Top KPIs for Optimizing Your Sales Process

The best part of owning an agency? 

It’s all the stuff that happens outside the day to day of your agency – travel, watching your kids play sports, creating cool shit. 

It’s letting go and letting your business run like a lean, mean, well-oiled machine. Ahh, priceless! But priceless or not, we have to get a grip on our numbers — the sales process. 

If you don’t have one in place yet, grab our free Sales Process Toolkit. We’ll walk you through it step-by-step. 

To keep your agency running smoothly and scaling, you must keep track of all your processes, the people, and the performance. Today, we’re going to dive into the agency sales process with the KPIs you need to measure success. 

“But Juliana, don’t I just measure revenue when it comes to sales? My sales are great!”

Well, that’s good to hear, and it’s true — your sales process is measured in revenue. 

But that’s not all. 

Measuring revenue is one thing.

Measuring other top KPIs will help you optimize it, get straight A’s across your sales scorecards, and identify room for growth

And remember, you want to keep your agency running smoothly. These top sales KPIs will help you do just that. Let’s take a look at the metrics that’ll help you develop an excellent agency sales strategy. 

Why you need data to go from good to flat-out great: Sales accountability 

If you haven’t already, you need to start making decisions based on data, not feelings. The more we use data to make decisions, the more objective our choices will be. Ultimately, this will make our business more agile. 

The thing is, inaction costs money. When we don’t have the data we need, we won’t act. So, having data makes it easier for us to act and to make accurate decisions. 

Am I saying eff it to feelings? No. Sometimes it’s good to listen to our gut. 

But looking at the data instead of relying just on feelings will save us time and money in the long run while keeping sales accountable to raw, hard numbers. 

Profitability: The King KPI

All right, there are different types of profitability. But let’s keep it simple so we can get a grip on our actual sales numbers. What’s the simplest profitability KPI?

Sales minus costs. 

That’s where you get your bottom line or your profit margins. When you look at this super simple metric, it gives you the ability to identify and cut the fat. 

So, why is this important? It all goes back to sales accountability. When you’re able to see where things are dragging, you can cut that out and make your business more agile and profitable. 

Customer Acquisition Costs KPI (CAC)

Everyone and their uncle claims to be a marketer nowadays. No matter what, though, marketing is getting super competitive. Measuring how much it costs to get a new customer will help you keep these costs reasonable. 

Here’s how you measure it:

CAC = costs related to getting new customers divided by the number of customers.

And here’s an example:

Let’s say a SaaS company spends 20K on a marketing campaign and customer acquisition expenses. They get 3500 new customers from this campaign. 

So, 20,000 divided by 3,500 is 5.71. It costs the company $5.71 (CAC) to acquire each customer through this campaign. 

Average Sales Cycle Length KPI

“How long is this lead going to take to close? Oh crap. I don’t know if I can keep the lights on next month. Good thing I like Ramen. ”

Measuring the average sales cycle length will make your sales forecasts more predictable. Get a certain number of leads, and you’ll know what your numbers will look like down the line. 

This KPI can help reduce the whole feast or famine thing. If you measure this KPI and decide to reduce it, you can boost your revenue growth. 

Keep in mind that if you sell to small business owners, your sales cycle will be shorter than if you sell primarily to enterprises. Also, customized products and services will have a longer sales cycle than something pre-made. 

Where you get your leads is also going to impact this KPI. Outbound lead generation where there’s low purchase intent will equal a longer sales cycle. To make sure you get an accurate picture, segment the equation down to:

  • Lead source
  • Prospect size
  • Product sold

First step:

Add the (X#) of days from the first contact to customer conversion for all deals = Total (X#) of days for sales combined. 

Next step:

Total (X#) of days for all sales combined divided by (X#) of deals = (X#) of days to the average sales cycle. 

It’s essential to measure average sales cycle KPI before diving into the next — SQL, or Sales Qualified Leads, to win conversion rate. 

SQL to Win Conversion Rate 

Sales and marketing need to be aligned to keep the entire sales process running smoothly. 

Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) represent those prospects that have expressed enough interest in your business to officially enter the sales process.

Measuring SQL to win helps your teams stay on the same page regarding the volume and lead quality that marketing passes off to the sales team for sales proposals. 

With this KPI, you’ll know conversion rates and gain the insight needed to pinpoint opportunities to improve your agency sales cycle. This KPI will improve sales accountability. 

How so?

It helps uncover efficiency deal closers and if there are any problems with the quality of sales opportunities. Conversion rates can indicate whether or not there’s something wrong with lead generation efforts. So, here’s how to measure it:

(X#) of deals won divided by (X#) of sales qualified leads equals the (X#) win conversion rate.

Measuring Sales Process KPIs: Key Takeaways and Action Steps

All right, it’s execution time. The first step, grab a copy of your P&Ls going back the last six months. 

“Uhhh, what are P&Ls? Don’t think I have those . . . “

Then that’s your first step. You need the data from your profits and losses (P&L’s) for the last six months to even begin measuring your sales KPIs. It won’t take too long, and you should be doing P&Ls once per month. 

Okay, got your P&Ls? Calculate your profitability and find your profit margin. 

Do it per client or per service if you’re a full-stack agency. This will help you identify the clients or services that are costing too much. 

“I’ve got some loss leaders, but I upsell!”

Well, okay then. Include upsells in your total revenue. 

The key takeaway? Be ruthlessly honest with yourself, especially when reviewing profitability per client. Remember, it’s basing decisions on data and not emotions that are going to make you scale. 

Use your sales process KPIs to get hyper-intentional about how you design your business, make decisions, and overall, run your agency. 

Now, go out there and kick some as$, Gladiator!

Get a Grip on Resources and Budgets with Time Tracking

Time tracking helps agencies improve their project management, budget, and resource allocation. But no one likes having a beady-eyed manager looking over their shoulder — even if it’s a digital one.  

Most of us have had to deal with a nitpicky micromanager at some point creating some management trauma. I know you don’t want to turn into that person and inflict that on your own team’s morale. But you need a way to keep track of your resources and budgets. 

Enter time tracking. 

UGH, I know. 

But I promise – this is a good thing. 

It’s a great tool, but only when implemented the right way, which we’ll get into here in a second. 

First though, a few important points. 

If you implement time tracking protocols and software with a hammy fist, your employees might feel the same way you did once — spied on, controlled, and micromanaged. 

But what if I told you that specific brand of paranoia isn’t justified?

That is if you can effectively communicate with your team on the importance of time tracking. And why it’s a good thing — for them. 

Let’s dive into how your business and your team benefit from time tracking. We’ll also show you the top time tracking tools to use to get a better grip on your resources and budgets.

Time Tracking, Project Management, and the Pareto Principle

You’ve probably heard of it — the Pareto Principle, one of my favorite principles, AKA the 80/20 rule. 

Applied to agencies, the Pareto Principle states that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients. Or a specific type of work. 

Do you know who those clients and projects are?

If you do, you can refocus your agency goals to maximize the most profitable clients or projects and improve your budget management. 

“But Juliana, what’s time tracking got to do with all that?”

Every hour you track is another hour that can be billed. When running fixed-priced contracts, you can identify the 20% that brings the most profits to the yard. 

You can weed out the types of projects and clients stretching your resources without doing much for your profit margins. 

Time tracking is a tool that can help scale your agency since you won’t be wasting time frying the small fish. 

Client management got you down? Your client onboarding probably needs some adjustments. It’s not too hard to do with our free client onboarding toolkit

CTA Button: Get the Free Toolkit

How does time tracking help your team members?

Scope creep can bury itself into your budgets, timelines, and also stress your employees. But in a lot of cases, workloads increase in such small increments, you might not notice. 

That is until you’re up at 3 AM stressing out about a project and not knowing how the heck it got so out of control. 

Implementing time tracking can help you identify when a workload is starting to get too big for its britches. 

But when employees hear “time tracking,” they often feel like Big Brother’s about to start spying on them. 

Tips for getting employee buy-in 

PMs, clearly communicate the point of time tracking to your team: 

  • We’re protecting our bandwidth so you don’t burnout 
  • We’re using time tracking to see what’s getting accomplished and when
  • Time tracking will reduce micromanaging because it increases transparency

On that last point, time tracking gives PMs the ability to supervise more efficiently. 

They won’t have the chance to nitpick or directly observe every single detail of the employee’s work process. With time tracking, project managers get a clearer picture of someone’s performance at a cursory glance.

Time tracking can also increase accountability across teams. 

If you’ve noticed a pattern of deliverables repeatedly missing deadlines, or certain team members taking on a huge workload, you might have an accountability issue somewhere. 

With time tracking, you can see where someone or a certain department might be slacking. Let your team know that time tracking can help with this issue and lighten their loads. 

When implementing time tracking, be clear about how you’ll do it, the data you’ll see, and how you’ll use it. 

Being upfront will go a long way toward building trust and getting buy-in from your team. So, manage expectations well in advance of implementation. 

Top Time Tracking Tools for Agencies

Make your life easier. When choosing a time tracking tool, get one with the following features:

  • Budget tracking
  • Freelancer tracking
  • Invoicing 
  • Project management integration

What about the price? If you capture just two hours a month, most time tracking software will pay for itself. We like these two:

Harvest

Harvest is $10 per month for each user and is one of the most popular time tracking tools on the market. It’s got all the important stuff you need:

  • Budget tracking
  • Built-in invoicing features
  • Ability to assign roles so that freelancers and part-timers can time track
  • Offers integrations with Asana, GitHub, and Jira

Toggl

Toggl paid plans are a little more expensive than Harvest — ranging from $10 to $59 a user per month. But it’s got a lower barrier to entry and is easier to set up. 

No need to set up tags, tasks, or projects. Just hit a timer, and you’re off to the races. 

  • Budget tracking
  • Invoicing abilities 
  • Freelancers can track their time
  • Integrations work through Chrome Extension
  • Great for small teams as it offers a free plan for up to five users

Your Next Steps for Time Tracking

Communicating with your team is the most important step in the process. Remember that.  

  • Figure out how you’re going to time track 
  • Be transparent about how you’ll use the data
  • Openly discuss your plans and goals
  • Let your team know how time tracking is going to benefit them 

Anytime you add something new to your team member’s workflow, building trust is key to getting buy-in. 


Have you wanted to use time tracking software to help scale your agency? What’s causing you to hold back? Let us know in the comments.

KPIs for Growth: Measuring Hiring and Onboarding

Employees are the engine that power your business success. But business owners often underestimate the cost of a new team member

So what are those costs? Roughly 30% of that person’s first-year salary. 

Make a bad hire, and those costs will skyrocket. 

74% of surveyed businesses have made the mistake of hiring the wrong person for the job. So if this is a misstep you’ve made, you’re not alone.

So don’t feel too down about it. Tomorrow’s another day and this is something we can fix so you never make the same mistake again.  

An airtight hiring and onboarding process is critical for your agency’s bottom line and will keep the wrong candidates out of your system. 

With the right hiring and onboarding KPIs, you’ll improve the quality of the hire while streamlining the hiring process. 

These KPIs will work for both in-person and remote hiring. Let’s break them down. 

How Putting Aces in Their Places Benefits Your Agency

Introverts make great front desk receptionists! No, no, they don’t. 

Bad hires can sap your team’s productivity and performance. They also risk legal fees for unlawful termination. 

You want to make sure you have the right person for a position. Otherwise, the costs of a bad hire will eat into your revenue stream. 

Here are just a few of the benefits hiring the right person for the job for your agency:

  • Decrease the time and expense of training
  • Improve employee morale
  • Increase retention rates
  • Make customers happy with better customer service

Using KPIs for onboarding and hiring will also reduce the costs of reviewing resumes, recruitment fees, and time spent interviewing. 

Time to Hire KPI

Recruiters and hiring managers, listen up: 

If you’re going to master any of these KPIs, make this one a top priority. 

How come? Because the time to hire KPI helps you:

  • Optimize your application process
  • Protect your company’s productivity, revenue, and brand image
  • Ensure that you’re interviewing only the top candidates

On average, and depending on the industry, time to hire can take anywhere from 14 to 63 days. 

Let’s think about this for a hot minute. You’ve got an exciting, well-paid position available that you want to fill asap. 

Your job ad is drool-worthy and laser-targeted to your ideal candidate. It’s being advertised freaking everywhere. 

So, who do you think is going to jump at the chance to apply and try to snag this top-notch position first?

Hint: it won’t be the forks when all you need is a knife. 

Your best candidates are going to apply early in the process. Take too long to hire and have a lengthy hiring process, and your best and brightest will drop out. 

What’s left? A pool of mediocre candidates that, if you hire, can hurt your brand image and productivity. Ugh. That’s some rain on your wedding day. 

If you notice a lot of candidates starting an application but not finishing, then you might need to tweak your application and hiring process. 

Time to Hire = Date of Hire – Date Candidate Enters the Pipeline

Quality of Hire KPI

Ensure that your new employees have A’s across their employee scorecard with the quality of hire KPI. 

To measure this KPI, you’ll need to go through your retention and performance data. 

You’ll also want to measure how your new hires fit in with the company. 

Are you experiencing new hires leaving within the first six months? Then you’re probably screening for the wrong traits. 

Also, this KPI can help you determine where you’ve found your best hires, like social media, job boards, or references.

(Performance + Productivity + Retention) / N = Quality of Hire

Measuring Time to Productivity

Time to productivity measures how long it takes for a new hire to meet performance level expectations. Setting a KPI here will help you uncover any cracks in your onboarding process. 

The exact KPI you set to measure time to productivity will vary across teams. But suffice it to say, it shouldn’t differ too much from one person to the next within a particular group. 

Keep These Marketing Agency Hiring and Onboarding Best Practices in Mind

Before you start measuring your KPIs for growth, take the following action steps:

  • Be consistent — Use the same onboarding process for each new hire. Consistency will make it easier to extract meaningful data from the hiring process. 
  • Be warm — During the hiring process, candidates are looking at your agency with a sharp eye, wondering if they’re making the right choice. Make candidates feel welcome during the onboarding process so they won’t feel unappreciated and bail. 
  • Think of it as a relationship — Think it’s done and over after hiring? Not so. Guide your new hires and develop them after the onboarding process is done. This will help them stay engaged and feel appreciated enough to stay with you for the long haul. 

Is the hiring process an exercise in frustration for you? 

Get some of your time back with our free Hiring Hacks Guide. And keep these hiring and onboarding KPIs in mind when you’re ready to add a new member to your team. 

Gimme!

KPIs for Growth: Measuring Project Management

“I love flying blind! Oh look, we’re about to fly headfirst into a mountain.” And it’s a mountain of misplaced expectations, lost brains, and absolute disorder. 

We all like and need certainty in our lives. And when it comes to scaling an agency, knowing where we’re winning and where we need a little bit of help is vital to agency growth. 

Hardly anything happens in a vacuum and effective project management is another one of those things. You need to make sure you’ve got the right tools and processes in place for scaling and growing. 

Because bottom line? You can’t scale chaos. 

So, how do you define KPIs for project management? It’s ScaleTime to the rescue to right your flight and steer you clear of the Mountain of Chaos. 

Check out our top growth KPIs for measuring project management tools to see just how well (or not) your current project management processes are working. 

Hold up — what makes a good KPI anyway? 

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator

Every internut (typo and it stays) guru and their uncle will throw a million KPIs you must measure or else!!! at you. But I want you to focus on KPIs that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Anything less, and you’re going to get overwhelmed. So let’s focus on the following to keep us on track. 

Growth KPI #1: Project Run Rate 

Gotta keep an eye on that budget. Success isn’t just about right deliverables, although that’s vital too. You also need to keep an eye on expense efficiency. 

Unforeseen issues can and often do occur during the course of a project. Project Run Rate can help you see how, why, and where budget shifts need to happen. 

Projects that keep running over budget are going to raise an eyebrow when it comes to your agency’s integrity. So, track the Cost Performance Index, or CPI KPI (catchy, right?) to measure how well you’re doing. 

Project Run Rate = Earned Value/Actual Costs

Earned Value is how much work’s gotten done at a specified cost. Actual Costs are pretty straightforward — they’re the money that’s already been spent on the project. 

If CPI is high (over 1), then you’ll finish the project under budget. Too low (below 1), and you’re about to go over. This KPI is vital to understanding your project’s health – whether it’s a one time project or retained services.

So, you’re 2 months into a 6 month project budgeted at 5k, month, you look at your data and you’ve spent 14k through two months. Houston, we have a problem. Time to look at managing your team’s time to get back on track.

Growth KPI #2: On Time Deliverables

Delivering on time is just as critical as staying on budget. Schedule Performance Index (SPI) helps you measure how well your team is sticking to the schedule.

SPI = Earned Value/Planned Value

Planned Value is the planned percentage of work you’re aiming to complete within budget. 

Say you’ve got a 10K budget and 40% of the project left to do. Planned Value is 4K. 

Use SPI to compare your actual costs and time and tweak the budget if you must. 

We often underestimate our timelines and how long a particular task is going to take. You usually can’t identify a creeping scope down to the last detail. 

This KPI will help you see where you have some leeway with timelines without jeopardizing the budget. 

You have a client who wants copy for their next email campaign. But oh yeah, could you just add in a few A/B split tests while you’re at it, too? For copy and subject lines? You’ve got the time for that, don’t you?

Dutifully measure this KPI, and you’ll know if it’s, “OMG, hair on fire! Must get done ASAP!” Or if you can breathe a sigh of relief. SPI helps you figure out your project management priorities and if you have some breathing room in the schedule. 

Growth KPI #3: Resource Capacity

Resources are finite. 

Does your team have the time needed to hit milestones by their due date? What about changes in scope? Does your team have the bandwidth to accommodate?

You must have the right amount of resources (people and their time) to complete your projects on schedule and within budget. That way, you’ll have a happy customer, and happy employees, at the end. 

When you’re short of crucial resources, projects are painful. 

You’ve might have been here before. You didn’t adequately onboard your client (no worries we’ve all been there, done that). Now they’re asking for “little” extras that are really adding up, resulting in an out-of-control, ballooning project and stressed employees. 

You have to measure your resource capacity to prevent these kinds of problems. 

So project managers, measure your resource capacity KPIs for maximum performance and resource efficiency. 

When you set this KPI, make the target realistic. No one goes full-throttle, 100% productive throughout the whole day. We all need a coffee break (or five) at times.  

Measuring this KPI has several different benefits:

  • You can allocate resources properly
  • Determine any hiring needs
  • Set an accurate schedule for deliverables
  • Determine an accurate project completion timeline

Resource Capacity = # of Project Team Members X % of Time Team Members are Available to Work

Use Growth KPIs and Go from Good to Gold

With the measurables of project management, you’ll:

  • More quickly and easily scale your agency
  • Increase your business integrity
  • Become more efficient, lean, and mean

Use these top three project management KPIs to keep your project’s on track, within budget, and your clients happy. 
Are you having trouble measuring KPIs and optimizing for growth? Reach out to us today.

Use These Top Agency Collaboration and Communication Tools to Scale and Grow

So many tools. So little time. 

Figuring out whether the latest and allegedly greatest newfangled communication tool is going to help your agency scale is not an easy task.

There’s the tried-and-true email, Slack, Asana, Monday, Clickup, and so many more. They’re all good, but here’s the problem:

If your organization doesn’t clearly define the roles these communication tools play, information gets:

  • Disorganized
  • Lost
  • Jumbled

Communication and efficiency suffer. Bottom line, you can’t control chaos, and chaos is what happens when your tools don’t have clearly defined communication roles. 

Let’s fix that for you. Use these top agency communication tools in the right roles for agency growth. 

Best Agency Tools for Managing Projects and Timelines

Are you running headfirst into a brick wall of:

  • Confused staff who don’t know what tasks to execute or prioritize?
  • PMs unaware of project status?
  • No clear expectations or higher-ups identified?
  • Impatient clients tired of waiting for your team to get their sh$t together?

Then your issue is you don’t have an organized system to monitor your project status and manage timelines. Managing project timelines is critical to scaling an agency. 

The best collaboration tools for project management are tools like:

  • Clickup
  • Asana
  • Trello
  • Monday

These are powerful project management tools with easy-to-use, modern interfaces for managing your project timelines. You can:

  • Plan project timelines
  • Assign specific tasks
  • Work on team management 
  • Monitor the status of each project
  • Quickly see where each project is on its dedicated timeline

But, these tools are NOT for communicating around things that are not directly project related, which lead us to . . .

Best Tool for Non-Task Related Communication

It’s Slack. Hands down. Think of Slack like a digital version of the traditional water cooler. Using Slack can help improve teamwork, productivity, and culture. 

Employees can shoot off a quick message or meme to brighten the day. Questions can be answered quickly and communication efficiently improved. 

Setting up Slack channels related to different client accounts and tasks can help keep communications streamlined. You can also invite clients to Slack channels so clients and account managers are all on the same page. 

Best Long-form Communication Tool

Email is one of the best communication tools for your vendors, partners, and clients. Unless, you can convince them or they have the sophistication to get on your project manager or Slack.  

If you want your communication to be efficient, clear, and concise, head on over to email to make sure nothing gets lost in translation. 

Email enables you to communicate a lot of complex information in an archivable form. And it makes it easy for you to archive important communication chains for later reference. CCing streamlines communication among multiple partners at different companies too. 

WARNING – you don’t want a hairy inbox! To get clients out of your inbox use automations to move actionable messages and requests over to your project manager to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. 

Best Collaboration Tools for Scaling an Agency

Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive are excellent tools for collaboration and storing critical project documents. Team members can access the cloud from any device, anytime, and anywhere. 

Ever lost your brain on a project? Then you need to start using Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.

Google Drive is empowered with Google’s search capabilities so docs are easily found and accessed. Store your instruction forms, SOPs, and other vital documents in the easily accessible cloud. 

Communication Tools Help Everyone Work Smarter and Faster

One final tip — invite your clients to use these tools. This can help you all work smarter and faster and hit those deliverable timelines. 

Just make sure you identify any cracks in your client processes and fix them first. Let’s just say, boundaries are beautiful and vital to a project’s success. 

Put your communication aces in their places

Today’s agencies need powerful collaboration and communication tools to hit goals and consistently deliver results. 

Increase your efficiency and communication effectiveness, and you’ll have an easier time growing your business. 

Whether you want to ixnay the crossing of communication wires or improve workplace culture, these top business communication tools can help.  

What agency communication tools have you used? What results did you achieve? Let us know in the comments!

What to do when a top employee takes leave

It’s going to happen one way or another.

Maybe it’s because she gets pregnant. Maybe it’s because she gets sick. Maybe he takes a sabbatical or finds a new job. Whatever the reason, one day your top employee is going to tell you they need extended time off.

And in that moment, if you don’t read this article, you’re totally screwed.

The good news is, you’re reading this article, so there’s hope for you yet, youngblood.

You see, here’s what most people do when their top employee leaves:

Freak out and have a nuclear meltdown.

Take on all the work themselves, pretending like everything is fine.

Dump it on some poor, helpless, unsuspecting employee.

Panic, hire someone random and hope they can figure it out.

No, no, no!

What you need to do is create a plan NOW, so that you’re prepared for this moment when it comes. When you prepare, you’ll be able to absorb the shock of the impact without much damage to the business. If you don’t prepare, well, see “freak out and have a meltdown.”

Today I want to share three ways you can prepare for the inevitable loss of your top employee, whether it’s temporary or permanent.

 

Step #1: Find the docs

One of the biggest challenges owners face when an employee leaves is figuring out where everything the employee was working on is. Is it on their desktop in some folder? Some dungeon drive that hasn’t seen the light of day in years? Even worse, is it in their head, physically inaccessible to anyone besides your employee (at least until Elon Musk creates his brain linking company)?

Before it’s too late, build a clear structure for documentation that all of your employees understand and follow, and create a consistent naming structure so that documents are easily searchable.

Step #2: Track progress

Ah yes, the age-old question: Is my employee almost done with that client deliverable or have they yet to start?

If you don’t have clear insight into your employee’s progress on client work, you might as well be working alone. As the owner of your business, you need to be steering the ship in the right direction, but the only way you can do that is if your employees are rowing.

To solve this issue, implement a project management system with clear workflows, so you always know where any project is. This allows you to easily handoff work to different employees when another one has delays or roadblocks.

Do this and you’ve suddenly got a ship full of vikings, all rowing together towards Valhalla ($$$).

Step 3: Handoffs

Oh damn! Did I just say handoffs?

Why yes, yes I did.

When you’re employee says they’re going to take leave, who is going to handle their workload? Plan this out BEFORE they leave.

Can you shift their workload to one or two other people on the team? If this is your plan, do those employees have the capacity? You don’t want to shift the workload to people who can’t handle it.

Will you hire a temporary employee who will fill the gap while they’re gone? If so, how will you get them up to speed?

Will you promote another employee to take on the workload and then hire a new employee to fill that employee’s space?

Or will you hire someone new who will continue working with you when your #1 returns? If so, where will you find them?

These are all critical questions to ask before they’re necessary to answer.

So there you have it…

When you’re adequately prepared for your employees to leave, you can actually mean it when you congratulate your #1 employee when she tells she’s pregnant. 

ScaleTime Tips:

  1. Make sure everyone on the team has access to documents and client progress
  2. Make sure you have access to progress
  3. Make sure you can easily hand off their work

Have you ever lost your top employee before? If so, how did you handle it?

 

 

Performance Evaluations

What type of student were you back in the day?

When it was time for report cards, were you rushing to show your parents your grades?

Or were you rushing to trash the report card before they could ever see them?

Great entrepreneurs are cut from both cloths.

But one thing few entrepreneurs realize is that report cards are a crucial part of growing your business.

The only difference is that they’re not called report cards, they’re called performance evaluations.

A lot of people recoil at this idea, but it’s not as cringeworthy as you think…

… and it could be the key you’ve been looking for to retain and develop good talent.

Think about it.

When you knew you had a killer report card, how did you feel? Were you nervous, or ashamed? No! You were on top of the world and you wanted everyone to know.

A lot of business owners feel weird “grading” their employees. But from your perspective, nothing could make more sense than a regular performance review.

First of all, it pushes you to keep track of your employee’s performance. Your money is going into their pockets, so I’d say it’s pretty damn important to know if that investment is paying off. You want to see if they’re delivering on expectations you set when they started off, or if they’re over or under delivering.

By doing it regularly, you get the chance to quickly course correct if things are going off the rails and address the cause of the issue.

If you’ve got an employee who’s crushing it, they’re going to be excited to get the evaluation, and you’re going to be happy to deliver it. It gives you a structured way to provide positive feedback, while providing an easy environment to deliver constructive feedback.

If you have an employee who isn’t performing no matter what, the evaluations are a way to let them know there’s an issue, and even let them go, in a way that is fair and objective.

In addition, performance evaluations are perfect times to set new goals with your employees. These goals should be a mix of goals for the business, but also development goals that are personally important to your employees. By helping your employees develop where they want to grow, you’re not only empowering them and building a deeper connection to the business, but you are also creating more skilled employees.

I understand the gut reaction against performance evaluations, but if you’re running a business, you know what needs to be done is rarely easy.

As Tim Ferriss says, “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”

If you’re ready to get started with performance evaluations for your employees, then you should check out my free template that gives you everything you need to get started.

Check out the performance evaluation template here.

Try it out and let me know how it goes. It may feel awkward the first few times you do it, but it will become easier with each one, and your business will be better off.

This hiring hack can save you 20+ hours

Putting a job posting up on a job site like Indeed is like throwing a grenade on top of a mountain and waiting for it to explode.

If you’ve created the right posting, you’re about to get an avalanche of resumes (one posting on Indeed can easily generate over 100 applications).

Few business owners have any reliable way for sorting through them.

Maybe you’re one of those people who spends 15 minutes on every single one, throwing away days in the process.

Or maybe you only review a certain number of resumes, and ignore the rest, potentially passing over the best candidate.

Either ways, after just a few reviews all resumes start to look the same.

Then you start second-guessing yourself.

And then the overwhelm takes over.

There’s a much, much better way.

After hiring hundreds employees of my own, and helping hundreds of clients do the same, I’ve developed a streamlined process that helps you quickly review the resumes you receive, while maintaining high standards to make sure you get the right candidate.

The process involves sorting employees into different buckets as quickly as possible. The Yes’s, maybes, hell nos, and people that might be good for something else. Each resume should take 30 seconds to review.

There are 4 key points you want to look for when you’re sorting through resumes.

        1.  Basic standards

There are a few questions we want to ask before we move on to the content of the resume:

  1. Is the person real? Yes, you might get spam resumes
  2. Is this resume formatted with any degree of professionalism?
  3. Are they based in a suitable location for the job?

       2.  Dependability

Here we’re looking to see if they’ve kept down a job for a year or longer, or if they have any big gaps in their resume. Although this doesn’t tell the full story, if a resume is filled with 3 and 6 month jobs, that’s a big red flag. Another red flag is if there are gaps in employment of more than a few months. Sure they could explain these issues, but we don’t have time to get everyone’s story here.

        3.  Experience

Looking at their job titles, do they have experience doing what you’ll need them to do? When we do this scan, we aren’t looking for someone with a perfect experience match (although that would be nice). What we’re looking for are job positions that are related to what we’re asking them to do, or ones that require similar skill sets.

        4.  Specific requirements

Are there any deal breakers or standards they must meet? Now is when you look for them. Certificates, degrees, or anything else that they must have.

At first this may take a minute or two, but believe me, after looking through a few resumes, you’ll be a pro.

Having too many resumes to review is a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. Following this process is an easy way to save time and money, while increasing your chances of finding the perfect hire for your company.

The Real Cost Of A New Team Member

Hiring an employee is one hell of an experience for entrepreneurs.

So many emotions bundled up into one decision.

One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how much an employee is going to cost.

I’m sure the first time you hired, you significantly underestimated how much it was going to cost.

Everyone does.

In fact, I find that most business owners often underestimate costs by 25%.

I’m gonna be real – that’s unacceptable, but it’s not too late.

Today I’ve got a few tips on how to budget for hiring, plus a handy hiring cost calculator that will help you get an accurate idea of how much it will actually cost.

To get started, there are few questions you need to ask yourself.

Once those are answered, head on over to the ScaleTime Hiring Calculator to get a clear budget prepared.

Pitfall#1 – Hiring a full time employee when all you need is a VA or freelancer

A lot of business owners who feel overwhelmed look to hire someone full time, so that they can “really focus on what’s important.” The challenge is sometimes the amount of overwhelm you feel is not directly correlated to how much work you have. Offloading a few tasks to a VA or freelancer will often clear enough off your plate, or the plate of your employees, to put you back in the driver’s seat.

Pitfall#2 Hiring (an expensive) senior team member because you don’t want to handhold

I see this all the time. In some cases, a business owner wants to find a team member who has experience doing exactly what you need them to do. In other cases, an employee is begging you to hire someone more experienced to handle tasks they aren’t equipped for.

Either way, your goal is to get someone who can hit the ground running. You don’t want to have to spend time training someone, hand-holding them through every aspect of their job.

It makes complete sense, but for most biz owners, it doesn’t work out. And the reason is because they don’t have the proper systems, documents, or training in place to help a new hire get up to speed. Without them, you could hire a college intern for 1/10th the price, and they’d only be slightly less effective. Even the most qualified employees still need to learn the ins and outs of your business before they’re ready to hit the ground running. Implementing proper hiring systems, and then hiring junior employees is often much easier and effective (you can mold them to your business because they haven’t had time to develop too many bad habits yet).

Pitfall#3 Underestimating costs

A lot of my clients say they want to hire someone worth 30K or 50K a year, and then go out looking for that person. The thing they don’t think about is that salary is just one part of the equation. Many other costs go into hiring, including:

    • Your time spent searching for candidates
    • Onboarding costs
  • Tax and benefits

The good news is – if you can avoid the first two pitfalls on your own, I can help you avoid the third. My Hiring Calculator helps you quickly estimate the true cost of that new hire. While most biz owners stick their finger in the air and hope things work out, you’ll begin the process bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Access the calculator here

Try it out and let me know what you think. If you were planning on hiring, how good were your estimates on how much it would cost vs. what you found using this calculator?

10 Reasons Your Employees Will *Never, Ever* Leave You

1. You are the bottleneck and everything needs to get approved by you

2. You are not accessible … so naturally, nothing gets approved

3. You complain that your employees don’t meet deadlines

4. You never give your employees feedback, well sometimes, kinda — you know it’s usually super vague

>> Download our easy Progress Review template and see how you can improve the performance of your staff.

5. You wonder why your employees don’t come into work happy

6. You never give them any structured reviews or progress — instead, you give them more work

7. You constantly ask your employees for SUPER-long meetings with no agenda

8. Most of your decisions are made from pure emotion and you are in reaction-mode most of the time

9. When you have a small team and one decides to take a vacation — you panic and, of course, pile on MORE work

The biggest reason they will never leave you is because…

10. You are an AMAZE-BALLS micro-manager

Does any of this sound like you?

If it does, here are some useful questions to ask yourself that will help make retaining talent much easier:  

  • When was the last time you gave them autonomy over a project?
  • When was the last time you gave a review?
  • When was the last time you touched any of your business systems?
  • When was the last time you rewarded them for good work?

Ready for the first step?

Let’s drop the doom and gloom and here’s a PDF to get you started on progress reviews…

Download our awesome Progress Review template and see how you can help your staff kick more ass!!!