In the agency world, the path to success is seldom straightforward. And our story here at Salted Stone is no exception. Founded by a team of two in 2008, Salted Stone has grown, in just eight years, into a full-fledged HubSpot partner agency and at the time of this writing, boasts a team that is 20-strong and growing.
That being said, Salted Stone’s success is also proof that no matter how carefully deliberated a business plan might be, sometimes it’s the `happy accidents’ that lead to the biggest breakthroughs.
I spoke with our founder and Managing Partner, Mike Skeehan, about Salted Stone’s growth from a two-person shop above a pub in Monrovia to becoming the fastest HubSpot partner agency to ever reach Platinum status.
How has the agency changed since 2008?
We started with two of us and currently we’re at 20. So there’s that. But the main differences really between then and now are the diversity and strength of talent we have on the team.
Lots of people wonder about the name “Salted Stone.” What’s the story behind it?
Well, salt is a preservative and flavor enhancer. And the word “stone” conjures up an image of a strong foundation. So it’s just kind of a combination of these ideas.
Has the name ever led to any confusion?
Oh yeah. Last year we won a "Best Masonry Supply" vendor award by mistake for the City of Monrovia!
That’s hilarious! Did you accept?
No, but that would have been an interesting addition to the many other awards we have legitimately won!
How did Salted Stone get involved with HubSpot?
It was kind of a happy accident really. We stumbled into the whole inbound marketing thing through a consultant who sort of ripped us off. We briefly looked into partnering with InfusionSoft before getting turned on to HubSpot. They actually cold-called us after I had downloaded a free editorial calendar template or something. Annalisa Specter (HubSpot Channel Account Manager) and Ryan Carrigg (HubSpot Principal Account Executive) were a dynamic duo and convinced us to come aboard pretty quickly.
Was HubSpot a game-changer, and if so, how did it change things at Salted Stone?
I think so. Hopefully not the last game changer but definitely an inflection point. Above all else, it provided an avenue for us to sell a non-commoditized service and convert more of our revenue base into residual income.
Most of Salted Stone’s clients are on the B2B or technology side. Was that a conscious decision, or did it just happen that way?
It was never a conscious decision, it just happened that way. And then I guess, once you’re known for something...
Makes sense. So . . . without jeopardizing any relationships, do you have any cool client/agency horror stories you can relay?
One time we unknowingly hired a male porn star as the featured talent for a client commercial. That was a lesson-learned.
Ha! Guess we have a little something in common with Ted Cruz in that regard. What about a particular success story?
Well, we literally transformed the entire business of the same client we made that commercial for through inbound marketing. The work we did forced them to adapt new processes and systems just to handle the volume of leads being generated through their website. Now they actually have a small call center just because they’re receiving so many inbound leads.
What’s on the horizon for Salted Stone in the near future?
Hopefully more good stuff! I sort of live one day at a time as regards Salted Stone. I believe that so much of what happens is absolutely out of our control that it's sort of pointless to look into the future. But I think if we just keep showing up every day, keep doing our best to improve, keep working hard, and keep sourcing the most talented teammates our dollars can afford, that it’s reasonable to believe that more doors will open and more good things will happen.
Anything else you want to add?
Hmmm, well I think the thing I love most about Salted Stone—and this is manifested in a client email that came in just yesterday—but this is what I am most proud of, because I think that it is absolutely true:
(Reading from email)
"You all put so much love and heart into all the work you do. It is such a pleasure working with you... A sincere thank you again."
That's what I want people to know: that we absolutely care about the quality of the product that we're putting into the market. We care about the quality of our product more than the dollars associated with it. We know the dollars will come if we keep producing killer material. We don't need to be the biggest HubSpot Agency Partner... but we do sincerely expect to be the best.
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