In today’s globalized world, knowing what to look for in an agency partner can be difficult. Whether you’re a new startup or an established company wanting to expand, there is a litany of agencies a firm can choose to work with. With so many choices, so many specialities, setting up your RFP or even just selecting the right partner can be difficult. So here’s an informative guide to how an evaluation and selection process can be made easier. These are suggestions for how to look at what your prospect agencies are talking to you about as you plan:
They can answer your questions
Questions don’t stop when work begins – you’ll likely still have queries about what is being done and why it is being done a certain way. Look for a partner who can clearly break down answers to your questions. If they can’t answer questions, they should tell you so – and then return later with the information you need. This sets a pattern for how the process will move forward. Clear information is best. Vague responses that leave you with more questions are an indicator that your potential partner is not ideal. You don’t want to hire someone to boost your SEO, only to find that they are engaging in unethical black hat practices that harm your company. Transparency is key.
Provide thoughtful recommendations
A great agency will be responsive to your needs but also speak up when they have other ideas. The sad truth is, “yes” is easier than pushing back because partners are afraid to lose a revenue opportunity. “Why?” is a far better path to take and often leads to a better end-product. The best efforts in the industry start with a Partner saying, “We think that’s the wrong direction, here’s why”. A good agency will spend the time to understand process requirements and provide thoughtful recommendations that may even challenge your beliefs. A bad agency will sign off on every idea as long as they get paid.
Work with you
Agency partners are supposed to be exactly that, partners. Agencies that work with your company and come to decisions together, are something to value. They should listen to your input, and either follow directions or provide clear reasons why another path would be better. Good agencies know the most important thing in business is the relationship that develops. They will go out of their way to build and nurture a positive relationship that shows you they care. In contrast, you should stay away from agencies which are adversarial and seek to undermine contractors. These agencies often feel the need to prove they are right and at the end of the day are only worried about getting paid as much as possible.
Provide detailed SOWs
The Statement Of Work (SOW) tells an important story about all the steps that lead up to this document. Before you sign off to work with an agency, it is vital you read the SOW in detail. The SOW should provide absolute clarity on what you are going to receive from an agency. The absence of details could lead to serious issues down the line and should raise concerns about your new partner. A good agency will provide a clear SOW which lists details and deliverables in black and white.
The SOW should also outline a clear plan for success metrics. It should be a collaborative development, but something your new partner should be delivering. Successful agencies use data to drive their processes. These metrics help keep the agency and contractor accountable and ensure outcomes can be clearly measured. In the words of Lord Kelvin, “if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it’. A good agency will provide clear metrics to mark the success and failure of a program.
It isn’t difficult to see which agencies are up to the mark. A simple phone call to another firm the agency has worked with will give you an idea. The key here is to search out firms the agency hasn’t listed as a referral. It is easy to get one or two companies to give you good reviews for your website. The real test is how the majority of partners react. Similarly, you can check actual work done by the agency. If an agency is unable to provide an example of work, it is a tell-tale sign of a subpar company that should be avoided.
We know what good agencies do because we live by these principles. Venuiti has worked with many Fortune 500 companies and generated outstanding results. When you work with us, you know you are working with a trusted partner. Contact us today and learn more.
With any business relationship, your outsourcing company is your partner – not your enemy, and it helps to work with, not against each other. Based on our experiences at Venuiti, maintaining a well-communicated project ensures a healthy business relationship. Make sure you apply these tips in your next project and you’ll ensure a smooth and successful outcome.