Choosing the right agency is about finding a balanced strategic, operational and execution alignment that will work best for your organization.
Have you ever partnered with an agency that boasts an almost spotless performance record, but things didn’t really go as planned? It has happened to the best of us. In fact, it happens a lot more often than you’d think. Assessing an agency’s expertise and ability to generate results is an essential part of the process, but there are two other areas that are just as important: strategic and operational.
This piece is dedicated to helping you explore these three areas with the agencies you’ve shortlisted and pick the right one for you.
This area of evaluation explores how an agency would align with your KPIs and your organization’s goals overall. What you should be looking at are the questions they ask. And they should cover the following logic:
The Why and How Behind the What.
Growing revenue is every organization’s big picture, and that is obvious. But why did you land on that particular revenue goal, and how do you plan to meet that goal? These are the avenues their line of questioning should work to uncover.
What Are Your Business Standard Measures?
How will you quantify your results holistically as an organization and as a marketing unit? In other words, what KPIs will be used to represent revenue growth as businesses? And how will marketing’s contribution to it be quantified?
This area evaluates an agency’s ability to walk its talk. How do you do that? By having them expand on the following points.
Can they put forward wins from other organizations within your industry or industries with a similar sales cycle? And can they cement it with data?
For instance, can they say, “We increased qualified leads by xx%, helping the business close xx% more customers within a specific period of time?” Or maybe they can tell you how they “reduced customer acquisition cost by xx%,” helping their client maximize ROI.
How do they approach walking the talk? Do they have a well-defined process that can take into account shifting priorities, data analysis, improvement opportunities, and more?
Have them break it down for you in a few stages. The ease with which they can do this will tell you a lot about whether they practice what they preach and how much thought they put into it.
Partnerships and Certifications
Why does this matter? Because most paid activities like advertising require the use of a platform. And these platforms make transparency a prerequisite along with certification mandates. This means: One, you will always know where and how your marketing dollars are spent; Two, you can be confident that every individual working with you has the skillset needed to make an impact on your goals.
This last area helps you identify if an agency’s organizational structure has the flexibility and agility to align with your organization seamlessly. This is an opportunity to look for red flags.
For instance, do they need to hire additional resources to meet your needs? In such a situation, commonly, you will be locked into a long-term contract. This often means you would have to stay with them even if the relationship isn’t working for you.
Instead, you want an agency that can scale and add the expertise you need for only the duration you need it. For instance, you might need additional developers for only a portion of your contract term. The ideal agency will be able to scale up and down accordingly.
The key, however, is knowing what you need.
There isn’t a list you can check off to say that an agency is absolutely the right fit for you. Don’t believe anyone that tells you otherwise. Explore all three of these areas with all the agencies on your shortlist.
Finding an agency is akin to finding a life partner. You need to know what you want and share it openly with whomever you’re considering. Transparency builds the foundation of a solid and enduring relationship. And the agency that reciprocates with a willingness to work together towards the common goal will stand out to earn its place beside you.