live. And yeah, that's maybe that if I had to give one tip, I guess I would give something like that.
Robert Craven 46:54
Cool, cool, cool. This one? When should you use a broad versus a narrow call to action? So I think what they're talking about here is the difference between request for info versus book a call. And I, we've, we've had this conversation here, that book a call may actually frightened someone off. So if you get 100, people look at a call to action, and it says, look, a call. You may lose, you may know, other people who are interested, you may lose more than a request for info, which is softer. But a request for info doesn't get you the engagement. So when do you go for broad and when do you go for a narrow call to action.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 47:42
So when I hear requests, a call to me is, basically very similar to request info, it's just instead of me sending you the info, I'm telling you to call me and then you get the info over the phone. When I when I talk about diversifying calls to action, what I often what I often refer to is the idea of actually giving giving away some sort of free discovery call or free consultation call, even if it's a 10-15 minute call, you know, not super, super time consuming on the business's end. But even just something like hey, let me give you a consultation about this for free. Or let me give you my professional opinion about this for free, or send me a picture of your roof. And I'll tell you, where I think it needs work, just kind of getting that foot in the door. And this is really great for businesses that are just sort of starting out, don't necessarily have you know, all these success stories that they can share, they just want to get those couple of, you know, initial deals in the pipeline. So doing something like giving a free discovery call is major. And something I've seen work really well for coaches and consultants. Not only seeing this for fitness too, but if you serve coaches and consultants, something that I've seen work really well for them is doing a sort of free workshop. So doing a workshop where you give away advice for free, and then using that as a platform for upsells. So giving a free workshop and at the very end saying, you know, everything we learned today is, you know, obviously free but if you want to have an in depth conversation, if you want to help you understand more about your needs and what you need, etc, etc. Here's how to call, here's how to book you know, an individual call, which is obviously at a cost.
Robert Craven 49:28
Cool, I'm going to rewrite this question because it's unintelligible but the drift of it, the drift of it is a narrow product range, because this is what we're brought up to do. I do PPC, I do PPC, I do PPC versus kind of jack of all trades, not expert at anything. Now I know. Yeah. And you know, like I do that. Agencies swoop from, I need to be specialists to I need to be a generalist, and then back to No, no, no, I need to be more of a specialist then No, no, I need to be more of a generalist. How does an agency figure out whether they want to be the broader offer, which runs the risk of not being an expert, which is kind of what you're, you're suggesting, versus going down a narrower product range, but then you risk losing the client? Because I think what happens is, you know, the client starts off with just PPC. And then they say, Oh, can you do an email campaign? And you either say, No, we do PPC, or you say, yeah, we can do an email campaign, and they said, if you can do the email campaign, can you help us get lists for telesales? And you go, yeah, we could do that. So I'm just wondering what your view is on narrow product range expertise versus a broad range of services offered?
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 50:59
Yeah. First of all, I think that's an excellent question. And I think it's true to anything in life, right? Like, do I want to be super invested in one aspect of life and be okay, everywhere else? Or do I want to be pretty good? Every, you know, it's always a struggle, and you always have to kind of choose where you're going to invest your the resources you have, even if it's just in terms of like, you know, what is the cost of becoming an expert? I think, to me, what's extremely important in agencies is to have a very, very high, high standard of delivery. So I wouldn't use a jack of all trades, like I would not feel comfortable as an agency, having a mediocre level of delivery, you know, on multiple, multiple product lines. With that being said, I think you do, you have to be awesome at everything you do. But with that being said, I do think agencies need to kind of grow with their customers. And I think that the nature of businesses is that they're going to need more than just PPC, they're gonna need more than just a website. And if they can't get those additional products and services from you, they're gonna get them from somebody else. So it's, it's a balance, and I guess the struggle is really how to maintain high quality of delivery, not compromise the quality, but still give it an extreme product range. And there's no easy answer to it. It's probably also a whole webinar to itself. So I would, I would say, find a good way to do both.
Robert Craven 52:39
Right, we would only reverse out of time. So two quick questions I'd like to ask the first one is, what next to Rachel, what kind of upcoming plans exciting things you can show others what you're doing? And then the final question will be what are the things you hear yourself saying to agency owners all the time that if you only were given $1? For every time you said it, you'd be the richest woman in the world? So first question, what's what's next? for what's next on your to do list? What are the next projects coming up for you?
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 53:13
So there's so many but but I guess the project that is most exciting to me at the moment, and pretty exciting for our agency partners is that we've recently launched an App Market, which is part of our platform, part of the platform I briefly showed you earlier, where small businesses can browse, you know, different business applications and plug them in. So they're accessing everything from one place. And what's really great is that this is all built on an open platform. So our partners can plug different applications and services into the app market. So if you're an agency and you're working with CW, you're also working with QuickBooks or with Revolute or with, you know, any other third party, you can actually create an SSO and have your customers access everything from one place, and that place has.
Robert Craven 54:04
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 54:06
Well, you know, we have an integration with Zapier too. So I love you. Okay, and your second question.
Robert Craven 54:23
One of the things you hear yourself saying an awful lot to agency owners, if you only had $1 for every time you said it.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 54:30
Oh, my goodness. So unfortunately, there's a long list here as well. So I guess if I had, if I had time to say all these things over and if I got $1 for all these things I said I would probably be on an island sipping a cocktail, somewhere Sunny. But unfortunately, I say these things over and over again, and I don't get $1 for each one of them. But I guess know that to answer it to answer seriously, I think for agencies, the most important important kind of guideline and I feel like this should be written on, on a wall in every agency is to be customer obsessed is to be absolutely, completely invested in the success of your customers and making sure that everything you deliver and everything you do is tailored for your customers success. And for it in the agency world, you're, you know, we and I'm sure everyone can relate to this. Customer success is our success. Happy customers are the customers that are at low risk of churn. They're the customers that pay steady at the end of every month. They're the customers that don't come knocking on our doors saying what did I pay you all this money for? So being customer obsessed, being super focused on the success of our customers, is what's going to make us as an agency super successful at the end of the day.
Robert Craven 55:59
Brilliant, lovely, as the person who wrote a book called customer is king. I couldn't agree more. Although the title now seems to be a little sexist. But that's why they changed.
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 56:10
Non binary came
Robert Craven 56:14
Well, I don't go into town many times taken out by many people, Chris, like, it was a long time ago. Rachel, thank you so much before you disappear, is there anything else you'd like to share with anything else? Let's share to us well, VCITA and what you're doing there generally,
Rachel Nulman-Schapiro 56:31
I'd like to thank everyone for tuning in. This has been fun. I hope so. I hope you've taken a couple of notes and that you've learned a couple of tricks. I think in VCITA, you know we've spent the best part of the past decade working on creating a great workflow for agency partners. So besides delivering the product, we also have become experts on training on sales enablement. We help agency sales, train their sales reps, so they can sell the VCITA. We help agencies support their customers with VCITA questions. So we have this kind of whole envelope of services that come together with a partnership. And yeah, you know, you guys aren't out there. If there's anything that you're interested in learning more about, you know where to find us, head over to VCITA.com/partners. And let's take it from there.
Robert Craven 57:27
Brilliant. Rachel, thank you very much for taking the care and the time to prepare the presentation and more importantly thanks for a really great presentation with fantastic content. It has been great talking to you. Thank you very much indeed.