50% of SME agency founders struggle to market themselves effectively

The two most difficult aspects of an SME agency leader’s role are sales and marketing and creating long-term value, according to research commissioned by Waypoint Partners. The research among 150 UK SME agency leaders and founders found that half (50%) struggle with the job of fuelling their agency growth through sales and marketing while around the same number (46%) struggle with the task of creating and growing long-term business value.

In response, Waypoint Partners has launched Agency Partner, a new digital advisory service for founders and leaders of small to medium-sized agencies, that will directly address these, and other, barriers to growth. Agency Partner will work with agency leaders, who might not otherwise be able to afford such services, providing advice, expertise and the crucial tools needed to grow their business.

Agency Partner’s growth advisory team includes industry veterans Phil Gripton, Jamie Learmont, Martin Ward and Steven Mallon who are all well placed to advise agency leaders and support them to make better decisions and positive changes which will ultimately accelerate their growth and improve both personal and agency performance.

Following the success of a pilot project in 2021, Agency Partner is opening to the wider market. The programme focuses on the six most critical areas that affect agencies including creating value, sales and marketing, finance and operations, leadership, people and talent and M&A advisory. Members will also have access to a network of like-minded leaders enrolled in the programme to share experiences, test and refine ideas and collaborate. 

Cameron Coutts, Agency Partner Product Management Lead at Waypoint Partners, said: “While smaller agencies are providing highly valued marketing services to their clients, our research shows that many of them are struggling to follow their own advice and put in place effective marketing plans to fuel growth. Sage professional advice on turbo-charging agency growth has up until now only been available to the larger more mature players in the market. Agency Partner, however, is designed specifically for agencies with ambition who are still early in their growth journey, who have smaller turnovers and less sophisticated sales processes and abilities. By democratising “growth advisory” to support SME agencies, we can enhance overall agency performance, sales efficacy, and the value of the sector as a whole.

“This programme will help agency leaders expand their market intelligence and focus on the specific primary drivers for their growth. Agency Partner equips leaders with expert advice, tools, and content in a way that works around their schedule and affordability, enabling them to benchmark their business performance and access expert advice to drive their agency forwards.”

Multi-award-winning agency, Speak Media was one of the businesses that participated in the pilot project for the programme. Over the past ten years, Speak Media had achieved good successive growth and were delivering well for major brands. However, the management team wanted to define the right path to meet the company’s growth ambitions.

Paul Williams, Founder of Speak Media, said: “Agency Partner has provided a robust framework to support our strategic growth planning. Our business is now underpinned with a three-year plan aimed at quadrupling revenue and we are already seeing the sequential growth and faster progress we desired. We are continuing to build the competency of our senior management team, maturing the business as we scale. And with a new value-based sales approach, we are successfully communicating our offer to build a stronger pipeline.”