Not every client of Spoke Marketing runs on EOS®. But they’ll still get a dose of Traction® when they engage Spoke to create sales-driven marketing solutions. Spoke began its journey of Running on EOS™ in 2019. Since then, the team has become a strong advocate for other businesses to do the same. Often EOS comes up early during conversations with prospective clients.
“During initial conversations, I’ll say, ‘We run on EOS, do you?’” said David Meyer, a partner at Spoke Marketing. “If they say yes, I already know they want to level up, and they understand the importance of accountability.”
He said that common ground creates an almost immediate level of trust with clients. And he knows those clients will take growing their businesses seriously. So when Spoke’s team starts asking hard questions, the clients won’t be shy about answering.
But David admits Spoke wasn’t always so organized.
Spoke Marketing was founded in 2008. In the following years, their client base exploded.
It quickly became apparent that scalability had become a major problem. In the beginning, the partners had created jobs for themselves but hadn’t created a business. Now, with each partner running at or beyond their individual capacity, they couldn’t grow the business. And working beyond capacity put them at risk of burning out.
To fix this, they needed to learn how to create a process and narrow their focus to make things repeatable. From there, they had to learn to let go by empowering their team to grow – and grow profitably.
So, in December 2019, Spoke Marketing started working with Expert EOS Implementer™ Jeanet Wade. She took the leadership team through the initial process of completing their Vision/Traction Organizer (V/TO™).
Early on, the leadership team proudly proclaimed that they already “had” core values and didn’t need to do that exercise. When Jeanet pressed them on the results, the team admitted to shortcomings.
“We’re a marketing agency; we should know this, right?” David said. “Jeanet told us to trust her and go through the process anyway. And guess what? Within an hour or two, our core values changed.”
During their sessions with Jeanet, David said the team found themselves saying, “Well, no sh*t!” a lot. He said it was embarrassing because, of course, they should have three-year goals and marketing strategies. They couldn’t just hide behind cop-outs like not knowing things because they’d never taken accounting, finance, or business classes.
“Agencies operate like the cobbler’s kids with no shoes,” David said. “We tell our clients, ‘If you have a service, market it like a product.’ We had to do that for ourselves. We’re still in the process of doing it.”
As they worked through completing the sections of the V/TO, Jeanet encouraged Spoke to create a guarantee. David said offrering a guarantee in the marketing world has served as a tremendous differentiator.
“We tell clients that if they don’t see the outcomes they wanted, we cut a check back to them,” he said. “That’s right in our Statement of Work.”
As part of their business model, clients pay half their fee up front and the other half at the end. Since many of Spoke’s clients have gotten burned by agencies before, Spoke’s guarantee gives them a level of comfort.
With a clear core focus and niche, David said they can usually tell if someone won’t be a good fit as a client. And they’ve learned to cut their losses in these cases. Because if someone wasn’t a good fit in the beginning, they wouldn’t be a good fit six months from then. Because of this diligence, they’ve never had someone ask for their money back.
Spoke had to learn their own “what” and “when” from running on EOS. Now they can become the “how” for their clients.
To do that, Spoke integrated a client’s V/TO and Rocks into how they work with them. They talk about issues and create quarterly goals with them. Then Spoke sets up a meeting cadence to monitor progress and achieve them. Even clients who don’t run on EOS or whose budgets won’t support weekly meetings appreciate the arrangement.
“We’ve had clients say they’ve never worked with an agency as focused on their business as we are,” David said. “No one else has gotten into their sales process, helped them set goals, or held them accountable for their goals. Our clients get better results because we do. We set clear objectives, and together we achieve them.”
Ultimately, this process helps Spoke achieve their goals too. Although, much like their clients, that journey has come with its fair share of bumps along the way.
For example, a funny thing happened when the two original owners took the Crystallizer Assessment™. David’s partner, Dan Klein, scored clearly as a Visionary. Meanwhile, David tested as a mixture of Visionary and Integrator™.
So naturally, in their new Accountability Chart, Dan sat in the Visionary seat and David took the Integrator one. Perfect solution, right?
Except David admits to being quite possibly the worst Integrator in the world. He has hated every moment as the Integrator and knew this couldn’t become a long-term solution. He’s temporarily dealing with the pain of sitting in the wrong seat while they search for a “real” Integrator. Until then, David receives help fulfilling his Integrator duties.
Yet, David doesn’t mind taking this “medicine” because the results from running Spoke on EOS have been staggering.
“We hold more efficient meetings, and we’ve found better ways to communicate between departments,” David said. “Who doesn’t want that? Running on EOS has really helped our team culture. People seemed almost relieved to have clear goals.”
Spoke Marketing operates by the concept that marketing shouldn’t cost clients money; it should make them money. By becoming a stronger team, Spoke can more effectively help its clients find the fastest way to cash too.