Your employees are some of the greatest advocates for your agency, which means it is critical to help them understand your agency’s identity. From day one, new hires should get a sense of what your agency is, what its mission entails, and what sets it apart from competitors. By immersing new hires in your agency’s framework, you can ensure their success and the longevity of your agency.

Although this might sound more easily said than done, it’s not as difficult as it seems. New hires’ understanding of your company comes down to how you educate them and position the information in a way that explains why they should care.

For instance, why does your value proposition matter to them as individuals? Why is it critical that they help you win new business? How will their efforts impact their development as well as the agency’s growth?

By helping new hires understand the “why” behind your culture, target audience, and approach to business development, you will foster advocates who can ensure your agency’s success. But where do you start?

When onboarding new hires, make sure you cover these three things:

Clarify Your Finder’s Bonus

New hires are typically bursting with excitement and eager to dig into their new roles and learn what they can about your agency. This is an optimal time to ask them about recruiting new clients and reward them for their efforts. Just make sure to fully communicate what your ideal client looks like and what your reward system encompasses. If you don’t outline clear expectations, your new hires won’t know where to aim.

There are different ways that agencies can reward employees who bring in clients. Make sure your new hires understand what your particular agency’s methodology is. Some agencies offer flat bonuses for client or employee referrals as long as the prospects meet their ideal client or team criteria. 

Other agencies only award bonuses if the new clients or employees come on board and last past a set trial period, usually 90 days. However you decide to structure your agency’s finder’s bonus system is up to you, but it is important that you communicate the nuances to new hires. That way, they understand what you are asking them to do.

Emphasize the Value of Niche Marketing

When you ask new employees to help communicate your agency’s value proposition to potential clients, you need to make sure they understand your agency’s specialized focus — and why it’s valuable. Some agencies fall into the trap of thinking that they need to be everything for everyone rather than sticking to well-defined markets. Tom Spitale calls this “lukewarm tea syndrome.” Say one audience likes hot tea, whereas another likes cold tea. Agencies that try to remain in the middle (i.e., lukewarm) end up pushing away both audiences.

Hopefully, your agency has learned to avoid this problem and has created a defined target market and positioning statement. Share that information with new employees so they understand why a niche market will be more profitable than a generalized one. Introduce them to your marketing team to help them learn how to talk about the agency and its focused offerings. 

All of this will give them the information they need to advocate for your agency and secure more business. The more you can get employees on board with your niche audience and keep all teams moving in the same direction, the more valuable your agency becomes to both current and future prospects.

Highlight the Most Efficient Ways New Hires Can Find Clients

The selling landscape has changed, and very few agencies are still successful at selling the old ways through trade shows, cold call lists, and the like. Today’s clients are seeking out vendors on their own; they are not interested in sales pitches. According to our research, 85% of decision-makers found their agency partners, not the other way around. So, rather than doubling down on outbound marketing efforts, you must focus on being “findable.” The best strategy for doing this is to develop lots of content for prospects who are interested in learning more about your agency.

Your new hires might not be versed in updated business development processes. That’s OK! Explain how the funnel has evolved into four stages: macro, micro, nano, and existing. At the macro level, you try to reach prospects who don’t know you exist by sharing your thought leadership. When it comes to the micro section of the funnel, you start to tailor content for specific audiences. The nano stage is when you narrow down your prospect list to 25 companies and become more assertive in your efforts. Finally, at the existing level, you create something for your current clients so that they feel valued, too.

These updated processes lend well to onboarding new hires. By the time prospects reach the nano stage, they should already be familiar with your company. They might have read your whitepapers, listened to your podcast, or reviewed your blogs. As your new hires learn the ins and outs of your agency, they can contribute to the macro- and micro-level content you are creating. 

Additionally, because they might have also found you in similar ways to prospects during their job searches, new hires can speak to topic areas you might not have covered or communicate what questions they had during the hiring process. If their questions overlap with prospects’ questions, you can fill in the gaps before they become major obstacles.

From the second a new hire joins your agency, you have an opportunity to educate them on your company’s rewards system, niche audience, and selling methodology. Primed with this knowledge and the motivation to advocate for your agency, your employees can naturally win over prospects in organic, genuine ways. In a changing world where building a client base is more about thought leadership and being “findable” than anything else, leveraging the power and influence of employees in finding new prospects is more valuable than ever.

Drew McLellan

For over 30 years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. For 26 of those years, he has owned and run an agency. Additionally, Drew leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small- to medium-sized advertising agencies on how to grow and build their profitability through agency owner peer networks, consulting, workshops, and more.

View all posts by Drew McLellan