The digital marketing landscape, as has the business of running an agency, has grown immensely over the last few years. Knowing how to help your clients better has an incredible role in how you do business, significantly when growing your agency.
Birdeye has worked with over 750 agencies, helping them serve their clients and grow their businesses.
In this blog post, we cover the session – “Growing your agency with Birdeye,” where Jaison Blais – Head of Birdeye Sales, spoke to JD Dammier, Owner of Bizinga and a long-standing customer of Birdeye.
Table of contents
Key takeaways from the “Growing your Agency with Birdeye” session:
- In this competitive landscape, it is essential to think beyond reputation. As much as possible, agencies must utilize all the products in Birdeye’s suite and add value to their clients.
- The proper onboarding process and the practice of showing up consistently with confidence and persistence help agencies grow faster.
- Running “proof of concept” pilots to demonstrate the product’s usefulness for the business can help better than most free trials.
- The more you sell value, the better. Communicating the benefits of being on Google Business Profile, Social media, webchat, and other omni-channel communication methods is essential.
- Be creative in engaging with customers post-sales to keep the relationship strong.
To know more about the conversations in this incredible session on growing your agency, watch the webinar below:
Growing your Agency with Birdeye Session Transcript
Jason: Hello everybody and thanks for joining us today at Birdeye View. Thanks for joining today’s session – Growing your agency with Birdeye. We are super excited that you’ve all joined us. We’re super happy to have JD Dammeier with us. JD is the CEO of Bizinga.
Bizinga is a kind of a large-scale digital agency. He’s the CEO; he runs it all- strategy ,operations, innovation growth for the business. Under his leadership, he’s got a massive omni-channel partner to really focus on inbox solutions empowering businesses to improve their overall communication processes, increase customer satisfaction which is what it’s all about if you’re going to be an agency. You’ve got to deliver value.
JD is super passionate about making sure that not just himself but his whole staff is delivering value to their partners and continues to drive new value for their partners and clients. Thanks for being with us today JD
“Birdeye gave us a better platform and a more stable platform. It also enabled us to be a lot better with multi-location type businesses.”JD Dammier
JD: I’ll tell you what, it’s a pleasure to be here.
Jaison: Thank you awesome. So, Bizinga is one of over 750 unique agency partners that work with us and I really appreciate you being here. We’re actually asking you to come in and tell some people that maybe you compete with how to grow their businesses in the agency world.
We at Birdeye, try to provide really valuable solutions to agency partners so you can resell them to add value to your portfolio and what you do for clients. So, JD I’d love to have to just kind of kick it off right here and get your background, overall experience, and your experience with Birdeye.
JD: I think it was 2014 or 2015 when we made the transition to Birdeye. We were using a different platform. Back then, it was just reviews, so we just had online reputation but it was really innovative at that time to text customers for reviews or email them. That was just taking off and we switched over to Birdeye mainly because we just started growing our agency and it was an Enterprise level software.
Birdeye gave us a better platform and a more stable platform. It also enabled us to be a lot better with multi-location type businesses. It was a phenomenal platform.
I’m also really excited about what’s happened in the past two years. We come to Birdeye – it’s great we grow our business, we grow our agency, we’re growing reputation. As crazy as it sounds, that’s all we did as an agency – it was reputation.
We have really grabbed the new products and features that have come out. We found that those really fit our clients and how we help them.
Easier is better. From the Inbox to Birdeye Social, especially Listings which is really big right now. So, yes, that’s how we started with Birdeye and where we are.
Jaison: I appreciate that piece of background very much. Thank you. So on the slide we have some information here. I wasn’t very familiar with CPaaS, UPaaS, but yes I knew SaaS. So, what are those acronyms?
JD: So CPaaS is a platform that provides developers with APIs, SDKs, and things like that to quickly adapt into a SaaS model. UPaaS is more of a unified communication system to put into that model. Birdeye and the Unified Inbox -it brings a lot of channels into one place , UPaaS is similar. It’s well beyond SaaS, it’s how you make SaaS work.
Jaison: Yes, a unified platform is really interesting and central to what we are. So, we’ve had a very long history like you said in online reputation management. But, it’s not just reviews with us anymore and especially how you use us. There is Reviews, Listings, Messaging, Webchat, Surveys, Referrals, Insights, and Benchmarking. That’s a lot of different tools that help you end clients to manage their business.
“There was time, when we got 100 Google reviews for a client in the first 5 days with Birdeye”JD Dammier
I would love to learn a little more about how you work with your business. Would you mind talking about your sales process and how you grow your business?
JD: We’ve probably tried everything right way back in the day. Right from the 14-day trial, the 30-day trial, and many such things. Honestly, the biggest takeaway was it didn’t work and there’s a reason it didn’t work. It was because people just didn’t want to learn a new platform in the beginning itself. They waited till the end of the 30 days to get moving and things didn’t work.
So, we moved into the five-day proof of concept. I said give me your last 30 days of customers and I want to see if this works for you. We would give them a bunch of reviews, it would be good and you know a couple things happen:
- number one: I knew they’d be a good customer for us because they actually had a client list and
- number two: We were able to perform and show them value before if we ever asked them for anything.
It really turned our business around.
Jaison: Yeah, This end of door strategy allows you to really make sure it works.
JD: So, yeah we don’t do a full setup on a five-day proof of concept but we learn
- how engaged customers are going to be
- how serious they’re gonna be
- if they have a CRM
It’s never about the price. I’ve had people ask me how much it is after five days and I usually tell them I don’t know, I just told you it was free for five days, we’ll worry about that when we get there right. I don’t even know if this is going to work for you, so don’t worry about it.
When you show the customer and say, hey look it works they’re actually really excited. So, there’s a lot of other things involved in it. When you go back to close it, one of the questions you’re going to get is okay , that was good for five days; what should I expect moving forward?
“The people that want to talk to you want to do it on the channel that they choose and if you’re not allowing it right now, that makes you a bad business.”JD Dammier
We tell, you gave me 30 days of names. I don’t see why it would change. So that’s what you should expect and put things back in perspective and go from there.
But, what you learn about the customer is their level of engagement, what they can do, and we’ve all been where they are now. Also, we know there’s people we know we can help. We go to Google and see they’re just terrible at reviews, but they’re not ready. So, sometimes a five-day approval concept works as it goes both ways. We don’t want to chase people if they’re not ready.
Jaison: I love that concept. I think that’s huge knowing who to spend your time on right because there’s a lot of people out there that you can help with your business. So, yeah I appreciate that. I think it’s very good advice.
So we have a lot of agencies and agency owners in this session. What advice would you give an owner of an agency to help them grow their business?
JD: I would say look at all the different products that are out there right now. If you’ve already got some clients, find the products that would fit that business. Whether it’s webchat, Facebook, Google, and something similar. Nowadays, it is important that you use platforms and also have people engage with it. Out of sight out of mind doesn’t work anymore.
Next, ask customers what they want to improve and things like that. I usually tell them what they need to improve, by checking their socials and reviews. This is very powerful.
Just if you go to the Google my Business profile, most don’t even have services or have chat turned on. When you do this and show them how to solve these problems, it works really well.
For example, I show them – I have this great Inbox (Birdeye Messaging) – It has Google, Facebook, Webchat, text messages – all coming in one place. We’re gonna make this very simple and it’s going to make you more efficient. Now, potential clients or business owners will tell you they don’t have time to manage all those calls.
Customers think there are gazillion people who will come to their business, but that’s not how it is. Get into their mindset and explain – The right people are going to come to your website, call you, go to your Facebook and such.
It’s not a flood of phone calls and digital communication. It is very simple – the people that want to talk to you want to do it on the channel that they choose and you’re not allowing it right now. That makes you a bad business. That’s a tough conversation.
Jaison: I love that yeah it but if I’m gonna get a lawn care person over, I expect them to tell me what kind of grass or sod we should have and tell me how often I should water the lawn, the plants. I don’t know what they do. When we work with clients, when we ask what they want to improve, it’s hard because they’re not digital marketing experts. They don’t even know how to answer those questions. They want more business, that’s all.
JD: Yep, you have to refine that sales process and keep asking what worked well and what didn’t. It’snt always perfect. This is an ever-changing game, so just communicate well and try to use terms or analogies they can understand.
Jaison: Yes. So, you mentioned utilizing all the products and continuing to sell into your base. Tell us, how do you know which products to present to a client? How do you know which ones to give at what time?
Also, we would love to hear how you think about upselling and or cross-selling to your existing base?
JD: Well, it’s like knowing when to tie your shoe – when it is untied. So, go to their Google business page, see if chat’s not turned on or they’re not very good at allowing customers to communicate with them via Google. You can identify opportunities like this.
Jaison: Also,you said the easiest sales here come from current customers. How do you continue to engage customers efficiently?
JD: Well, a lot of people don’t really talk to our customers very often. Because for example, in (Birdeye) reviews product, it can be out of sight out of mind as it’s automated. You have such an opportunity to share amazing additional pieces to the platform if you just reached out to him.
Sometimes we’ll talk to them throughout and sometimes we’ll have to follow up with them because we didn’t land the message correctly. So, let’s pick up the phone and call them. Usually, if they are on Birdeye, I would also do it right to their Inbox. So, from the Bizinga inbox because we use the platform too to their inbox. It also tells me if they are using the platform and gives me more to work with.
Jaison: Right, you also said 10 years ago SEO was about helping with digital ads. But, there’s so much more to help clients actually be able to grow their business and be able to respond and communicate. Omnichannel is the way of the world today.
JD: It is, it’s the only way to be productive. Another example is that I just had one of my clients – they do lawn care, hardscaping, and landscaping. I’m thinking about getting a lawn cut, I’m gonna be out of town for a couple months so I call them up. I was on Facebook so I just sent him a Facebook message. They got back to me, so yes, I want to communicate the way I want to communicate. I’m looking at your pictures online right now. Let me check it out.
Jaison: It feels so obvious when you say it, but it’s just so critical.
JD: The thing is what you do, how you shop, or how we interact with businesses is exactly how everybody interacts with businesses. It’s so easy to forget that. The basics are the basics no different than answering your phone. Did you know that 60 of all small business phone calls in America on a daily basis is not answered?
Think about it, what are we doing? Those are the highest intent leads you’re ever going to get. Someone picked up the phone and dialed your number. So, it is important for that business to be better, and I would tell them that.
Jaison: I love it, but let’s transition a little bit. As you know, this is a competitive space. There’s a lot of agencies out there trying to help businesses get better, improve their results and it’s a really big market. But, what do you advise people on how to compete against other other agencies?
JD: Yeah sure, I am learning that onboarding is so important. You have to just make sure that you take that customer under your wing right and take responsibility for it. Do the onboarding, do the setup and get off on the right foot. Tell that the team will call and push you and try to change your mind.
Be there for your customers. Next, be confident in the platform. Do not oversell it, just show up for the customers and try to be the best possible.
For example, we had a customer that got 100 Google reviews in the first 5 days with Birdeye. But it didn’t work out. We stayed patient and eventually, we pitched again and it worked out later. So, that’s important to do now as the next wave of products is just coming and going to keep coming. Reviews are now just an ancillary product, there is social media and AI, and so much more. That’s how you compete. Your competitor will grow with the products in Birdeye and that puts you in a tough spot.
We’ll use Jason as an example. If Jason does not partake in all the other products, he’s just using Birdeye for reviews that’s all it is and I walk. You’re in trouble. I will crush that deal because I’m gonna talk to him about it, show up, and tell about all the cool stuff.
Jaison: Love that. We keep talking about it, but also great reputation is just table stakes. You have to be found and seen. But if you can’t respond to them or they can’t connect with you, then you’re putting a lot of effort in not yielding at the end of the day what they want, which is engagement and customers. Then all other features are a very different value conversation.
JD: So, from Listings to Inbox, there’s pieces that don’t fit some businesses and that’s okay. Sometimes it’s an online business, they don’t need Listings, so it’s okay.
Jaison: What I love right now is you can hear it in your voice today JD. You’re competing with yourself right at the end of the day. A potential customer needs to know that you trust the platform and are confident and productive. Trust that you’re going to be somebody that’s going to be there for them and help them it’s not really about competing with another agency it’s about competing with yourself.
I think you know you definitely run your team that way. They have to be experts, they have to come in to make recommendations and help their clients.
So, the last thing I really want to talk about here is you keep showing up and the onboarding is important. Also, you use a lot of different tools for how you engage with customers. I don’t know if you want to share those secrets but what are some tips for how you stay in touch with and stay top of mind with your customers?
JD: I was just thinking about this the other day over the weekend and it was that I’ll engage with them on social media, I’ll like their posts and I’ll share their posts. Do some different things and another thing that I love to do is to create.
If I get this wild idea, I’m gonna start doing memes. It’s funny and it makes it a pleasant persistence strategy. I need to just be so persistent like if you’re an athlete. One of the best quotes I’ve ever heard is work so hard, be so good that the coach cannot not not put you in. So, be that good that a business can’t say no.
Birdeye’s user conference – Birdeye View 2023 is meant for businesses to understand opportunities, know their customers, and use the right tools to improve customer experience.
For more valuable conversations surrounding local businesses and technologies that can help them grow, tune into Birdeye View now.