By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

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We were thrilled this last time to talk to Dan Englander,  in an episode called, “The Death & Bright Future of Marketing Agencies

Big thanks to our sponsor,

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Dan Englander is the founder of Sales Schema and he is also the host of the Digital Agency Growth Podcast.

There are so many different options across digital and non-digital. Is it possible to have a full service? As nice as it would be to have one agency, one throat to choke, is it feasible for any organizations to still have that even those large businesses like maybe CPG Brands that require that big thinking? This is just one question I ask Dan.  I also ask him to talk about how companies should think about this and about what he sees with marketing service companies in terms of their ability to find and win big deals.

You’ll also hear him share what he sees in terms of their sophistication around sales pipeline strategy.  We touch on multichannel marketing and a lot more.  Listen in and/or read the transcript below:

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Paul:  Hey, it’s time to jump on board the Sales Pipeline. See if we can’t ride it all the way to shore with the man waving the flag and guiding us in, it’s Matt Heinz. Hey, Matt.

Matt Heinz:  Hey, Paul, how are we doing?

Paul:  I’m doing good. We’ve missed you. You’ve been traveling the world. Every time I turn on TV, there you are with some famous personality. You got your arm around them. You’re with Elon Musk. You’re with a Richard Branson. You’re all over the place.

Matt Heinz:  There must be some other Matt Heinz.

Paul:  Oh, it wasn’t you? Oh, okay.

Matt Heinz:  No. It wasn’t me. No. We’ve had a couple of reruns. We’ve had a couple of recorded shows. It’s summertime, Paul, and I had spent a little time on the beach. I wasn’t that far away from you actually.

Paul:  Really.

Matt Heinz:  I was down with the family. So my wife is from north of San Diego and we live in Seattle, which is different weather than you have down there.

Paul:  A little bit.

Matt Heinz:  You have beach drizzle. We have nine months of the year more than drizzle. So my deal with my wife is that we will live up here, my business is up here, we’re raising kids up here. We both enjoy it up here, but every summer we go down for 10 plus days and rent a house in North County, San Diego, kind of around Encinitas and just basically have a schedule of lazy mornings, beach time, tacos, naps, repeat.

Paul:  You’re talking about my daily life.

Matt Heinz:  It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to live it, right?

Paul:  That’s right. Exactly here.

Matt Heinz:  Probably not that far away from our guest today who’s in New York, where I’m sure it is just, it’s not hot. It’s not humid. It’s New York in August, which I’m sure is just pleasant as all get out.

Paul:  Always, always. Not the New York I’ve visited in August, but maybe this year.

Matt Heinz:  Oh my Lord. Well, I’m East coast bound myself next week. I’ll be going a little north. I’ll be in Toronto next week so hopefully not quite as bad, but anyway, thanks everyone for joining us on another live episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. Very excited to have our new sponsor, Intercom, with us. You’ll hear more about them a little later and they’ll be with us a for much of the rest of 2019. So thanks very much Intercom joining us as a proud partner and sponsor here on Sales Pipeline Radio. If you’re joining us live on the Funnel Media Radio Network, thanks so much for making us part of your work day. If you’re joining us on the podcast, thanks so much for making time for us.

This is a busy time of year for me podcast-wise, Paul. We are coming up on the college football season. A couple of my favorite college football podcasts are doing their conference previews. It takes a lot of times so if you’re fitting us into that with everything else that’s out there, thanks so much. We are well over a hundred thousand listeners now and continue to grow at an accelerated pace, so thanks for that and every episode of Sales Pipeline Radio past, present and future always available up at We’re featuring some of the best and brightest minds in sales and marketing, B2B sales and marketing every week.

Today is absolutely no different. Very excited to have with us today, Dan Englander, he is the founder of Sales Schema and he is also the host of The Digital Agency Growth Podcast. Dan, thanks so much for joining us today.

Dan Englander:  Thanks, Matt. Yeah, I really appreciate it.

Matt Heinz:  When your team and my assistant, they asked us, how do we want to title this episode? What I chose was “The Death and Bright Future of Marketing Agencies.” Because I think you have an interesting story. You started as what you self-describe as an agency accounts grunt in New York. And so for anyone who has worked at an agency early in their career, I was in a PR agency, we all know what that means. You sort of have seen the downfall of the traditional agency model and your business now helps boutique specialist agencies win those bigger clients. When I say, the death and bright future share of marketing agencies, it doesn’t necessarily mean the same agencies are coming out the other side, right? Talk a little bit about what that means and what you’ve seen in the market.

Dan Englander:  Well, and speaking in broad strokes here, so there’s always exceptions. There’s always going to be agencies that are still doing what they’ve done for 30 years and are kind of making it work. But I think that there’s a lot of volatility and disruption like there is with every other industry and walk of life was a little thing called the internet. So what we’ve seen, and this obviously goes well beyond my time and then doors is somewhat kind of a realm of consolidation where there were a few players, there were big agencies of record like Madmen and that sort of thing. There’s a lot less consolidation. There’s a lot more disruption in the form of smaller shops springing up all the time, and then a lot wider use of skillsets that brands can draw from.

So it’s like every other walk of life where it’s erring towards the long tail and erring towards specialization. And the highest leverage point for brands, and this applies to our company too and the way that we’re helping agencies. Working with small groups of specialists over kind of shorter, faster moving time horizons as opposed to getting stuck with a AOR or kind of build something in-house, they don’t know how to build and becomes really expensive and risky and is frankly outside of their core competencies. That’s kind of like the by-in-large trend that we’re seeing, but the better agencies are sort of getting on top of these days.

Matt Heinz:  We continue though to see in the market, I’m assuming you may see it as, well, especially maybe bigger organizations that are used to hiring large agencies that can do all the things, right. And we’re looking, you’ll still have people talking about having an agency of record and it certainly seems like the decentralization and the sort of rapid explosion of so many different diverse sets of media and sets of communication channels. It makes it really, really hard for one agency to own everything.

Is not like it’s magazine, it’s newspaper to TV, it’s radio and that’s it. Now, what was three or four options is now so many different options across digital and non-digital. I mean, is it possible to have a full service? I mean as nice as it would be to have one agency, one throat to choke, is it feasible for any organizations to still have that even those large businesses like maybe CPG Brands that require that big thinking? How should companies think about?

Dan Englander:  Yeah. It’s a really good question. There’s obviously not a one size fits all. This is something that we’re all kind of trying to figure out now, so I’m not going to have the perfect answer. But the way that I see the AORs being effective still is what if someone’s in mid-spaces. We’ve had clients that are agencies of record just for B2B industrial and they literally take over all the needs of a factory. And that I think works really well because the factory is so far outside of their core competency to be dealing with marketing on almost any level. And they can, once they really, really understand the business then they can do really well and it kind of makes a lot of sense for them to handle everything.

But I tend be skeptical in this day and age about the utility of a giant agency of record serving all the needs for Coca Cola or something like that. Because things are moving so fast and I think that opportunity costs tends to be a lot higher stuck with one agency for too long. Plus understanding of the technology, I think we’ve talked about this before perhaps a little bit. But navigating something like 50,000 pieces of technology, 50,000 ad tech companies is really hard too. So to have one group of people that is probably offloading a lot of that work to smaller shops anyway, and that’s not a secret to anyone becoming more, less effective, if that makes sense.

Matt Heinz:  I agree with that. We’re talking today on Sales Pipeline Radio with Dan Englander. He is the founder of Sales Schema. And talk a little bit about what you see with marketing service companies in terms of their ability to sort of find and win big deals. What do you see in terms of their sophistication around sales pipeline strategy and what are some of the places, what are some of the biggest efficiencies that you tend to have to go and focus on to help them build more pipeline?

Dan Englander:  Yeah, it’s a great question. And by in large, most of the agencies that we work with and that we see out in the market have built themselves up on referrals and personal networks, and they get to a spot where that’s not working anymore and they’re well aware that it’s not working. And then they kind of get into this mode of trying to do sales as a hobby and trying to do sales in their spare time. And then they get caught off course with different tactics and shiny objects when really they haven’t really built the human capital out, the actual people to go out there and do all the things that are sophisticated that you’re talking about on your show every week.

So where they’re starting from is kind of at a place of trying to get relationships and trying to get new business more consistently outside of their personal networks, not something that we’re helping them out with a lot. Because what we find is a lot of times there’ll be trying to build a sales team in-house, but it’s, a, based on knowledge they don’t have yet and it’s also a very expensive and risky proposition. Because your listeners in New York here are familiar with predictable revenue and the platonic ideal of a sales team and all of these things that are really required to make it all work, and there’s different variations on them. There’s not like a perfect model for it, but it essentially takes a fulfillment process and a team.

Our whole value prop is kind of be that in a more ready to go away that’s, again, practicing what we preach, specialized on a niche or on marketing service companies basically if that answers the question.

Matt Heinz:  It does. Yeah, and I think when I first got started about 11 years ago, had a friend of mine that was running an agency and I asked him, this is around 2008 and his response to sales pipeline was, “Well, the phone used the ring and not doesn’t ring as much anymore.”.

In that time there’s been a lot of flossiness around the idea of inbound. Like if I get enough traffic, that’s just gonna solve my lead problem. Well, inbound doesn’t really solve for quantity or quality. There’s no predictability around it. And even if you get an inbound lead, I mean, I think for those that have gone through this process, a qualified lead doesn’t close itself. So talk a little bit about sort of the idea of building deal flow, but also creating a more disciplined approach to managing and converting the opportunities that are in front of you.

Dan Englander:  Yeah, it’s a good question. In a lot of it is sort of like an initial mindset too, from I’m talking to people, I want to talk to people when they’re solution-aware to I want to talk to people when they are problem-aware and before they get to that solution-aware stage. Because at that point, with the amount of competition, I mean, the flood of marketing services. But in time somebody’s solution-aware, unless you’re just really lucky, it’s unlikely you’re going to be in touch with them on a level that’s quantifiable enough to sustain your agency.

So the first thing is just kind of getting somebody for us to be partnered with in the agency that is excited and motivated to be talking to people at an earlier stage. That’s kind of the first step. And then from there, I think we’re seeing a lot of situations where people are still tied to that kind of stuck in this reactive mode of we’re going to have a good conversation and then hit us up later when you have a need. And that very rarely works because guess what’s going to happen? That great conversation you had with the CMOs six months ago, they’re going to forget all about it. They’re going to get busy, you’re going to get busy and then they’re going to re-mobile this thing for the top six months later. And then whoever happens to be in front of them in their inbox, in their search results or whatever it might be, is going to be the one that wins the business. And that could be you if you’re lucky, but it probably won’t be.

So a lot of what we’re doing is kind of recommending ways for our clients to get people in the door sooner. I mean, for us and our business it happens to be a paid strategy and audit, kind of going through their situations, suggesting something helpful, regardless of whether or not we implement it. And our better clients, whether they’re selling big web projects or they’re selling consistent marketing services have usually something to that effect that’s kind of specific to their industry.

And this is back to specialization again. That process is figuring out what that thing is, becomes a lot easier when you have constraints, when you don’t have a million markets that you’re serving. When you might have like two or three and eventually maybe just one. So that’s kind of the first thing from there and I could go a lot further into the tactical stuff in terms of what we’re doing and we’re building out, but I’ll leave it to you.

Matt Heinz:  No, I think it’s super helpful to hear. And I think that you mentioned sometimes people’s urgency to buy or people’s timeline to buy isn’t necessarily ours, and we see that across many different industries in different size and types of companies. And at the same time, while it may feel kind of like simple and random that the buyer just follows up with whoever was right in front of them most recently. It’s also the solution to sort of getting some of those deals back is almost just as simple, just continue to follow up, right? I mean just don’t go dark and hope that they’re going to remember and hope they’re going to be there for you when they are ready.

Well, we got to take a quick break. We’re going to have to pay some more bills. We’ll be right back on Sales Pipeline Radio. We got more with Dan This. He is the founder of Sales Schema. We’re going to be talking about multichannel marketing. Talk a little about his podcast. Might even get into a little Brazilian jujitsu, Paul. Maybe, we’ll see. We’ll be right back on Sales Pipeline Radio.

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Paul:  And we’re going to flip it back to Matt, see if he can work in all that he promised.

Matt Heinz:  I will. We’re going to try and I was going to make it harder by asking you a question.

Paul:  Okay.

Matt Heinz:  So for those of you who don’t know, this is an audio podcast, we don’t do the video. This is not the Mike and Mike Show on ESPN. And as we’re recording this, I always have a video up of Paul in his studio down in Beach Drizzle, California.

Paul:  That’s right.

Matt Heinz:  So I can see him giving me signals on when we need to sort of wrap things up and when we need to go to commercial. I can’t help but notice behind you, Paul, is that a how to play the ukulele, is that a ukulele song book behind you?

Paul:  That is, behind me here. I’m trying to teach myself. I figured when I’m sitting at the beach, I got to do something here, so I’m trying to learn the ukulele.

Matt Heinz:  It’s phenomenal. I thought it was so cool. One of these days, I mean, I love our bumper music. It’s that cool guitar riff. One day I want you to do a cover with the ukulele and that could be a transition of what we do.

Paul:  I like it.

Matt Heinz:  Speaking of transition, we were going to talk about Brazilian jujitsu, but maybe instead we should talk about, did you know that our guest today, Dan Englander, He’s the founder of Sales Schema, he was also previously the hip hop director-

Paul:  Whoa.

Matt Heinz:  … at KZSC radio station in Santa Cruz. He was the host … Wait for it … of the Danger Zone Radio Show. Dan, can you please talk a little bit about…

Paul:  And he’s got to talk about the banana slugs up there too.

Matt Heinz:  Well, that maybe too. That’s true. He did get his bachelor’s degree in history at UCSC. So go, Banana Slugs, go. But I really want to hear more about Danger Zone.

Paul:  Yeah.

Dan Englander:  Yeah. This is like a This is Your Life episode. I feel as if somebody shook me and said, “Hey, Santa Cruz didn’t happen. It was all just a weird dream, a trip that you had.” I would have to second guess myself because it was basically show that first started at 3:00-6:00 AM and then I gradually got promoted for the 10:30-12:30 AM slot. And if you’ve ever been to Santa Cruz, they have one that’s kind of the more classic like hippy college radio stations that’s been around and it’s this little cabin out in the Redwoods basically. So when you would have guests on and everything and people would like rap into the mic.

And yeah, that was kind of my start with what would become the podcast I have now, which I think is probably less exciting than having a bunch of Oakland rappers all the time on The Danger Zone, but it helps pay the bills and so on.

Matt Heinz:  Well, talk a little bit about what it takes to sort of create engaging content today, right. Because this is Sales Pipeline Radio, we talk about sales pipeline stuff, we talk about B2B. I make fun of Beats Drizzle the beginning of calls sometimes. So Paul and I will talk about University of Minnesota football. University of Michigan football, sorry, I got it wrong. See that’s like if you tell me I went to Washington State University, that’d be very bad. Sorry about that.

One of my favorite podcasts in college football’s called The Solid Verbal, and partly it’s interesting because those guys are funny, they’re engaging. They talk about pop culture. They do Q&A episodes during the off-season and half the Qs have nothing to do with football.

So talk a little bit about how do you have a business-focused podcast? I mean, you’ve done a lot of print stuff, you’ve got podcasts, you’ve done a lot of different media. How do you keep it focused but also keep it interesting?

Dan Englander:  Yeah, it’s a really good question. I think that’s a really good point. Some of my favorite sports stuff like Grantland and then now The Ringer covers all sorts of different things, and it really doesn’t really clash. It kind of weirdly all blends together and has the certain tone and brand to it.

I think for us, it’s been about me kind of getting to lord over my own domain and have the people on that I think you’re going to be fun to talk to you about things beyond just business. And then that sounds selfish and all, but I think it creates a more entertaining episode for everyone. So in the past it’s been my friends who have agencies and us having an episode where we’re just drinking wine or whatever. But the thing that I’m always negotiating with myself is always going through foreign jujitsu stuff we’re into. Like with jujitsu, all my friends and I like tried to choke each other three times a week and I was like, I always wondered are these interesting metaphors for people or are these just kind of getting in the way of things? But I think you have to have fun with.

The thing I like about podcasts is it’s just a much better way for, at least for me personally, to do that for my business because I get to do free birds with one stone. I get to talk to interesting people, I get to create content, and then I basically get to do it in a way that isn’t amazingly time consuming compared to writing like 10,000 word blog post or something like that, so that’s kind of how I’ve approached it.

Matt Heinz:  Well, if you do it right, I think you basically do write close to a 10,000 word blog post just with the podcast itself. If you take an edited version of this, you put it up on your site as Q&A, it should be quite a few decent keywords in there that the search engines.

In addition to the fact, I guess I should say that a lot more people are listening to podcasts. The more and more I listen to the successful podcast, they’re not people that have engineered a particular format. They’re like, I did something I would listen to, I did something that was fun, I did something I would enjoy, right? And so I think that to follow that, and I think for those that may be saying, “Ah, I’m thinking about starting a podcast, but I don’t really have an angle or strategy yet.” Just get on and talk. Just be yourself. If you’re going to be successful, it’s going to be based on not just your insights, but your personality and your ability to open up and be casual, and just have some fun with it.

Dan Englander:  Yeah, yeah, exactly. I find it to be a much easier way to handle things. To backup a bit, I’m going to be having these conversations anyway if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing for our clients and for my business. I’m going to want to learn what’s going on in different areas and somewhat. Obviously some conversations are better to have in private when it comes to that. But a lot of the stuff, there’s no reason that you can’t be helping others at the same time, so that’s kind of how I feel about it is it’s just a forced multiplier.

Matt Heinz:  All right. So with my marketing hat on, I can say this all makes sense. This is a great way to do a podcast, great way to drive engagement. That’s all fine and good.

As the host of Sales Pipeline Radio and as the founder of Sales Schema, how do I take all this stuff, how do companies justify all of what we’re talking about here and say, “Well, how does this generate pipeline for me?” How do you cross the chasm from all of this great engaging content and say, “Okay, but my job is not to drive … I mean we’ve got a lot of listeners, that’s great, but how do I convert that into something I can buy a beer with?”

Dan Englander:  Yeah. So I mean, if we’re getting into the tactical forest, which we can do with the caveat that it’s not going to be a one size blueprint for everybody, but I can talk about what what’s worked for us. And it’s essentially been throwing ourselves, giving away stuff that’s useful on the podcast, and kind of getting people into the loop like that. And then from there, we really like to mix it up. So it’s not just like we’re just interviewing people that we might want to sell to one day, but we’re interviewing other people that our clients need to be partnered with and listening to you.

But I think that if you’re just thinking about a podcast as just a way to close deals directly, it’s kind of not the right way to do it anyway. I think it’s more of a broad frame sort of thing. Where it might not be the role of the new business person that just has a sales quota to be the one running the podcast, I think it’s more of a CEO or marketing person or a broader role because there’s a lot of partners, there’s people that we can work with. Like we’re doing now, there’s other inroads, there’s potential hires you might make in the future. All of these things can come from this sort of relationships you’re developing by having a barrel of ink in the form of a podcast. So that’s kind of how I think about it.

Matt Heinz:  Just a few more minutes here on Sales Pipeline Radio, wrapping up with Dan Englander. He’s the founder of Sales Schema. We will put links to his company website and his content channels as well in the notes for this podcast. Dan, I mean, you’ve run a successful career, really from the bottom up, right? Starting at the ground up as an account coordinator, moving into a more senior roles, and now in your role as founder of your own company, who were some of the people that you’ve learned from along the way? They could be authors, professors, managers, people that you might recommend other people check out and learn from as well.

Dan Englander:  Yeah. Oh, where to begin? I’m just looking at my bookshelf right now. As you learn, Neil Rackham, his stuff has been big and at least as we’re talking about sales. And I think Challenger Sale is sort of the spiritual successor to that and in a lot of ways. So that’s been helpful in terms of real tactical sales stuff.

It might sound cliche, but it kind of is what started it all, so I have to tip my hat to Tim Ferriss. That started for losing his job and then jetting off, he knew my girlfriend at the time and we’ve been slowly starting at consultancy and everything, so it’ll start with that damn book for better or worse. And then there’s a lot that you learn after reading it. So it’s not that simple and things have changed, but I got to tip my hat to him.

In terms of like bigger, more intellectual ideas, Nafeed Poulet has really been really influential in terms of how to think about risk and how to think about the sort of bigger forces that move the world around. So those are a few things that come to mind.

And then, in my personal life, the first guy, Will Gadea, he runs IdeaRocket, which is a successful animation studio, and I was selling for him originally. And he’s not a sales guy, but he was like, “Hey man, you’re in a sales role, do you want to figure this out?” So he invested and then creating for us and helped me kind of get the initial experience that led to everything else, so I’ve got to top my hat to him.

Matt Heinz:  And I love your mentioning Tim Ferriss. We don’t hear that one as often and I remember the first time I read the 4-Hour Work Week and my initial results is like, “Well, that’s all just bull****.” Right? And so I think if you try to follow that directly, I’m sorry Paul, we might have to edit that out. But I think there’s components of that that certainly makes sense. I came back from my little San Diego vacation a week and a half ago. I have not put my work email back on my phone since then and I think I might keep it off. I look at it less, I’m less distracted by it. There’s nothing I’m missing. I’m still looking at my email when I need to, but I’m also far more in the moment, present on the things that I need to be doing when I’m not in my email, either whether it’s at work or whether it’s at home. All those things are super important.

We want to thank our guest today, again, Dan Englander, the founder of Sales Schema. We will link to his site and his content channels in our show notes. If you’d like this conversation, want to listen to it again or share it with others in your organization, some of your peers and colleagues, you’ll find it a couple of days up on Sales Pipeline Radio. We will also have a transcript of this conversation up on in about a week as well.

Join us next week and every week at 11:30 Pacific. We’re featuring some of the best and brightest minds in sales and marketing. Thanks for joining us again, from my great producer, Paul. This is Matt Heinz. We’ll see you next week on Sales Pipeline Radio.


Sales Pipeline Radio is sponsored and produced by Heinz Marketing on the Funnel Radio Channel.  I interview the best and brightest minds in sales and Marketing.  If you would like to be a guest on Sales Pipeline Radio send an email to Sheena.