Photo by Matthew Lemke
We talked to Jason Perry, co-founder, president & CEO of Engagency, a digital transformation agency, and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jason Perry: Thank you for asking. My heart goes out to those who are suffering right now. My family and I have been able to avoid the virus so far, and all things considered, we are doing fine.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Engagency.
Jason Perry: I’ve devoted most of my career to being an entrepreneur. I was entrepreneurial even at a young age – I started doing yard work for neighbors before I was even allowed to work, and I helped run an event management company in college. From there, I had a few jobs, but it was clear early on that I was wired to run a business. After my first job in tech, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this new frontier.
When we founded Engagency, we were building websites and implementing MarTech for small companies and nonprofits. We started in our basement and slowly worked up through the years to become an award-winning global brand. We found our focus when we started working with enterprise companies. It became clear that working with large companies was a smarter way to make a living, and we noticed that a lot of those companies were using a particular software platform named Sitecore. In 2008 we did something very unusual – we became specialists in this particular software platform. This was a big departure from the industry norm because everybody at the time was a jack-of-all-trades. That focus allowed us to perfect our craft and establish a solid reputation in our industry.
How does Engagency innovate?
Jason Perry: Engagency has always been in a continuous state of improvement. We listen to clients in the trenches, and we treat post-mortems as valuable learning opportunities. We’re constantly looking at how to optimize our processes and procedures and establish new best practices.
Since the pandemic, the biggest innovation we’ve been working on is adapting our culture to a remote work environment. Before the pandemic, we were all about gathering the team at the office every day. It was a beautiful experience, and I will miss it, but times have changed, and people want something different. From a business perspective having a remote workforce gives us greater organizational resilience and greater ability to recruit top talent from anywhere. It just makes better business sense to have people spread out, and the team made it clear that they love working from home, so we’re working on that initiative this year.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Jason Perry: The pandemic definitely stagnated growth in 2020, but halfway through 2021, we’re experiencing the most growth we’ve ever seen.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Jason Perry: We were very fortunate that we did not have to let anyone go. Things got a little slow as the virus picked up steam last summer, so a few non-billable folks on our team volunteered to reduce hours, but otherwise, our clients kept us as busy as the year before, so thankfully, everything worked out fine.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Jason Perry: Face-to-face meetings were off the table during COVID-19, so we became comfortable with video conference calls just like everyone else.
Otherwise, we didn’t have to change much in terms of customer relationship management. We’ve worked with clients all over the world for years, so we were accustomed to this scenario and had everything in place well in advance of the pandemic.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Jason Perry: As a precaution, we did apply for and received a PPP loan. It gave us some peace of mind going into the slow months of 2020, but we were fortunate enough to have clients that kept us busy throughout the year, so we didn’t have to rely on these funds to stay afloat.
Your final thoughts?
Jason Perry: I want to thank my team and all of our clients for sticking together through an uncertain time. Events like this really show you what kind of a team you have and the strength you have when you work as a team.
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