“I’m a recovering startup CEO.”
Sometimes I get a laugh when I introduce myself that way on calls or in meetings, but it’s the truth. Back in 2009, I decided to start a SaaS company. Five years and two funding rounds later, I sold it. Needing a break from building software, I decided I would spend some time in the agency world, and I started to notice a trend.
With all the software out there, with all the self-serve SaaS tools (not so dissimilar to the one I created), the agency model was being disrupted, and perhaps even displaced by self-service tools. Now that the shoe was on the other foot, and I was representing the agency, how was I going to cut through the clutter and win business? I knew agencies were useful, but it became increasingly difficult to show potential clients the value of the agency.
Then, as has happened many times before in my entrepreneurial existence, serendipity struck and I meet someone from G2 Crowd who would go on to present me the opportunity to do just that.
“We’re transparent,” he said. “And we use data to fundamentally change the way people buy software and services.”
After many more conversations we came to the heart of the matter: G2 Crowd is going to do for the B2B service sector what it is exponentially growing in the B2B software space. And if the vision wasn’t enough to get me excited, Accel partners, the kingmaker of startups, was a major part of a $30 million funding round to reach this vision (LinkedIn was part of that funding round too). Talk about third-party validation.
So, I have been given an unbelievable opportunity here at “the crowd” to do a couple of really cool things:
- Ensure agencies have a place in this brave new world by having agency experts who can manage this for their clients
- Give agencies the chance to have validation of the great work they do with their own service profiles
In my first quarter, a proverbial baptism by fire, I will admit, I have noticed three important trends with some of our early agency adopters.
1. Clients are asking
When a site gets over one million uniques a month, companies notice. Sizable agencies have approached us because their clients have quite simply demanded it. I find this a very interesting insight. The larger agencies are in bed with their clients and have long-standing relationships. I’m not saying they are fireproof, but they are deeply ingrained into the DNA of how their clients operate.
Mid-sized agencies, take note of this trend. As someone who has been in smaller business for most of her life, I know first hand that the little guys do not have the luxury to wait for their clients to ask. The smaller fish need to know what their clients need well before they ask. Becoming an expert in the art of the G2 Crowd profile is an opportunity for any mid-sized agency to become the go-to resource for their clients. I will be spending a lot of the next few months educating agencies all over the world on this chance to be at the early stages of something quite big.
2. Competitive Intelligence
Gone are the days when, as marketers, we have to “go with our gut.” We live in a world of rich data, and we need only to look in the right place. We ask 36 questions to every reviewer on G2 Crowd, which means you can understand which area your clients are winning in, and which areas need improvement. You can tailor their marketing message, and use third-party validation to strengthen it. Imagine pitching a client already knowing what their weak spots are, and ready with a campaign designed to address this? With our data you can be armed and ready to win the client, and once the client is won, to perform to a higher standard than previously possible. Knowledge is power here, and G2 Crowd will arm you with that knowledge.
3. Agencies win more clients
Agencies who rely on our data for their clients can also reap the rewards of having a profile. So, while G2 Crowd data is powering competitive intelligence, and the profiles are powering brand awareness and lead generation, each agency can (and should) have their own profile so their clients can review them. This closes the loop and becomes a virtuous circle — deliver value to your clients and they have a platform to tell the world how awesome your agency is.
I will be at the the iMedia Agency summit, discussing the Future of Media from October 2 to 4, 2017, in New Orleans, LA.
If you will be there (or if anything in this post resonates), let’s connect 🙂 : firstname.lastname@example.org