Sagefrog is a top-ranked B2B marketing firm specializing in healthcare, technology, industrial, and business services. Since its founding in 2002, the agency’s mission has been to accelerate success for business-to-business (B2B) companies through brand building and integrated marketing.
After slow yet steady growth for 15 years and an attempt at self-implementing EOS®, co-founders of Sagefrog, Mark Schmukler, and Suzanne Morris, decided to dig their heels into growing their agency and hired EOS Implementer®, Mark O’Donnell, who now serves as the visionary/CEO of EOS Worldwide.
O’Donnell started Sagefrog’s EOS journey by having its leadership team complete the Organizational Checkup™ to measure the Six Key Components™ of the business. Upon performing the Organizational Checkup, Sagefrog uncovered major areas of opportunity. Over the next two years, Sagefrog utilized the EOS Toolbox™ and O’Donnell’s strategic guidance on a quarterly basis to tackle each of the six components head-on.
Here’s a look at how Sagefrog used the Organizational Checkup to elevate its growing agency.
Sagefrog’s co-founders realized that while the agency’s vision was clear in their minds, it was not communicated to the rest of the company. Using the Vision/Traction Organizer™ (V/TO™), Sagefrog’s leadership team set a clear vision, including Core Values, Core Focus, 10-Year Target™, Marketing Strategy, and 3-Year Picture™. In classic agency fashion, Sagefrog even transcribed its vision on a whiteboard wall in their office to remind the team about the agency’s vision each day
After quickly growing from 10 to 25 people, Sagefrog was faced with a few Right People Right Seat (RPRS) issues. The EOS Toolbox™ and O’Donnell’s insight provided a proper structure for addressing these concerns. While not the easiest component to solve, Sagefrog learned about an EOS concept called “36 Hours of Pain.” This is the idea that a company can anguish about difficult issues for months or realize that upon making the decision to do something difficult, they will experience “36 hours of pain between delivering the news and executing the transition. After that, you, your people, and your company will be happier.” This concept rang true for Sagefrog and has continued to be a concept the agency’s leadership team turns to when faced with difficult decisions. Since enacting this concept, Sagefrog’s performance, morale, and culture have soared, awarding the agency Philadelphia Business Journal’s Best Place to Work distinction for three consecutive years.
In the world of marketing, some functions like Creative and Content are more suited for subjective feedback than objective feedback, making performance measurement tricky. When developing its Scorecard, Sagefrog was challenged to find the right metrics for these departments. EOS principles and O’Donnell’s direction, however, reminded the agency that everything should be in support of the V/TO. For Sagefrog, this meant billable hours should be the focus, as it’s the metric that will enable the agency to grow. With this number established, Sagefrog assigns and holds everyone in the organization accountable for a single metric that would be measured in Level 10 Meetings™ each week.
As a smaller company, it can be easy for one little issue to take over the workplace and conversation until it’s solved. Learning and truly realizing that “issues are just issues and should be set up to be knocked down” during IDS™ (Identify, Discuss, and Solve) sessions was a turning point for the agency. IDS helped the agency’s leaders remove extra emotion and frustration from problem-solving conversations, keeping everyone focused on getting to the root cause of the issue to find a smart solution. Each department is holding weekly Level 10 Meetings, focused on open, honest, and productive IDS sessions.
Sagefrog loves a process, but the agency needed to turn that mentality outward by giving prospects and clients a proven method to see and follow. Sagefrog put its branding skills into action here, creating a visual process for its Sagefrog Integrated Marketing Program (SIMP). This process diagram, which was influenced by the EOS Process®, is now used regularly in business development meetings and with existing clients—it’s been extremely well-received.
Sagefrog gained traction by attending quarterly planning sessions with O’Donnell and holding a quarterly State of the Company meeting, including a Rock Review, which has been deemed “FrogForum” by the agency. This cadence has allowed Sagefrog to gain momentum company-wide every 90 days. The planning sessions result in new company and department Rocks and to-do’s, not to mention renewed energy and focus.
Scoring 95 and So Much More
With these changes implemented for the Six Key Components of their business over two years, Sagefrog sent the Organizational Checkup to the entire organization once again, this time using Survey Monkey to capture the individual results. Sagefrog scored 95 on the Organizational Checkup—a drastic improvement from its original score and an impressive metric compared to the EOS-graduate requirement of 80%.
The focus that the Organizational Checkup brought to the agency’s team is responsible for other exciting achievements as well. In the same year that Sagefrog scored 95, the agency also achieved record-breaking revenue and received important industry accolades, including several fastest-growing-company and top-ranked marketing agency awards.
Above all, the agency credits EOS and their incredible Implementer, Mark O’Donnell, for the significant improvements, growth, and quality of life that have been gained since starting this journey.