How To Prove Your Agency Partner Is Providing Value
As marketers, we are all hampered by time, bandwidth, and resources. Competing priorities, stretched staff, and seemingly never-ending projects make it hard to focus on achieving our goals.
If your team strives to reach greater heights, finding the right agency partner is a significant first step to help you achieve success while making your work life easier. However, it is not always straightforward, considering each of them offers different capabilities. There are several factors to consider, including goal alignment, strategic capabilities, pricing, and more. Here are some key questions to consider to ensure your agency partner provides value and sets you up for long-term success.
Is your agency aligned with your goals and KPIs?
We all have goals and KPIs that we are tasked with hitting, whether monthly, quarterly or at the end of the fiscal year. In evaluating your agency partner, make sure you find one that is performing work that aligns with your goals and KPIs to ultimately help you achieve success.
Does your agency have a discovery process in place to fully understand your business, marketing team structure, processes, and procedures? Does your agency understand your goals, marketing challenges, and competitors? If not, this may lead to difficulty aligning their efforts to your priorities.
The discovery phase is not only about building a solid relationship with your agency partner but ensuring that both you and your partner are aligned on short- and long-term goals. Look for a partner who begins the engagement with your end goals in mind and conducts regular meetings to ensure your priorities have not shifted and the work is aligned with your needs and what you are trying to accomplish.
Does your agency partner provide strategic guidance?
Now more than ever, with increased responsibility for revenue generation, marketing has become a balancing act between execution and strategy. Marketers are busy with competing priorities and never-ending deadlines and require an agency partner that will provide strategic guidance on ways to increase efficiency, revenue and demonstrate success.
Although your agency might be responsible for supporting your execution efforts, like building and launching email campaigns, assess whether or not they take time to go beyond simply checking tasks off your execution list. Your agency partner should be looking for ways to provide support and guidance on projects that are important to you and your goals. Look for an agency that will provide advice on improving processes, have the proactive initiative to find issues, raise the red flag, and provide solutions to resolve them.
Furthermore, your agency should go the extra mile and genuinely demonstrate that they have you and your team’s best interest at heart. Is your agency knowledgeable on the latest trends and best practices? Do they pull in other team members who can provide value, such as content strategists or data strategists? Do they offer strategic services that support your complex business problems?
This could be performing an audit on your marketing automation platform (MAP) to determine whether your setup and use are aligned with industry best practices, integrating your MAP with your CRM, and recommending ways to optimize your overall systems use. This could also be helping you as a marketer improve your communication through content strategy, social channels, and nurture channels, so they are more effective and provide more substantial results.
In the end, you want to work with an agency that is proactive in finding areas for improvement, providing you with strategic advice, and challenges you to make changes to support your growth.
Does your agency demonstrate measurable results?
This question is probably one of the most important when determining if your agency is providing value. Is your agency delivering to you what was accomplished each week, each month, each quarter? Do these accomplishments reflect tangible results that align with your goals, impact revenue, and can be shared with your boss?
As you collaborate with your agency and complete projects or investigate and resolve issues, make sure they compile results and share them with you and your team. At DemandLab we capture what we call “Wows” and communicate these accomplishments back to the client so that they are not only seeing success but are armed with results that allow them to demonstrate success to stakeholders. Ultimately, you would like your boss to associate your agency with revenue dollars, so when possible, make sure these results include how they generate revenue or will potentially generate revenue.
For example, if working with your agency lead to a recovery of a large number of unmarketable leads, these new marketable leads can be engaged or re-engaged and potentially worth “X” amount of dollars. Not only will capturing these accomplishments help strengthen the relationship, but it will demonstrate that your agency cares about your success.
Does your agency have a project management system in place?
As you begin working with your agency, take the time to understand their project management process. Do they have procedures to make sure projects are being executed in a timely, effective and efficient manner?
One of the ways DemandLab demonstrates success in this area is that we have a dedicated project manager assigned to each client. This person is responsible for ensuring that projects are executed promptly, that projects stay within scope, and that DemandLab aligns with the client’s processes. Having a dedicated project manager helps ensure that all of the project planning pieces fall into place will ensure your time is being utilized effectively and efficiently.
Is your agency committed to developing deeper relationships with you and your team?
It is common today that your agency will not be in the same city where you operate. Additionally, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person meetings will likely be few and far between for some time to come. Finding an agency partner committed to developing deeper relationships with you and other team stakeholders is vital. This helps you get to know the people you work with at the agency and ensures your entire team has confidence and trust in the work being provided.
Is your agency willing to consult with you outside of regular status meetings? It could be the opportunity to discuss a new project and how they can support you, check in on your goals and priorities to make sure you are aligned or recommend improving processes and procedures.
Is your agency taking the time to get to know you and your team? Do they know your pet’s name, kids’ names, hobbies, etc.? Do you know the same information about them? Growing to this level of trusted partnership will take time, but it is worth it. You want to find an agency you can trust, develop a long-term relationship with, and consider as an extension of your team.
Today’s market is more competitive than ever, and marketers are stretched thin with resources and demands trying to beat the competition and achieve their own goals. Finding the right agency will go a long way in reducing stress, so follow these tips as a starting point to ensure you are aligned with the right one. When you are ready to go deeper, download the Managed Service Provider Checklist Evaluation Kit for everything you need to evaluate and choose a partner whose skills, specializations, and culture are the perfect complement to yours.
Do you have other ways in which you evaluate the value of your agency? We would love to hear about it. If you’d like to learn more about how we work with our clients, let’s talk.