As the head of partnerships at Invisible PPC, Scott O’Brien has a unique perspective when it comes to what makes a digital agency successful. In his 18 months with the company, Scott has had thousands of conversations with marketers and agencies, which has given him a different point of view and understanding of the industry most people will never have.
In this episode, Scott shares an insider’s look at the commonalities of successful agencies and the 80/20 to their achievements. We also get to discover the pain points and frustrations of struggling agencies and how they can overcome all of them in today’s market.
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Joe Troyer 0:53
Hey everybody, Joe Troyer, and welcome to show me the nuggets. Today we have on none other than Invisible PPC's own Scott O'Brien, the head of our partnerships program here. And I'm really excited to bring Scotty on and to really talk about what's working for successful digital agencies. In today's market, I think that Scott has a really, really unique perspective that I'm hoping to really share with you guys today. And that is Scott talks with a lot of you guys, he talks with a lot of marketers talks with a lot of agencies, and knows what's working for people that are successful, and people that aren't so successful, and people that are struggling in different parts of their agencies. And and I'm really excited to to bring Scott on. So Scott, man, without further ado, welcome officially to the show.
Scott O'Brien 1:49
Thanks Joe, appreciate it's brilliant to be here. So really appreciate the invite. Thanks.
Joe Troyer 1:53
Yeah, man, super excited to have you. Before we get too deep into things. Tell us a little bit about your background, if you will, and then how you got into the world of digital marketing and agencies as we know it.
Scott O'Brien 2:08
Yeah. So I've probably got a pretty unique background when it comes to digital marketing. And so about 18 months ago, I had no experience whatsoever, and very much newbie had no experience in relation to digital marketing. And to be honest, you could probably ask me questions about what MCC was what PPC was, and that I would probably be quite shocked and not really know the answer. And but basically, my background is education. So I'm originally a teacher working within secondary schools and primary schools, and worked for that for a good number of years before deciding to move into sales. And, and my passion has always lied with education. So when I left education, I moved into educational sales and worked with some phenomenal businesses selling products and services into schools, and majority of the time to help students achieve their goals and sort of grow, basically.
Joe Troyer 3:05
That's awesome. So then ultimately, you ended up somehow working at Invisible PPC. So how, how did that happen?
Scott O'Brien 3:15
It's all about who you don't sort about who you don't? So, basically, am I know Rob through through going to the gym or working out with Rob at the gym and, and, and Rob and I have trained together for years and and been friends for quite a long time. And Rob approached me probably about two years ago and saying, if there was ever a job at my place, would you be interested and I know nothing, and knew nothing about Rob other than how much weight he could lift, and watch how fit he was I knew nothing about his business. My answer was yeah, I'd always, I'd always be interested. So Rob permitted me to come and learn what does. And I sat in Rob's office for probably close to three months guys, and finding out Rob's job, what he does. And Rob fundamentally learning about me, my techniques, what I do and what makes me different. And this is probably not his words, but he probably said that, to me. The reason Rob employed me was my attitude towards my end clients. One of the things that I think makes me very unique is I very much put the end client, which in our case at Invisible PPC is agencies into the boardroom, so that they are included in the conversation and included into the things that we do. And that's what I've always done with all my other businesses. It's very much client focused client first, what can we do to better help students in my old business or that helps schools or now that help agencies
Joe Troyer 4:44
Yeah, I love it. Rob has said it many times I think in front of you and not in front of you that the reason that he wanted you to work at Invisible PPC so bad was because of your care for your customers and the people that you work with and ensuring that they get the result that they're looking for. And that they're really after. And he saw how much you fought for that in your past and in different jobs and careers. So I definitely think that that makes you unique, and such an asset for us that invisible and such an asset for the agencies that we work with. So that's awesome.
Let's jump in then. So fast forward, you start at Invisible PPC, you were kind of all over the map doing all kinds of different things. And now today, fast forward, your role is head of partnerships. Can you walk us through what role or head of partnerships at invisible PPC means?
Scott O'Brien 7:27
Yeah, so head of partnerships is all about the agency. So it's very much about focusing on what the agency needs, and making sure that we can deliver that. And so a day in the life of or what it looks like, for me is, I'm pretty much on calls with agencies every single day. And this is everybody from Hi, my name's Trevor, and I just want to start a business. I want to get into starting my first agency, how do I partner How do I work? How do I do that, to Hi, I'm running with 30, 40 PPC clients and looking to scale and looking at moving to find a fulfillment partner. And I'm basically, my job is to make sure that regardless of where the agency comes from, and regardless of their experience is that they get the same treatment through our service through our business so that they feel like the like any client should, and looked after supported and have all the information they need to grow, scale and build their business.
Joe Troyer 8:28
That's awesome. Um, so now that everybody understands kind of your background, and also kind of what you do at Invisible, um, how does education sales relate or compare or not relate to agency sales?
What are the things that are similar? What do you think is completely different? Just what are your gut reactions to that question, Scott?
Scott O'Brien 8:51
Yeah, so it's, it's complicated, but in, in some aspects, very simple, which doesn't make sense. But what I mean by that is, both of them have one core goal, and that is the end client is the person that's the success. So when we were in education, I was always selling to schools, or I was selling to large corporate schools, multi county trusts, we call them in the UK, and who were then looking for things that could improve their end client, who was the student, the end user was the student. And when it comes to agency sales, it's exactly the same. Working at invisible PPC, I'm speaking with agencies and making sure that agencies are feeling comfortable about the service they're offering. So fundamentally, they get the best possible service for their end client, who at the end is at this day is normally local businesses. So that kind of messaging that kind of thing is very, very similar. And as you're going through, one of the things that, again, is very similar is that each part of the businesses has the same investment. So invisible PPC, one of the things that you see is that we're very, very passionate about the end Client success, like, we don't touch the end client, actually half of the time, the negatives in our business is that we don't speak to them. So we don't get that feedback. But our goal and our passion is very much aligned with the end client. And that was exactly the same. when it was in educational sales, the software's the products, the services that we delivered, we're all very much focused on. Okay, how can we offer the best possible service for the end user, which is the student, or, in this case, the end client, which is local services.
Joe Troyer 10:30
I think what you brought up there at the end is so important, because ultimately, if we don't have the end clients, you know, desires and wishes in mind, then obviously, it can be very hard for our agencies to not only sell the product, but also retain long term. And without that it's no good for the agencies is no good for the end business. And that is no good for us, right? Like if deals are coming in and falling out as fast as they came in. You know, nobody, nobody wants to be in that business. So that's a really good point.
Scott O'Brien 11:02
I completely agree, completely agree. Like, it's really it's really difficult. It's a it's a difficult position to be in. But it's a super exciting one, because you're able to impact so many more people being well, we're at what we're doing. And so we know that invisible PPC, with the changes that we make, can really impact a lot of businesses. And all we need to do is we need to impact one or two agencies. And as long as they're doing as they normally do, and they're impacting 10 to 15 local businesses and how many lives, people that's improving is just fantastic.
Joe Troyer 11:35
Yeah, man, that's awesome. So I want to make sure that we capture your point of view in this interview, and I want to make sure that you are unedited, and that you're real in this interview, like you always are, I want to make sure that as head of partnerships, that your point of view on this podcast comes out, I think that you have a very unique perspective, in that you talk with so many agencies, and not like me talking from a platform or on a webinar, you're talking like one on one, and you're understanding their pains, their frustrations, you're having conversations over time, your relationship with agencies is very different than mine typically is. And you speak with all kinds of agencies. And you see then from I talked with this person, and then a week later, a month later, even a year later, you see them come through and start onboarding clients. And so you get to see a very different point of view than than most people do. And so I want to ask you some really blunt and candid questions that I think only you and your point of view can answer. So I'm curious like, from your point of view, what sets apart successful agency from a non successful agency from you speaking with them to a month later a year later, them onboarding clients then retaining clients? Like, what are the traits that you see like, oh, man, like, this guy is crushing it, this gal is crushing it like their clients love them. They're getting great results. Like, what what are the common traits? Because I know that you see them?
Scott O'Brien 13:10
Yes. So I think the fundamental thing for me is the fact that some agencies get caught up in the weeds, they get caught in their own their own issues, their own problems, and don't implement don't do and I know, loads of people say this, but it's the time and time again, I The main thing for me is if an agency comes to me and goes, Scott, would you look at this? What do you think that this? What's your ideas on this compared to Scott? Why do this, like that is a big change a different mindset, I, I am happy to help anyone. And this is sort of a probably a motto of mine. I'm happy to help anyone is happy to help themselves. And and the thing that I do see is if an agency comes to me and goes, for example, today, I've just had this, hey Scott, just watched this podcast and built this landing page thinking of this, this and this as a strategy. What do you think I'm reviewing that I'm sending a video to them to let them know and offering ideas and then that person, that individual is going to be a success? No questions about it, compared to the agency that's probably going to come across to me, and it's going to go, so I'm thinking of doing a tiered project. How much should I price my services for? Okay, this is an average we see. Yeah, but what should I price? I don't know. being completely honest. I don't know. Like, depends on your overheads depends on what you want to do. How many kids you got to put through college? It's, I mean, it's questions like that you just don't know. And that's probably one of the main things that I see is it if an agency is willing to help themselves, they will likely be successful. And yeah,
Joe Troyer 14:48
so that's, that's cool. Like you debunk kind of a pricing myth. Like is there some secret price out there Scotty that I like, I got to make sure I price my my packages or I'm not going to get the client or I'm not and succeed. I think you've just debunked that right there.
Scott O'Brien 15:03
Yeah, exactly. I think I think people just get caught up in their own their own thoughts and processes and thinking making things too complicated. That's probably the main thing like, this is really simple stuff. When you get down to it, it's very much I can deliver you more leads. Okay. Would you like more leads? Yes, it's going to cost this. Is that a good ROI? Yes. Perfect. Less. Like, it's, it's, it's not hard. And when people when agencies sort of get caught up in the, how do I get this? And how do I sort that or, if you're working with Invisible PPC, don't worry, we take care of 90% of it for you just turn up to a call. That's literally it. And but yeah, that's probably the main thing.
Joe Troyer 15:47
While while we're, while we're myth busting, um, when you look at our agencies, and you look at the ones that are doing really, really well, would you say that there's some like coveted niches that that they're in or there's like, all there's this thread that man, like, you got to be doing this type of niche, or this type of, it's got to be this type of average customer value, the deals have to close in this amount of time? Do you think that there's this crazy formula that's so articulate to pick your niche?
Scott O'Brien 16:19
There is there isn't a there isn't one at all, there really isn't one like, like, my, my thoughts on this, and my thoughts alone would be very much deal with people that you want to deal with, and talk with every day, and have or pick an industry you're passionate about, like, if you if those are the three things they will come across in your cause no matter who you're talking with, like, and I think that's the main thing for me, like, I think everybody sometimes gets caught up with a, what niche Should I go into, where should I go from here, this has been affected, or this is a super successful niche, because it's got really high always, like, you can be very successful micronesian, like a niche within a niche, pick a roofing and then pick flat roofs only like, like, you get that niche. There's enough customers out there to make you successful. Right, regardless of what niche you're in, and, and micro niching, down and niching down is, is said to be successful as it works.
Joe Troyer 17:19
I love it. I love it. So when you see when you think of successful agencies that work with us, and that you have a relationship with what do you think is like the 80/20? What do you think are like the things that they're concentrating on the things that are important? What are the commonalities that you see,
Scott O'Brien 17:37
for me, the main common commonalities we've seen between them is customer relationships, like, this is something that you could classify as a salesperson. And, and I would probably fight back because I'm not, I'm a relationships person, like 90% of my sales come from relationships I've built over a long period of time or clean over a course of things. So the first thing I would say is building relationships, and build the relationships. When the relate building the relationships, you're building the trust. And so there's the second thing would be the trust. And the third would be practice, you practice what you and you're preaching. And I mean, that is in the sense of go out there and practice to speak to clients and speak to customers find out what they want, like, find out what they need. And that type of stuff really works would be my main focus that front end stuff. And once you've got in case, then the next thing for me the process, like you can't improve anything you're doing unless you know it. And like, if you don't know what you're doing by your core, like you can't, you can't see anything like you've got to be seeing the process, you've got to understand it, refine it and work forward. The first thing is like getting out there and speaking to customers finding out what they need,
Joe Troyer 18:57
I love I was just going to write down something because because I thought it was really good man. You got to document the process, or otherwise you can't just see it. You said that and it just flew off the top of your tongue. But like to me that meant like, you got to slow down, you got to systematize your processes, you have to make sure that it's scalable, but when doing so that gives your brain the relief to be able to see the bigger picture. And to really be listening to your prospect and be understanding what they're saying versus just trying to figure out Oh crap, what's the next slide or the next thing I got to present like by you by you really systematizing out your sales process, your fulfillment process your your meetings, like all of your business, you then have the ability to actually listen. Right. And to see the bigger picture to correlate it back to what you just said that that's really good.
Scott O'Brien 19:52
That's really like, I think, hopefully most agencies that listen to this will agree but the main thing is that the we see the two main goals of an agency that they want to achieve along down the line is they want to build an agency to sell, or they want to build an agency that they do not have to be in the day to day running And if that's you, I'm telling you now, that is 99% of the people on this call, and 99% of the people I speak to every single day, that's their two goals, their two objectives. And when you're thinking of your nation, where you're working, they're going to have exactly the same, the route to that is different. So you're documenting your flow to that, and understanding, okay, where the customer is changing where customers interact differently, allows you to found allows you to understand how to better get your client to that goal quicker, like, what's the route that they should be taking? What should you be doing? And how can you document them to get there? I love that.
Joe Troyer 20:51
I love that. Yeah, I think that's definitely a common common traits of agencies that we're talking with, and you're talking with, about working with us, you definitely see those traits coming through. And we do see people that make it through the other side and end up hitting those goals. Let's switch for a second. And again, you got to be brutally honest with me. And with everybody here, when it comes to the non successful agencies. And that's really harsh. But what I want to say is that people that you've spoken with, in the past, and they're like, yes, got a great conversation, I'm going to onboard a client soon. And then six months later, you talk to him again, and it's the same conversation. And so the way I want to define non successful agencies is that they come to us they want to Problem solved. And then we just kind of keep going around the hamster wheel with them. Right? Like they never really progress from their current state that they talk to you about to the desired state, right of of what you just said, What do you think are kind of the mistakes or pitfalls, the things that you commonly see that make you like, that make you want to, like reach through the screen and just kind of shake somebody's like, what are the things that if you had to talk? Well, like, just make sure you don't? A, B, and C, right? Like, what would you say?
Scott O'Brien 22:12
Yeah, it's the fluffy stuff. So I find that quite a lot of agencies that will end up being on a call with me in three months time, four months time and have made very difficult progress, decide to focus on the things that aren't going to grow a business and have never grown a business. So like, yes, you could be scared of sales. And you could be scared of jumping on the call with somebody. But guys, this many options now to make a sale. Like you can do outreach through social media, you can do videos, you can do cold email, you can do phones, etc. And what you find is that agencies that were sort of famous, and that made no progress will have done fluffy stuff like,
hey, I've just made redesigned my landing page, you want to have a look at one page, or here's, here's a great new logo, or fantastic Oh, I've just bought this new, and I just bought this new domain name, and I'm looking at switching over into this, this niche, just, okay, you've you've not made any progress in your current niche that you disagree on you. You've haven't moved that out yet. Like what made you make that decision that's, and this new niche is, is run. And like I said, there's nothing wrong about switching niches like, if you find a new passion, or you've got something there, that's completely fine. I understand that. But going through the process all the way to the end to understand that it's been successful or not successful. Like that would be it. I think a lot of agencies get, do a lot of the things that they enjoy, and not the things that help grow a business.
Joe Troyer 23:43
Definitely, completely agree with that. So when it comes to agencies, and the services that we provide, we're obviously not everything to everyone, right? Like we do things. We have a core set of services, but between our core set of services, we really have like core services, who is who is our like, ideal candidate of people that we work with, like, let's say you get five people that come to you and you talk with them today. Who are the people that you get off the phone call and you're like, man, like those two people are going to crush it. Who are our ideal prospects? And maybe who are people that should consider maybe not working with us? I don't want to anti sell anybody. But let's be real about kind of who who the perfect candidates are for Invisible PPC.
Scott O'Brien 24:33
Yeah. And I think this is probably a luxury that Joe gave me and I think this is one of the best things about our business is the fact that I have and I'm able to refuse and tell people that we are not the right person for them by being completely honest. I was on a video call today and told a client today that I don't think they're ready to work with us yet. And, and the ideal agency, for us is somebody that has As a client already, and that client is existing within a specific service, so ideally a digital marketing service, they've gone through some pain points with them. So this can be anything from SEO to Facebook to PPC to, to website builders and website design. Like, if you've gone through some pain with your client, and you've you've seen it, you've got a client existing, and then are wanting to do PPC, we are likely right for you. And especially if you are in one of us and smart niches, and and the next thing would be you want to scale. But if you do not want to scale in PPC, we are not the right fit for you. And client came to us the other day, and hi looking to do PPC not really my bag not really interested just looking for somebody to take over this for me because I don't really want to do it. Really, we're not the partner for you. And I'm really sorry, but we're not the best fit for you. And we're not completely. Like, that's what we want each season want to grow. They want to scale care about their end clients, and they have experience in working with clients.
Joe Troyer 26:10
I think that's good. I think that we definitely see you hit on something there that somebody that has a portfolio of digital marketing clients with any type of service, we found very quickly, you found that they can sell PPC as an add on or as a new service and scale that service out very quickly, as opposed to a lot of people that come to us and have never sold any digital marketing services. You know, getting through that hump the first time seems like it's definitely the hardest point, you know, to get through thoughts on that. Is that a true statement? Or am I wrong?
Scott O'Brien 26:46
100%. True, like and we've got a client at the moment who on boarded with us two days, then. So last week, so last Wednesday, he would have onboarded with us he's only brought his second client. This is his he's established digital business, not running PPC on more than a second PPC plan in two weeks, like super successful in his own right on what he's doing went to scale. Yeah, he will, he will grow we will own grow and got clients at the moment just had a call with and he's and he's likely to do very well as well. He's got a digital marketing business already established and not PPC, but understands it understands PPC, why should you go for not as an additional service, and he will the land plants? No questions.
Joe Troyer 27:32
So I want to say something and tell me if I'm wrong. But like niching down, whether you pick a niche or your deliverable or what seems like it's really important for us based upon what I've seen, and then also almost productizing, so that you can scale is really important as well. Right? Like and if they do one or the other, like can they have success? Yes. But it's a whole lot more work a whole lot more effort. And it seems like we definitely don't see near as many success stories out the other side, so to speak of people if they don't kind of fall in those two buckets. Yeah,
Scott O'Brien 28:10
yeah, exactly. Right. There's like one of the things that we're looking for in this is we're looking for sort of agencies that again, want to grow want to scale, but one of the main things that we sort of come across is if they're willing to work and willing to commit into those, it's something that we see and we can do. And like for me, yeah, there's no problem to that.
Joe Troyer 28:31
Perfect, that sounds awesome. So, um, to be in the position that you're in now, you have to be a killer. When it comes to sales, I know that you say that your customer focused and right. It's all about the customer at the end of the day, but you've got to have some sales chops. So I want to ask, from your point of view with all of your sales background, what are some of the strategies and tips and tricks that you could share with the audience to help them sell to sell consistently? And like, more importantly, Scotty, like stuff that they can take away? Like right now like rapid fire, like Do, do this, change this to that, do that do this instead? What would the things be?
Scott O'Brien 29:14
Yeah. So first one, and I said this previously is build rapport. The first 30 seconds of your call, the first 30 of your second goal is build a relationship with your client, and have a general conversation with them. The reason for that is it instantly puts down the barriers, it starts the conversation correct. And you're insisting on a friend basis. Again, basics everyone knows. The second thing is listen and ask questions. You don't know what the client wants, unless you're asking the right questions. Now, as you become more focused on your niche and you understand that you understand the questions to ask because of the responses you get, but you want to be able to understand the objections they're going to have later on down the line to be able to close it. You want to understand what their reasons for what they're doing, what they're doing. This for Like I say, quite a lot of our agency owners are small time business owners that are looking to put kids through college. And if I know that, like if I already know that on a call, I know what we need to do and how many clients they need to get. So I can speak to them go, here's an agency just like you, this is what they've achieved over the last six months. This is the revenue that they've brought in. This could be you. And, and so that'd be my second thing is skimming, skimming questions. And the third thing, this is something that, I will tell you now, all sales individuals do very, very quickly, follow up, follow up. Like if you've got a sales team in place, and or a few yourself, I can see your follow up process is not good. Our follow up process is three months long if they don't touch us. And I think something like 25 touch points at different points. And guys, ours isn't good enough, ours is still isn't good enough, like build a follow up process that relates to your customers that keeps them on board that keeps on touch. If a customer isn't right now, it doesn't mean they're not right ever if a customer is saying no, I'm not ready to purchase yet. There's nothing to say that they're not in three months time gonna be ready to purchase. We've just had it recently, or the contact of mine. I've been in touch before now from Facebook has just came on boarded, purchased within a matter of minutes straight on straight onto an onboarding call and free. So yeah, follow up, follow up, follow up that would be my 3 mate.
Joe Troyer 31:39
Definitely, I think you you kind of went over to like you care so much about the customer and their outcome that ties in to building rapport that ties into the second thing you said, I think that that's really important too. And you're going to bat for that person on a lot of people forget that. And I think the other thing with you when it comes to all your calls is that you make it enjoyable for the other person, right? And you come happy and you ask him questions, and you ask about them. And so it's really hard to show up to us call with Scotty and not be like that was a phone call and smiling and like you always sign off the calls. What do you do when you sign off a call? What do you do? By?
All right, yeah, I have a great day. Right
now, like everybody at the company does that. And so it's it's hard not to come off that call and be like that was a good call. Right? smiling and happy. What do you guys think that that does, you know, for your sales calls. And I can say that mine aren't always like that. Right? But Scotty definitely, you know, encourages me to do better, right? You're a great role model in that regard. And so I try to copy it, I try to make the kind of mundane calls that I have a little more enjoyable by by Scotty rubbing off on me. So much appreciated. But so I want to wrap it up with one quick question. Thanks so much. This has been great. I feel like at the end of like every podcast, podcast hosts always asked like, what are your favorite three books, and I like that. But I'm like a voracious reader. But the book has to be good. I'm either going to pick up the book and I'm going to read it in like one city. I'm going to pick it up. And I'm going to go ahead and just toss it and I'm okay with tossing it to and not reading it, starting it and not finishing it. But I always like to ask my guests people that I admire people that I want to talk to, you know, what's your favorite book, right? As you look at your life, you look at the way that you live life. You go after your career, your profession, like what do you think is the best book that demonstrates kind of you and where you're at? Yeah, it's
Scott O'Brien 33:44
probably a difficult one I've been completely honest. I'm not a huge reader. I'm I'm massive into podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts go through that way. And my my books sort of what I would go for probably the best one for me and was one that I read quite recently, which was and I think 50 million 50 million Coach $50 million coach or something, and which is about an individual that was a coach for the likes of people at Google, etc. And, and that was a thing for me that was really interesting, really interesting to read, etc. And, but like I say, mine's short snippets, so they'll probably be my best book. But yeah, and yeah, I'm short snippets. I'm a podcast guy, a half minute, two and a half speed by 10 minutes. Get as many podcasts in as I possibly can. And it's got recommendation for that. And this sounds probably really simple and but it would be a stroke. And so just a simple recommendation. But Castro you can filter it you can put your podcasts on you can filter through them, you can get rid of all the sound, you can play it as a podcast and go through it like game changer. So that's number one. game changer for sure.
Joe Troyer 34:53
game changer for sure Definitely left a nugget there with with Castro. So Scott, man, thank you so much for for coming on. Hope you guys enjoy this episode, a very different kind of non typical episode where you guys are able to see literally behind the scenes of invisible PPC see what's working and more importantly, maybe even not working inside of literally hundreds, if not thousands of agencies. And I'm excited that Scott you were able to come on we're able to connect and have this show for everybody. And I know that there'll be a bunch of people coming over to invisible because of the show. So thanks so much, man for coming on. Really appreciate it.
Scott O'Brien 35:29