Stuck in a Feast-or-Famine Revenue Cycle
Kevin Dean, President and CEO of ManoByte, is the first to admit that when he launched his agency 12 years ago, he didn’t really know how to grow it.
“I was learning as I went along,” says Kevin, “and piecing it all together was a struggle.”
In particular, achieving recurring revenue was a major challenge, especially as a team of one.
Kevin explains: “I would land a big job, get paid, and then watch my revenue decline as I performed the work. Once the work was complete, I’d start selling again, land a new job, and the cycle would repeat.”
To break this feast-or-famine cycle, Kevin did some research, literally Googling “How agencies can generate consistent revenue.” He found a HubSport article on the topic and, soon after, attended a HubSpot webinar on retainer revenue, something he wasn’t familiar with at the time.
After receiving a call from a HubSpot rep who described how Kevin could use the Solutions Partner Program to implement a recurring revenue model and grow his business, Kevin signed up the very next day.
Recurring Revenue as a HubSpot Solutions Partner
Signing on as a HubSpot Solutions partner gave Kevin the playbook he needed to grow ManoByte and find more recurring revenue.
“At the time, HubSpot had step-by-step instructions you could follow,” says Kevin. “If you did what HubSpot said you should do, you were almost guaranteed to grow.”
Since Kevin first signed up eight years ago, agency work has become much more complex. Today, no single playbook will work for every agency. However, HubSpot continues to guide agencies in their quest for recurring revenue and growth.
“HubSpot makes sure that its partner agencies have the tools and resources they need to succeed and gives them excellent guidance and advice along the way,” says Kevin.
More opportunities to grow retainer revenue
HubSpot’s continued commitment to its Solutions Partner Program is most evident in a new initiative to shift client onboarding to its partners.
All new HubSpot customers that sign up for a professional-level license or above receive onboarding support for a one-time fee. This support is necessary to ensure new customers are set up to leverage the HubSpot CRM platform for maximum success.
In the past, HubSpot always onboarded these clients directly. But under this new initiative, HubSpot is passing the onboarding engagement to its Solutions Partners, giving them the opportunity to develop relationships with new clients and identify areas for continued growth.
ManoByte is benefiting from this new initiative in a big way.
For example, one client signed a hefty monthly retainer after working together closely on implementation.
Kevin explains: “As we taught them how to leverage HubSpot, they asked lots of questions about how to grow their business that were outside the scope of our onboarding program. It became clear that they needed more services, and so we started helping them with some of their content creation needs.”
Those initial services eventually developed into recurring revenue.
“They really appreciated the work we did and saw a ton of value in it, so they signed up for a retainer of $5,000,” says Kevin. “Later, they wanted to expand our services to another part of their business, and so they increased the retainer to $9,000. And that’s how we turned a $1,850 one-time engagement into a $9,000 monthly retainer.”
Access to the HubSpot ecosystem
In addition to landing new clients, Kevin also likes how the Solutions Partner Program gives him access to an exclusive group of agencies that are similar to his own.
“The HubSpot ecosystem of partners is like no other in the world,” says Kevin. “It connects us to other agency owners who are at the same stage of growth, so we can share tips, tricks and ideas. It’s really top notch.”
Support from the HubSpot channel account manager
In addition to the HubSpot community of partners, Kevin also receives valuable support from his HubSpot channel account manager (CAM). ManoByte’s CAM is an expert in the platform and a HubSpot employee—but is embedded with ManoByte and lobbies for them.
“Our CAM sits in our weekly sales meetings and advocates for us with HubSpot,” says Kevin. “He helps us keep on top of what’s new and what we need to do to grow. He’s essentially a member of our team, and that’s an awesome thing.”
A solution that scales to all customers
More than ever, Kevin recognizes his good fortune in choosing to join the HubSpot Solutions Partner Program so early in his company’s development.
Unlike some competitors, the Hubspot CRM platform has the flexibility to meet the needs of any customer in any industry regardless of size—and can scale with the customer as they grow.
Small customers, for example, can implement quickly and at a reasonable cost.
“You don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get started and spend 18 months setting it up,” says Kevin.
At the same time, the HubSpot CRM platform is also a great fit for enterprise companies with complex needs.
“The idea that HubSpot is only for small businesses is crazy talk,” says Kevin. “Some of our customers sell through complex distribution models and have billions in revenue, yet HubSpot serves these customers as well or better than Salesforce and SAP—without having to hire an internal team to administer it.”
HubSpot training and certification
HubSpot’s robust training and certification programs also help Kevin find qualified new hires and get them up to speed quickly.
“HubSpot’s training program is second to none,” says Kevin. “And with their certification program, it’s easy to identify great candidates and upgrade their skills as needed.”
2X Revenue YOY for Four Years
Today, ManoByte is a HubSpot Diamond Solutions partner that has doubled its revenue four years running—firmly breaking out of the feast-or-famine cycle.
In fact, ManoByte’s revenue grew from $300K (before joining the Solutions Partner program) to revenue in the multi-millions.
Kevin also grew his team from three to 23.
Even with all this success, what really distinguishes HubSpot from its competitors is its commitment to helping agencies succeed—something that’s as true now as when Kevin signed up as a Solutions Partner eight years ago.
“I’ve worked with lots of other software companies and many are more concerned with pushing their product than supporting agencies,” says Kevin. “This separates HubSpot from the rest of the pack—and it’s why agencies should choose to join the HubSpot Solutions Partner Program.”