The Agency Growth Blog - For Owners Who Want Growth

Mike Lieberman

Mike started Square 2 Marketing, the largest and most successful inbound agency on the planet, in 2003 with his business partner Eric Keiles. Since then, Mike has grown Square 2 Marketing into a $6 million business. Square 2 Marketing is HubSpot’s ONLY Diamond Partner and is responsible for almost $1 million in HubSpot software each year.
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Recent Posts

Sales Enablement? Sales Execution? Sales Operations? Oh My!

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Nov 8, 2019 10:05:19 AM

Forget The Jargon, You Want To Help Your Clients Close The Leads You're Getting Them

There are now at least three or four labels for helping companies close leads. The ones in the title and a few more; sales consulting, sales coaching, sales training and maybe a couple of others. 

The bottom line isn’t what we call it or how good we are at confusing the clients but what you do in these engagements and the value you bring to your clients.

The key for me is what we’re including in our sales optimization work for clients, how much we charge for it, the value it delivers and how this translates into lifelong clients

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Topics: Sales Process, sales enablement, sales operations

What Does 2020 Strategic Planning Look Like At A Bigger Agency

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Nov 1, 2019 9:45:00 AM

HINT: It Should Be The Same At Any-Sized Agency

As October wraps up, you’re probably starting to think about 2020 planning. Everything you read or watch between now and the end of the year is going to be encouraging you to do your 2020 plan.

But at Square 2, our 2020 plan is almost done.

No, I’m not an overachiever. Our company-wide meeting in Philly is in mid-November this year, so we had to get our planning done early.

You might be wondering what annual strategic planning looks like at Square 2. I’m happy to share with you how we do this, what we did this year and some tips on how you can make your 2020 planning easy.

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Topics: growing an inbound agency, 2020 planning, strategic planning

The Best Way To Sell HubSpot To Prospects Is Shockingly NOT To Sell HubSpot

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Oct 24, 2019 7:45:00 AM

With Over 200 HubSpot Customers We Know Something About This

I get it. You want to sell more HubSpot licenses. You want to make your CAM happier, you want to move up in the partner tiers, you want more commissions, and hopefully you want your clients on HubSpot because they get better results.

But how do you actually do this? The basic question is: Do you sell HubSpot? or Do you sell your agency services? Maybe it’s a combination of both, but does that get tricky?

Ask HubSpot and you might not be surprised to hear them recommend selling HubSpot. They even announced a competition at Partner Day in September. It was “Send us your best HubSpot pitch deck.”

But ask some of the top agencies and their answer could be different.

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Topics: Sales Process, HubSpot

How To Get Out Of The Day-To-Day And Be The CEO Your Digital Inbound Agency Needs You To Be?

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Oct 16, 2019 9:01:29 AM

Companies Need The CEO Role To Be Filled, Not Manned Part-Time By Someone Working In The Agency

I hope the title resonated with many of you because in all the years of coaching and consulting with agency owners, this seems to be an issue for almost everyone.

You probably started this company because you’re awesome at PR, graphic design, building websites or getting companies found on Google, and now you're trying to do a whole bunch of other stuff.

While you used to spending all your time designing, now you’re handling sales, hiring, accounting, and real estate. You might not even be doing what you love. It’s the common e-Myth scenario. Pam the pie maker doesn’t spend any time making pies anymore.

The work you did to get you to this level is not the work you need to do to get you to the next level.

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Topics: agency management, Agency Leadership

Agency Goals For 2020 And The Challenges Associated With Selecting, Setting And Attaining Your Goals

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Oct 10, 2019 7:30:00 AM


We’re getting to that time of year again!  It’s October, November and December when everyone starts talking about setting up meetings and running through planning exercises for the upcoming year. Whether you’re using EOS, Gazelles or some other operating system, goal setting is almost always on the menu.

It’s not that hard to come up with 2020 goals. If you're going to finish up 2019 at $2 million in revenue, then shooting for $2.5, or $3 million sounds reasonable. Maybe you want to stretch and try to double? But that’s not what this article is about.

In this article, I thought I would share Square 2’s goals for 2019, our goals and planning for 2020 and the journey we took in 2019 to hit our 2019 goals. I think that's the real story, not what the goals are and how we set them but the journey to hit them in 2019 and how that is influencing our 2020 planning. I hope you agree. 

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Topics: agency goal setting, 2020 planning

Points Based Pricing And Why Agency Owners Continue To Struggle With How To Use Points

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Oct 3, 2019 8:14:00 AM

First, thank you to everyone who shared comments with me about the Can An Agency Survive With Strategy Only Consulting Services? blog article. I really enjoy reading comments and I try to reply to them. It’s nice to know people are reading and appreciating the articles in this blog.

I’m talking about POINTS today because in my September Mastermind Group (which meets every fourth Thursday of each month from 10 AM to 12 noon ET) was unanimous about wanting to spend more time talking and working through the points-based pricing challenges.

What I see most often and what I think continues to present challenges to agencies are the separation of points and Agile delivery.

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Topics: Agile Delivery, Points Based Pricing

Can An Agency Survive and Thrive With Strategy Only Consulting Services?

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Sep 18, 2019 7:30:00 AM

It appears that one of the bigger HubSpot partner agencies is moving to “strategy only” services. Just consulting on how to grow, no delivery services, no content, no websites, no paid media management, no organic SEO work—just thoughts on how to drive revenue.

I’ll preface this by saying my knowledge of the “news” is second hand and via social media primarily, so let’s have a more conceptual conversation about this idea, as opposed to commenting on this specific agency’s new strategy.

Can an agency exist to just offer strategic consulting services and no delivery?

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Topics: inbound agency services, inbound marketing agency services

Inbound 19 Update: Partner Day and Day One Updates and Key Takeaways!

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Sep 5, 2019 11:13:40 AM

Partner Day at Inbound and Wednesday Day 1 is behind us now and the event hasn’t disappointed. At Partner Day we heard about the new Elite Level of Partner. To qualify for this level, you’ll need $50,000 in trailing 12-month sales and at least $150,000 in monthly managed revenue.

The response from the Diamond Partners I spoke with wasn’t very positive, but I think HubSpot needed to do something to identify top partners. I also found out there will be between 5 and 10 partners who already qualified for the new Elite level.

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Topics: Partner Day Inbound 19, Inbound 19

How To Get Full Value From Inbound 19 And Partner Day at Inbound

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Aug 29, 2019 8:28:00 AM

This time next week, most of us will be walking the halls of the Boston Convention Center enjoying Inbound ‘19.

This will be my eighth time attending Inbound, so I have some experience getting full value for the week of sessions, meetings, parties and exhibits.

The more you come back, the harder it is to get that real value. Inbound is specifically designed for HubSpot customers and as they add more customers, more people flock to Inbound. The content is specifically designed to help these new, unsophisticated customers get the most out of HubSpot. 

Somtimes that means agencies have to dig deep to find value in the week long event. 

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Topics: inbound

How Marketing Agencies Provide Services For Sales And Customer Service

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Aug 21, 2019 8:18:00 AM

Inbound 19 is right around the corner and if last year is any indication, this year is going to be filled with ideas about how to work with clients across marketing, sales , and customer service. HubSpot’s Platform play is going to be in full swing come September 3rd in Boston.

The question to agency owners is, “Should my shop be providing services across all three areas?” The answer is maybe. Let’s dig into this question to prepare you all for Inbound.

It’s easy to get swept up in the orange wave associated with Inbound and I think it’s important to arrive with a plan so you can make the most of your time in Boston.

Should my agency provide services to clients beyond the marketing services we’re already providing?

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Topics: inbound sales services, customer service services

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