Corey Quinn is a self-employed Fractional CMO and GTM Strategist at Corey Quinn, Inc., where he helps agencies escape founder-led sales with the deep specialization method and break the cycle of flat sales and high customer churn. He has spent over 15 years in marketing and sales leadership roles at numerous respected digital agencies. Previously, Corey was Chief Marketing Officer of Scorpion, an agency he helped scale from $20 million to $150 million in seven years. He is also the host of The Vertical Go-To-Market Podcast.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [04:43] What is Corey Quinn currently doing in the agency world?
- [07:30] Corey talks about his experience scaling Scorpion from $20 million to $150 million
- [09:02] The process of working with Corey
- [12:01] The five steps for scaling an agency
- [18:05] Optimizing a copywriter’s website and marketing strategy
- [21:27] Corey shares some of his customer success stories
- [26:03] How to warm up cold prospects ahead of a sales call
- [37:15] How to leverage the cookie strategy
- [39:01] Corey speaks about niching in the agency world
- [41:43] How to break the revenue ceiling as an agency
In this episode…
Building an agency from scratch can be both exciting and challenging. Most agencies reach a certain point in revenue and get stuck, not knowing how to navigate and scale. However, it’s possible to overcome these obstacles and succeed with the right mindset and strategy.
Marketing expert Corey Quinn says that building a founder-led sales business is a barrier to success in the agency world. It causes the agency to reach a certain point and get stuck because it depends on the founder’s ability to get leads and convert, and there’s only so much a founder can do until burnout sets in. He shares how he helps agency founders free themselves from founder-led sales and increase revenue while decreasing churn.
On this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz sits down with Corey Quinn, Fractional CMO and GTM Strategist at Corey Quinn, Inc., to discuss how he helps agencies scale. Corey talks about his experience growing Scorpion from $20 million to $150 million, how to work with him, the five steps for scaling an agency, and how to warm up your cold prospects ahead of a sales call.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Second Bite Podcast
- Jamie Adams on LinkedIn
- Scorpion Marketing
- Leading through Change: Six Principles for Leading People in Unpredictable Times by Carla Schnitker
- Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention by John Ruhlin
- Benjamin Hardy on LinkedIn
- 10x Is Easier Than 2x: How World-Class Entrepreneurs Achieve More by Doing Less by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy
- Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork by Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy
- Personality Isn’t Permanent: Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and Rewrite Your Story by Benjamin P. Hardy
- Jonathan Stark
- Drew McLellan on LinkedIn
- Carl Smith on LinkedIn
- “[Top Agency Series] Growing a Healthcare Brand Through Marketing With Stewart Gandolf” on Inspired Insider Podcast
- “[Top Agency Series] Most Valuable Advice When Selling Your Agency With Todd Taskey of Potomac Business Capital” on Inspired Insider Podcast
- “[Top Agency Series] Growth Through Acquisitions – What is Your KPI and Northstar? With Jason Swenk” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “Building a Great Team and More Helpful Insights with Jason Swenk Host of The Smart Agency Master Class Podcast” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “Disrupting The Personal Injury Law Space Through SEO with Chris Dreyer of Rankings.io” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “[Top Giver Series] The Art and Science of Gifting with John Ruhlin Author of Giftology” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “[Top Agency Series] How to Build a Better Agency with Drew McLellan of Agency Management Institute (AMI)” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “The reason why customers would leave is if you stopped providing value to them.”
- “You have to stop saying yes to everybody.”
- “People don’t hire you for what you do, they hire you for why you do it.”
Sponsor for this episode
At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution.
We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.
What do you need to start a podcast? When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.
The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.
We make distribution easy. We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.
Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.
The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.
Jeremy Weisz 0:22
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder of inspiredinsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. I have Corey Quinn. You can check them out at coreyquinn.com. And Corey I always like to mention other episodes people should check out of the podcasts and Stewart Gandolf. Thanks, Stewart. The reason we connected was because of you and people can check out healthcaresuccess.com. And we’ll find out how you know, Stewart, I know he definitely in the interview talked about, oh my, I listened to Corey’s advice. It’s the best and like, who is this Corey person introduced almost have him on the podcast. Here we are, because he’d be so successful. You know, as listening, I’m all ears. So check out the one I did with Stewart also, I did one with Todd Taskey. He has a Second Bite Podcast. And he basically helps match private equity with agencies and help sell agencies. And so it’s interesting to hear his thoughts on valuations and what he does to help increase value and he calls it a second bite because Corey as you know, like, when some of the companies he helps gets bought by private equity, they make a chunk they roll some equity in when they sell again. Sometimes they make more of the second bite than the first which is interesting concept. So Todd Taskey that’s a great interview. And there’s many, many mores. Check him out, a lot on the agency space SaaS space, Corey like me geeks out on the agency space, so check those out. More on inspiredinsider.com. This episode is brought to you by Rise25. And at Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships. And how do we do that we actually help you run your podcast, we are an easy button for a company to launch and run your podcast. We do the full strategy, the full accountability and the full execution around that. Corey, we call ourselves a magic elves that work in the background to make it look easy for the hosts in the company so they could just worry about building the relationship and running their business. For me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should. Corey has a podcast, we’ll actually talk about that too. You can go to rise25.com to learn more email us [email protected]. We have a bunch of free resources on the episodes. Basically everything that we recommend doing, we share on the podcast, top tools, software strategies, we have episodes for that. So check those out. And I’m excited to introduce Corey Quinn. He’s a 25-year-plus record of success as an entrepreneur, a sales leader, a marketing executive, he had in-house role as Scorpion’s CMO, chief marketing officer, while there the agency grew from $20 million to $150 million in recurring revenue and under seven years, most companies, Corey don’t get to $20 mil agencies $20 million, let alone $150 million. He has a mission now to help 1,000-plus agency owners probably at some point tens of thousands unlock growth by specializing in a vertical market. And I just say Corey, not everything sounds amazing, but not everything he’s touched turned to gold. He’s learned from the school of hard knocks. Oh, yeah. After college, he had two startups that failed after raising $3 million. I was looking at that Corey, I’m like, I think you were just a little early like it was if you had that startup later, it would have gone gangbusters but 1999 and streaming service was, that’s too hard. Like at that point. So he has those he’s worked in the agency space back to 2007. So Corey, thanks for joining me.
Corey Quinn 4:14
Absolutely. I am super excited to be here, Jeremy.
Jeremy Weisz 4:18
So let’s start off and just talk about what you’re doing now. We’ll get to all the questions. And that everyone has been asking me when I said I’m gonna have Corey on, like, ask him all these things. I have a list of 72 things what they do with Scorpion. How do they do this? We’ll get to that, I promise. But talk about what you’re doing now. I’m going to share my screen, so I’m gonna show your website a little bit. Yeah, what are you up to now?
Corey Quinn 4:43
Yeah, so right now today, I am actively working on a revision on a book that I’m going to be shipping off to my amazing editor this Sunday. This is like literal real-time. And so I’ve hired this amazing editor to help me to create a hopefully a really useful and impactful book, it is called the working title is Focus Vertical. And it’s all about my five-step process that I take my one-on-one clients through my consulting clients through, which by the way, are agencies to help them to go from a generalist to a vertical market specialist, there are five steps. In the book, I teach you how to do it, there’s a ton of resources and worksheets and templates and videos that support it. And my hope and promise with the book is that you’ll be able to make that transformation by using the book independently. So that’s a big thing I’m working on. Second to that, I would just say that I am extremely passionate about helping others to create a bigger impact in their lives, their families. I don’t have all the answers. And I’m learning every day. But that’s something that energizes me. And I hope to make that impact for myself in the world. And the way that I’m doing that today is, as you mentioned, I’m on a mission to help 1000 agency owners transform themselves from an agency that is very founder-led founder centric from a sales perspective operations and so on, so forth, to really scaling up and the way that I know how to do that, and I can help people is through becoming a vertical market specialist. That’s what we did at Scorpion. That’s what I do with my coaching clients. That’s the people who I talk to you on my podcast, people who’ve been through that transformation themselves, and have built in some cases, seven, eight figure agencies in a vertical market space. I’ve interviewed on my podcast on the screen I’ve interviewed, folks like Chris Dreyer from Rankings.io. Yep. Chris and a lot of the other folks who have taken this verticalized approach, and have found wild success. So that’s what I’m passionate about. That’s where I believe I can help people to be successful. And so that’s what I’m up to.
Jeremy Weisz 7:05
Talk about the five steps and actually one of my favorite episodes, and if you’re listening, there’s a video version of this. And you’re looking, we’re at Corey’s website, coreyquinn.com. And we’re the podcast page. My favorite one was the person who worked with you at Scorpion. That was one of the first episodes, I think.
Corey Quinn 7:30
Yeah, Jamie Adams, he was my counterpart there all the way at the bottom. But God, there’s so many good guests. He is instrumental in the growth of Scorpion. The quick story was Scorpion. I arrived in 2015. It was like I said, $20 million company primarily working with attorneys, founder-led business. And he had kind of grown the agency to that point using really a lot of local talent, his friends and family from the local Santa Clarita Valley. They really wanted to grow to the next level. So I came in sort of from the outside, although I lived in LA, came in from the outside, I didn’t know anyone there. And so Jamie Adams, he came from ReachLocal. And the two of us kind of teamed up on a sales and marketing approach to really take the company from where it was, I could talk about what that was like to able to scale it up, not only within the attorney market, but we also with cross-vertical to home services and franchise and a couple others.
Jeremy Weisz 8:35
Yeah, it was interesting, because in the conversation when you talk, there were, I think, 100 people at the company and 10 salespeople, and when you talk to him, there were 100 salespeople. The same amount of people were at the company was the sales team.
Corey Quinn 8:52
Yes, the entire sales team today was the entire company back in 2015.
Jeremy Weisz 8:59
So walk through the five steps for a second.
Corey Quinn 9:02
Okay. Sure. So the context is this is a generalist agency that has been in business, they have a bulk of business, and they’ve been successful, but they been unsuccessful let’s say in scaling, getting to the next level. A lot of their businesses founder led, meaning the sales are dependent on the founder going out and getting deals. They’re working with businesses of all shapes and sizes. Every client they have to learn their business, they have to, it’s a lot of sort of project management, heavy type of engagements. And they realize that, hey, if I really want to grow and I want to grow aggressively, then the way to get there is you have to build more repeatable systems and one of the ways you could do that is by focusing on a vertical market. So that’s when I come in. That’s what I can help with. The first step is…
Jeremy Weisz 9:53
Are they convinced at this point, like someone coming to you are like, okay, I know I need to do this or do they still need some convincing?
Corey Quinn 10:00
If they’re not convinced I’m not the right person for them, they’re not ready.
Jeremy Weisz 10:03
Well, maybe they’re open. But maybe I’m not saying they’re not. They’re closed off. But there’s that constant conversation while I have these, you’ve heard it a million times, right? I have these, whatever, 30 clients and I don’t want to neglect these, like five molds, half of my business has come from this niche. But I have a smattering of this other niche, like, yeah, what do I do Corey? Right?
Corey Quinn 10:27
Sure. Well, the reality is, is that by focusing in on a vertical market, you’re gonna update your website and update your positioning, but your current book of business, they don’t really care about that. They’re not going to up and leave you, as a result of that, you refresh your website with different messaging. That’s not a thing that happens. The reason why they would leave is if you stopped providing value to them. Right. So as long as you’re continuing to meet their needs and exceed their needs, that’s not an issue. It’s more of a focusing mechanism going forward. How do we become more streamlined and intentional and focused in everything we do? I think one of the big objections, I think I would call it an irrational belief or irrational fear is that when you focus your agency on a narrow niche or a vertical market, you’re effectively reducing the total addressable market, the number of businesses you’re going to say yes to. And then just psychologically, this concept of loss aversion, people just don’t like this idea of pulling something away from me. But I think what ends up happening, not for everyone, and this is not, I’m not preaching to say that this is absolutely the only way to grow an agency. But in these cases, they realize that they have to stop saying yes to everybody. And that’s really the basis of a conversation with me.
Jeremy Weisz 11:58
Yep. So what’s the first step?
Corey Quinn 12:01
First step is to choose the vertical market that they want to focus in on, and the way that I prefer doing that is to use data to help guide that decision. So it’s not just well, I kind of feel like, we should be focusing on this area, and most founders will already have a feeling about which direction they want to go in. And that’s fine. But the process I like to take them through it is data-driven, so that we can validate that that feeling to make sure that yes, indeed, they are getting clients, they stick around for a long time they generate profitable revenue, that your team’s like working with them, that they meet the future vision of the company that you’re trying to build. And I’m probably very importantly, that the vertical itself, the market itself is viable from a market sizing perspective, is it a growing industry? Is it a shrinking industry? So we need to go through all of these data points, and this research to really uncover a high-quality, vertical that truly matches the agency where they’re at.
[Continue to Page 2]