Have you ever had one of those moments where your goals of becoming the first at something, actually comes true?
It’s a pretty good feeling.
Two weeks ago, BrandManager reached diamond status, within Hubspot’s Partner Program and became the first Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) based agency to be awarded this status.
This award shows that with a goal-driven focus, passion, energy and a bit of hustle, any agency regardless of size is capable of achieving their goals.
So, here’s the thing, I don't want to write an article boasting about our success, boring right, I’d rather focus on what it really means to become a diamond agency.
For those that don't drink the HubSpot kool-aid or live/breathe inside the ecosystem, you won’t know what the fuss is about…. so, let’s break it down.
Firstly, what is Hubspot’s Agency Partner Program?
It’s a program focused on long-term success of HubSpot’s customers. HubSpot partners are regularly assessed on their ability to deliver exceptional services and maintain the high standard set by HubSpot.
Just like other tiered programs, HubSpot recognises partners who grow their own client portfolio, but they also reward those who execute inbound marketing services to the highest standards.
Over 3,500+ HubSpot partner agencies are split into tiers using a combination of metrics, looking at monthly recurring revenue (MRR), retention, software engagement, and actual inbound marketing success.
Secondly, how do you become a HubSpot Diamond Partner?
In order to reach a diamond tier level, an agency needs to achieve $50,000 of monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and a trailing 12-month sold MRR. Need this clarified?
Well to simplify, you would need approx. 35 – 50 loyal clients, who use HubSpot tools regularly, score high CHI (customer happiness index) and enjoy the achievement of marketing and sales results.
It’s no lean feat, only 20 companies have achieved this status – worldwide.
Those that have achieved this status, clearly understand and showcase the qualities that make a company great; such as being a customer focused and customer centric organisation.
Now that you understand how one becomes diamond, what does it mean to become the first in your region?
Here’s our mantra: 'Success demands you must go where you’ve never gone before, by doing what you've never done before'
Just after achieving platinum, we identified where we want to go and what we needed to do to achieve that success (of becoming the first diamond agency in ANZ). We didn't have another agency to follow, we were it….. Imagine being a smaller agency and becoming the leaders in your space. What do you do?
We knew we were the pioneers in ANZ and other agencies were watching. We needed to keep pushing forward and that we did.Within a short period (2.5 years), we went from a small silver agency servicing SMB’s to a diamond HubSpot partner, servicing over 50 loyal ‘medium sized enterprise’ clients on HubSpot. So how did we do it?...
'Success demands you must go where you’ve never gone before, by doing what you've never done before'
The 7 Simple changes which helped BrandManager become Diamond Partners
For BrandManager, it was simple. Future proof the agency and build predictable, scalable processes.We needed to think big – think beyond the general playbook which other agencies had adopted. Here’s some of the key things we did to drive growth.
We defined our agency positioning and go-to marketing strategy: We needed to truly differentiate ourselves as everyone offers the same service.
We got our financial, business structure and employee house in order. Too many business owners neglect this.
Adopted an Agile philosophy applied to workflow: in and out.
Improved our production management processes to accelerate our efficiency and productivity. Streamlined our task management, communication and tracking using a one-stop solution.
Setup sales compensation plans, where sales were a competency and not a department.
Remodeled and reshaped our recruitment strategy to attract the new generation employee – someone who is a specialist with tangential skills.
We defined our packages and pricing: Aligning the economic incentives of both client and agency. We decided not to inherit the points based system but having a value based model was important.
Let’s be honest, while these sound good, we’ve made some stuff ups on this journey. It’s never squeaky clean. There were lots of ‘wake-up calls’ such as:
We didn’t market our own agency as our number one priority.
We didn't define our prospect matrix fit and subsequently took on the wrong clients.
We didn't fire clients quick enough, when we knew they were not the right fit.
We struggled to achieve deadlines with rapid growth, reducing our expected output.
For BrandManager, these key points above were the things we credit to our success. Achieving this status means everything we have been through for the last few years – the failures, the stress and long days for employees, has paid off. This is the reason why it means so much to become the first Hubspot Diamond Agency and number one inbound marketing agency in Australia and New Zealand.
'Achieving this means everything we have been through - the failures, the stress and The long days has paid off'
This Achievement Was ALso Celebrated By HubSpot
Achieving diamond obviously meant a lot for us but it was also a special for moment HubSpot. Here is some of the things they had to say about the achievement.
“Having our first Diamond Partner in ANZ is significant. This shows that Inbound Marketing in the ANZ region is showing signs of positive growth. Our first Diamond Tier partner acts as a case study for all agencies that are aiming to reach this milestone and those starting with HubSpot. For me personally, I’m stoked to see BrandManager (an agency I’ve worked with for 3 years) achieve this prestigious milestone. Something so highly regarded by all 2000+ HubSpotters” - Brent Claremont, First Channel Consultant in HubSpot’s Asia Pacific region.
“Love it! Go BrandManager Go! Go Tony Go! Go ANZ Go!!” - Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot.
“Really excited to see BrandManager be our first Diamond partner in ANZ! I had a pretty good feeling that you were going to go fast and break some records! Thanks again for your trust, the partnership and for spreading the word about Inbound!” - Jeetu Mahtani, Managing Director, HubSpot International
“We’re very happy for you and the team. It’s quite an amazing feat and is a testament to your work ethic, ingenuity, and continual improvement. Thanks for helping us spread the word to all of Australia (literally, from coast to coast).” - Dave Shepherd, Director of Sales, HubSpot ANZ
It’s great to become the first, but it’s more humbling to have carved the way for so many HubSpot partners, within this region. Just like other agencies, we didn't have the pedigree, intelligence, experience or the capital when we started our journey. We struggled like everyone else, but we came through the other side.
Like other diamond agencies in the USA, we owe it to future generations of HubPartners to share our experiences and part ways with our knowledge to help others grow.
Moving forward, our road map doesn't stop at Diamond. We want to improve in every way possible – we want to learn how to recognise and avoid common growth-related traps, so we can continue to grow our inbound marketing agency through the expansion lifecycle.
In addition, we have one scary audacious goal - to change the HubSpot agency ecosystem (from how agencies see it today) and push toward the highest monthly recurring revenue (MRR) worldwide.
Can it be achieved? Well, that's our next challenge!
So here we are, the first ever diamond agency in Australia and New Zealand… the #1 HubSpot partner in the region.
Fortunately, BrandManager’s culture is to “celebrate our success” and we did that in style.