The Deep Specialization Podcast

Corey Quinn

Everyone knows the power of focus in business, but not everyone knows how to do it well. On this show, you'll hear from 7, 8, and 9-figure founders and executives who've been wildly successful by taking a vertical or multi-vertical approach to growing their business. You'll hear stories about how they started, what they did to grow their business and ultimately what made them a success. If you're thinking about focusing your business on one or more verticals, this show is for you. read less
BusinessBusiness

Episodes

Building an Agency Holding Company w/ Peter Kang
4d ago
Building an Agency Holding Company w/ Peter Kang
While we’ve had troves of agency founders on this show, today’s guest brings a unique spin to the typical genesis story. Peter Kang, Co-Founder of Barrel Holdings, started out running a website agency some 20 years ago.  Today, the business has evolved into a sprawling portfolio of agencies, all homegrown under a single holding company umbrella. How did all this come to be? Looking back, Peter’s path to a holding company co-founder might make complete sense, yet he got there by chance.  Peter and his partner were at a crossroads, looking to sunset clients that did not fit their core ICP of Shopify clients, but there was a bump in the road; these were all revenue-generating clients. Luckily, one of their existing employees volunteered to spin these accounts out into a shop of its own, and run it, and so, Barrel Holdings was born. Tune into the episode as Peter sits down with Corey to recount the story from early days as an agency founder to capitalizing on Shopify and Webflow momentum, all the way to spinning out a thriving holding company, and the leadership lessons Peter has picked up along the way. "All our holding company agencies are homegrown.” – Peter Kang, Co-Founder of Barrel Holdings   Here’s what we cover in this episode: - Peter’s journey from an agency founder to holding company builder. - The role of partners like Shopify and Webflow in scaling an agency business. - The holding company origin story, and what Peter’s holding company offers today. - What he’s learned in 20+ years in the digital agency business.   Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders: - Lean into fast growing partners in the ecosystem to drive lead flow. - Having too diverse of a client pool can be a resource-suck, consider spinning independent divisions to reduce friction. - Improve margins by developing reusable components to the products you’re selling. - Make sure incentives are aligned with those who are going to be leading your business for overall success.   The resources mentioned in this episode are: - Connect with Peter on LinkedIn Here- Check out Barrel Holdings Here 👍If you liked this episode, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and be sure to hit the subscribe button! 🔔 😡Frustrated with a lack of results from outbound? I'd like to give you my free 6-day email course that will transform your outbound program from broken to consistently driving new sales opportunities. Sign up here: GetOutboundROI.com.
Why You Need a Fractional CMO w/ John Jantsch
Jul 10 2024
Why You Need a Fractional CMO w/ John Jantsch
"If I would have called my services Fractional CMO 10 years ago, people would have thought I was crazy. Now, the market's ready for it.” – John Jantsch, Founder of Duct Tape Marketing. In recent years, we’ve witnessed the resurgence of fractional CMOs - Why now? With the pandemic, many companies were caught red-handed for their lack of marketing strategy - coupled with financial strains, economic headwinds, and smaller budgets, the environment brought about opportunity for fractional CMO services to thrive.  That is the very same opportunity today’s guest, John Jantsch, seized with this company, Duct Tape Marketing. It operationalizes fractional CMO services by providing a repeatable and proven framework they license out. The proof is in the pudding: John’s marketing methodology has helped numerous companies grow from a few million to double digits. He joins the show to dive deep into the fractional CMO world and how to succeed both in the role and if you’re planning on hiring one. Corey and John cover topics like balancing scale with processes, how to avoid the dreaded scope creep, what to look for in a fractional CMO, and how much you should be prepared to shell out for the role. Here’s what we cover in this episode: What the fractional CMO role is.How to run a repeatable framework and roadmap as a fractional CMO.Success stories on multiplying revenue with a fractional CMO.How to tell if your business is ready for one. Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders: Your CMO should be obsessed with the customer experience and represent their voice within the company.Beware of the scope creep if you’re providing marketing services.Hiring a fractional CMO? Look for candidates with repeatable processes.Mitigate risk in marketing by hiring someone who’s built where you need to get to. The resources mentioned in this episode are: Connect with John on LinkedIn HereCheck out Duct Tape Marketing Here 👍If you liked this episode, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and be sure to hit the subscribe button! 🔔 😡Frustrated with a lack of results from outbound? I'd like to give you my free 6-day email course that will transform your outbound program from broken to consistently driving new sales opportunities. Sign up here: GetOutboundROI.com.
Scaling Sales with The Law of Attraction w/ Justin Michael
Jul 3 2024
Scaling Sales with The Law of Attraction w/ Justin Michael
“I built out a cold outreach methodology around heuristics, which is a series of pattern interrupts, or shortcuts.” Justin Michael, Co-Founder of Hard Skill Exchange Ready for a different perspective on sales outreach?  This week’s guest is an executive sales coach who has helped over 200 startups make over their outbound efforts by leaning into the unexpected. Justin Michael is a best-selling author of the book “Sales Superpowers” and the Co-Founder of Hard Skill Exchange, the world’s first real-time 1:1 skill-building marketplace.  After spending some 20,000 hours (his words, not ours!) on cold calls, he started mapping out what it took to get to predictable outcomes and what made prospects open to the pitch. And so, Justin’s bespoke methodologies were born. If you’re currently in an agency sales role, this episode is a goldmine for you. While some advice may feel counter-intuitive, like doing unscalable work, such as relationship-building to scale your agency, Justin’s tried and tested strategies render results in the long-term. Justin and Corey get into topics like cold outreach, building relationships with prospects, Justin’s newest book, and tapping into disruptive thinking like combining sales with the law of attraction.    Here’s what we cover in this episode: - Catching prospects’ attention and why doing the wrong thing, like grammatical errors in sales emails, can be effective. - How to approach cold prospects in a manner that doesn’t repel them. - Unconventional ways of getting in front of your target accounts. - Scaling sales with the law of attraction, and the most ‘controversial book written in B2B.’   Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders: - Try to pattern interrupt when doing outreach, for example, humans respond much better to visual information. - Opening lateral conversations that mimic a real-life interaction helps disarm prospects. - Take two or three discovery calls before you try to pitch.   The resources mentioned in this episode are: - Connect with Justin on LinkedIn Here- Check out Hard Skill Exchange Here 👍If you liked this episode, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and be sure to hit the subscribe button! 🔔 😡Frustrated with a lack of results from outbound? I'd like to give you my free 6-day email course that will transform your outbound program from broken to consistently driving new sales opportunities. Sign up here: GetOutboundROI.com.
Mastering the Landscaping Vertical w/ Rob Murray
Jun 26 2024
Mastering the Landscaping Vertical w/ Rob Murray
“Eventually, we stopped the shenanigans and got vertical."  –  Rob Murray, Founder and President of Intrigue Media Some founding stories are more eccentric, and entertaining, than others, and today’s guest certainly has a tale to tell. While these days, the digital marketing agency Intrigue Media does over $5 million in annual revenue serving 110 clients and counting, its founder, Rob Murray started his business selling local out-of-home advertising all the way back in college. While Rob started out as a local generalist, he ultimately, after some hits and glorious misses, narrowed his focus to select niches like HVAC and landscaping. Rob joins Corey to not just share Intrigue Media’s journey, but also to dish out a hot take (or five!), served with a side of refreshing honesty. For one, Rob doesn’t think that different niches are truly that different to serve; you just have to deeply understand business basics like revenue models and problem-solving. Pair that with honest service and the ethos of trying to do good, and you’re golden. So tune in for a wealth of knowledge and actionable advice on topics like growth and retention, what not to do with sales, and moreover, the leadership principles that Rob lives by. Here’s what we cover in this episode: Rob’s crazy founding story from DOOH to verticalization.How showing up in the community and doing thought leadership sparked initial growth.Rob’s approach to marketing, sales, and business leadership.The challenges of hiring sales and how to incentivize them. Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders: You have two ways to position your offering: vertical versus horizontal. If you have the resources, you can grow quickly in the beginning by creating a sensation that your agency is everywhere. Think: parties, events, community, and lots of speaking.Don’t send sales into the market before you’re sure they get your business and you trust them to represent it.Try to uncover unconscious beliefs you hold about your business to break harmful patterns; journaling is great for this. The resources mentioned in this episode are: Connect with Rob on LinkedIn HereCheck out Intrigue Media Here Books mentioned in this episode are:  Verne Harnish, Scaling Up John C. Maxwell, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last and Start With Why Dr. Eric Byrne (Related to Transactional Analysis, no specific book mentioned)Seth Godin (Specific book not mentioned) 👍If you liked this episode, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and be sure to hit the subscribe button! 🔔 😡Frustrated with a lack of results from outbound? I'd like to give you my free 6-day email course that will transform your outbound program from broken to consistently driving new sales opportunities. Sign up here: GetOutboundROI.com.
White-Label Agency Services w/ Manish Dudharejia
Jun 19 2024
White-Label Agency Services w/ Manish Dudharejia
“The first six, seven years were a lot of lessons. I made a lot of mistakes. I did not know how to lead people. I didn't know what kind of people should be hired."  –  Manish Dudharejia, Founder and President E2M Solutions This week’s guest, Manish Duharejia, is a true agency aficionado with over a decade at the helm of his marketing company, E2M Solutions. Founded in 2012, E2M Solutions is an integrated white label digital agency that helps other agencies expand their capacity through white label services. Today, Manish runs a 200-person operation with offices in California and India. From his beginnings in SEO to becoming a company founder, Manish joins the show to detail his journey in building a thriving global company. What is refreshing about Manish is his candor around the lessons he’s learned, including challenges and even failures. For instance, he had to scale his team back from 120 to 40 to build out sustainable processes first, so he could ultimately get the company back on track. While Manish initially built momentum by partnering with agency coaches and sponsoring events, what truly accelerated growth was switching from project-based fees to unlimited services with fixed costs.  What else did the trick?  Listen to the episode to uncover valuable learnings on niching down, running an offshore team, hiring order, as well as leadership hits and misses, and key milestones for E2M Solutions.   Here’s what we cover in this episode: How agencies can scale with white label services.Hard lessons and company growing pains.The benefits (and process) of niching down.Why Manish built his business leveraging both US and Indian talent.   Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders: The challenges you face at different stages of growth are unique; always stay one step ahead and plan for the next threshold.Problem-solving mindset calls for positivity and transparency.Niching down means saying no for a reason. Don’t fear it.It is better to be a specialist in a vertical market because you become an expert in helping clients solve problems.   The resources mentioned in this episode are: - Connect with Manish on LinkedIn Here- Check out E2M Solutions Here 👍If you liked this episode, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and be sure to hit the subscribe button! 🔔 😡Frustrated with a lack of results from outbound? I'd like to give you my free 6-day email course that will transform your outbound program from broken to consistently driving new sales opportunities. Sign up here: GetOutboundROI.com.
Proven 7-Figure Agency Roadmap w/ Josh Nelson
Jun 12 2024
Proven 7-Figure Agency Roadmap w/ Josh Nelson
"Niche is the number one growth accelerator."  – Josh Nelson, Mentor & Coach at Seven Figure Agency Growth can happen in an instant when you’re doing the right things. But when you find the right fit, niche, offering, and vertical, that’s the unfair advantage. Nobody knows this better than today’s guest, who not only coaches agencies on growth, but also grew his own verticalized agency from zero to seven figures in under two years. This week, we welcome Josh Nelson to the Deep Specialization show with an impressive background. From running two successful businesses (the agency Plumbing & HVAC SEO and the coaching business Seven Figure Agency) to writing two best-selling books, we can’t wait to dive into the learnings Josh has got in store for us. Today he balances his time between coaching agencies and being the face of Plumbing & HVAC SEO. Impressively, Seven Figure Agency has already helped 118 agencies surpass the million threshold in revenue, and they’re on a mission to help 500 surpass seven figures over the next five years. Corey and Josh sit down to discuss the genesis of both of Josh’s businesses, and most importantly, to detail how specialized agencies can pass that coveted 7-figure mark through setting up systems for world-class delivery and recurring revenue.   Here’s what we cover in this episode: - Josh’s founder journey and how he niched down to find growth. - How to go from strategy to implementation when building your agency business. - The benefits of verticalization, systematizing onboarding and delivery. - Why recurring fees is the only way to go (if you ask Josh!)   Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders: - The 3x cornerstones of agency success: Verticalization, unique offering, and pricing that allows for recurring revenue. - Clients stay for world-class results, you have to have a process to do so repeatedly. - Put systems in place so your business can run without you for ultimate freedom. - Hire operations first so you can focus on innovation. Then account, then sales.   The resources mentioned in this episode are: - Connect with Josh on LinkedIn Here- Check out Seven-Figure Agency Here 👍If you liked this episode, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and be sure to hit the subscribe button! 🔔 😡Frustrated with a lack of results from outbound? I'd like to give you my free 6-day email course that will transform your outbound program from broken to consistently driving new sales opportunities. Sign up here: GetOutboundROI.com.
Going National, Staying Boutique w/ Susan Quinn
Jun 5 2024
Going National, Staying Boutique w/ Susan Quinn
"We specialize in B2B and we specialize in the experiences of three things: A better brand that will create a better employee experience and ultimately, a stronger client experience."  – Susan Quinn, President and CEO of Circle S Studio It’s not every day you get to sit down with an agency leader with a career spanning four decades, and running! This week’s podcast guest, Susan Quinn, is not only deeply experienced, but also one of those leaders who spits quotable business wisdom on every turn. So, let’s get into it.  Susan is the President and CEO of Circle S Studio, an experience agency specializing in B2B and professional services. A lot has happened since the agency’s inception all the way back in 1999. The company has since grown into a national operation that still today maintains an intentionally boutique status with 16 full-time employees and a roster of trusted contractors.  With 75 clients in any given year, Susan’s agency has delivered hundreds of projects in the realm of B2B marketing. Needless to say, those numbers also contain a wealth of agency management experience from sales to operations and marketing. Corey and Susan sit down to cover everything from agency marketing tactics, conference approach, attracting the right clients through content, how to lead with purpose, and most importantly,  “Do not edit your dreams. Think big, go big and big things will happen.”   Here’s what we cover in this episode: - Susan’s impressive career spanning four decades. - Creating frameworks around brand and customer experience. - Finding the growth path, and how Agency Management Institute helped. - The invaluable lessons and tips Susan has learned along the journey.   Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders: - Examine what part of your efforts is actually bringing in revenue, and double down on that. - Find an ecosystem of partners who think differently, helping you find ways to operate better. - You can diversify your client base while still remaining specialized to mitigate market risks. - When it comes to marketing the agency, speaking and original research have been the cornerstones of Susan’s success.   The resources mentioned in this episode are: - Connect with Susan on LinkedIn Here- Check out Circle S Studio Here 👍If you liked this episode, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and be sure to hit the subscribe button! 🔔 😡Frustrated with a lack of results from outbound? I'd like to give you my free 6-day email course that will transform your outbound program from broken to consistently driving new sales opportunities. Sign up here: GetOutboundROI.com.
High Risk, High Reward Vertical w/ Dan Serard
May 29 2024
High Risk, High Reward Vertical w/ Dan Serard
"We've operated in over 30 states in Europe, Mexico and Canada. The Cannabis Creative Group has absolutely taken off like wildfire."  – Dan Serard, VP of Sales and Marketing for Cannabis Creative Group  Let’s take a deep dive into a vertical that certainly is anything but dull. This week's guest, Dan Serard is a trailblazer in cannabis marketing and has stories to tell in setting up agency services for cannabis companies. As the VP of Sales and Marketing for Cannabis Creative Group, Dan was invited to set up the vertical by Champ, a full service agency founded back in 2008. While the parent agency offers everything from branding, website design, social media, search engine optimization, paid advertising, and social media, CCG saw an opportunity to specialize in the weed industry. Why cannabis? In addition to the co-founders sharing a passion for the industry, cannabis was about to be legalized in the state of Massachusetts. So they called up Dan, and the rest is history.Between legislations and stringent restrictions to even perception, cannabis isn’t a simple vertical for agencies to master. This week, Dan and Corey discuss everything from carving out a vertical for a highly regulated product, dreaming up a standalone event brand for industry networking, and the building blocks that made CGC the success that it is today. Here’s what we cover in this episode: Starting the cannabis vertical at an agency.The quirks of the industry and navigating restrictions.How CCG grows through thought leaderships, partnerships, trade shows, and more.Building community for long-term success. Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders: GTM skills, even from a different industry, is a great skill set for sales leaders.Try to find spaces where you can show up first to gain an unfair advantage.Be active at industry associations; it’s a space not all agencies play in.Be the connector between clients and prospects at industry events to build community. The resources mentioned in this episode are: Connect with Dan on LinkedIn HereCheck out Cannabis Creative Here 👍If you liked this episode, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and be sure to hit the subscribe button! 🔔 😡Frustrated with a lack of results from outbound? I'd like to give you my free 6-day email course that will transform your outbound program from broken to consistently driving new sales opportunities. Sign up here: GetOutboundROI.com.
An Agency Business in a Box w/ Jeff Tomlin
May 22 2024
An Agency Business in a Box w/ Jeff Tomlin
"The average small business uses over three dozen different pieces of software to run different aspects of their business."  – Jeff Tomlin, Co-Founder & CMO of Vendasta If you had to summarize Vendasta’s marketplace for small and medium sized agencies, it would be, in Jeff’s words, “Business in a box”.  Vendasta gives 80k+ agencies a full-stack platform to rebrand and resell online services to local business clients, granting them the scalability of a SaaS recurring revenue model. Simplifying operations, the company lets agencies acquire, retain, expand and manage clients all in one place, removing many of the pain points agencies face as they’re looking to grow their business. Jeff joins The Deep Specialization Podcast to share his 17-year founder journey, going from building solutions for the media vertical and reputation management software to shaping up what Vendasta is known for today: a central online growth hub for agencies. Jeff and Corey dive into topics like finding product fit, building Vendasta, successes and failures, as well as invaluable leadership lessons accumulated along the way. Here’s what we cover in this episode: Vendasta’s 17-year journey and Jeff’s background.Typical inefficiencies in running a small business tech stack at an agency.The audacious goal Jeff’s team is working towards.Differentiation and positioning. Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders: If you’re offering solutions, building a suite can 3x retention rates.As you grow, be mindful of your growing tech stack and how to manage it.Embrace agility as a young organization, and don’t be afraid to fail.Don’t get caught up in the minutia of operations, build workflows with tech, instead. The resources mentioned in this episode are: Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn HereCheck out Vendasta Here 👍If you liked this episode, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and be sure to hit the subscribe button! 🔔 😡Frustrated with a lack of results from outbound? I'd like to give you my free 6-day email course that will transform your outbound program from broken to consistently driving new sales opportunities.Sign up here: GetOutboundROI.com.
What a Profitable Agency Is Made Of w/ Marcel Petitpas
May 15 2024
What a Profitable Agency Is Made Of w/ Marcel Petitpas
"The higher that gross margin is, the more optionality you have to make deliberate decisions about your agency."  – Marcel Petitpas, Co-Founder & CEO of Parakeeto Agency founders are often incredible visionaries when it comes to their core competency, but financials are rarely something they enjoy or excel at (pun intended). Between billable hours, shifting client scopes, clients scaling up or down, time-tracking, and pass-through costs, it’s no easy feat, either. In that vein, today’s guest has seen seven-figure agencies being run fully out of spreadsheets (and he’s here to change that). Marcel Petitpas, agency financials guru (and Co-founder of Parakeeto) is here to break down the ABCs of agency profitability.  Marcel’s shop, Parakeeto, is a consultancy and SaaS company that comes in to help agencies pass the next growth threshold at the point where they need more structured data operations to run financials and profitability, but aren’t quite at the level where they can buy enterprise software or hire internal teams to manage all of it. Corey and Marcel sit down to break down what a profitable agency is made out of. Agency founders, if there is one episode to earmark for invaluable financial planning advice, this one’s it.  Here’s what we cover in this episode: Marcel’s agency growth services from consulting to technology solutions.Typical financial and growth challenges agency owners face and how to solve for them.Why agency founders feel like there’s no profit even if they’re busier than ever.Using data and metrics as a guide to answer the important questions as a founder. Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders: You need a tighter feedback loop on company financials so you can course correct quicker.Even custom in-house financial tools can end up costing agencies six figures to maintain; be careful of hidden costs.When you control your profitability, you can become a lot more deliberate about growing your agency.Why productizing services is good for the financial health of an agency. The resources mentioned in this episode are: Connect with Marcel on LinkedIn HereCheck out Parakeeto & their free resources Here  👍If you liked this episode, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and be sure to hit the subscribe button! 🔔 😡Frustrated with a lack of results from outbound? I'd like to give you my free 6-day email course that will transform your outbound program from broken to consistently driving new sales opportunities. Sign up here: GetOutboundROI.com.