Creating an outbound strategy for a mission-based web design studioGreat Believer

web design studio case study
Reliance on referrals and RFPs would be a challenge for any creative agency, but in the non-profit niche, the amount of time required can become prohibitive for sustainability.

Great Believer is a creative agency for non-profits and purpose-driven organizations, and needed a predictable stream of clients while enhancing efficiencies.

The agency engaged Kelly for agency growth consulting to help increase internal efficiency and craft a solid, outbound business development strategy to address both issues.


There are few creative teams that can seamlessly transition between branding, print and web—specifically for causes—all while being small (but mighty). Great Believer not only gets behind the mission of each organization with which they work, their interpersonal skills, thoughtfulness and craftsmanship are evident in the resulting collateral and digital work they produce. Kelly’s work addressed three critical challenges for Great Believer:

• RFPs and referrals are non-scalable:
In Great Believer’s case, 90% of new business came from referrals and existing clients—and the other 10% from RFPs. Not only is this mix difficult to scale, revenue predictability, pipeline and accurate projections and near impossible.

• Delegation of operational tasks:
The president and founder of the company split his time between writing RFP responses and proposals, client relationship management, pitching new business, resourcing and overseeing the financial health of the firm—leaving no time for prospecting of ideal clients.

• Room for improvement:
Internal efficiency is vital for small teams, which needs to execute print,web design and development projects seamlessly in order to retain high margins.


Kelly identified the unpredictable pipeline and wanted to move Great Believer away from predominantly project-based engagements. A predictable pipeline and increasing the size of retainer accounts for ongoing services would make a big difference in the scalability of the agency.

She crafted a hyper-targeted business development strategy—including a sales process, buyer persona template, checklist for filtering new opportunities, growth hacking tools, how-to and best practices for both prospecting and obtaining budgets, warm email outreach, website lead conversion, strategic partnerships, and other methods of bringing in ideal clients.

To assist in efficiency when those ideal clients came to the table, Kelly streamlined the proposal process with web-based software, including e-signature functionality, and introduced third-party tools for prospecting and information capture of leads.


With Kelly’s help, Great Believer saved approximately 60% of time spent on proposals and improved the average close rate. The team is empowered to reduce redundancies—creating a much more efficient workflow—and keeping margins within optimal range. The leader of the agency has been focused on new business via account-based marketing, with increased leads from ideal prospects. Visit

Kelly is a proven leader in the marketing agency world and I feel honored to call her both a mentor and a friend. She helped identify key needs for scaling my 15 year old design business including system automation, software integration and delegation. After making strategic team hires and implementing operational changes, I was able to take a full 2 week vacation for the first time in 7 years without working. Any principal in the weeds of the day to day can relate to how huge this was for me! I’m still basking in the glow of the first real break in so long, thanks to Kelly.

Christina Hagopian, Hagopian Ink
Christina Hagopian
President & Creative Director, Hagopian Ink
Agency Growth Consulting Case Studies
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