Jeff Long

The sales team is banging down your door and the customers aren’t.

If you’ve ever owned a business or worked in marketing, you’ve undoubtedly found yourself in this situation. It’s at this moment that you know you need marketing help. Whether it’s a lack of time, knowledge or success, it has become clear that it’s time to bring in outside expertise.

After hours of looking at case studies and work samples, reading philosophies and talking to account executives, you have found an agency you’re in love with and are ready to finally get to work. Or at least, put them to work and start finally seeing the results you’ve been longing for.

But wait! You’re not quite ready. Choosing to work with an outside agency is an investment of not just your money, but also your time. And just like with any investment, you don’t want to rush in and not know where your money is going. There are questions you need to ask yourself and steps you need to take first.

Stay tuned for more posts as we will cover each question in-depth, but for now, be thinking about these three main areas.

Getting a Return

First, we’ll look at what it takes to see the return on your investment. Good old ROI. This doesn’t always have to be an immediate sale, it could be a change in brand perception, creating awareness of a new product or just making your website look like it wasn’t made in the ‘90s. What’s important is that you have a goal and that you and your agency both know what that is. Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • Do you need a long-term consultative relationship? Or do you just need help with a campaign or two?
  • Do you know what your goals really are? Awareness? Lead generation? Or do you need help figuring your goals out?
  • What would make the partnership a success? How will you hold your agency accountable?

Finding a Good Match

Next, let’s explore the relational side of working with an outside agency. Although this can seem a bit touchy-feely in a business setting, it’s anything but. It doesn’t matter how amazing the work a client showcases is or what their website looks like. If the communication and trust aren’t there between you and your agency, then the final product will not deliver the results your business needs. Below are some thoughts to ponder:

  • Do their strengths coordinate with your weaknesses?
  • Are they a cultural match?
  • Do you have alignment and buy-in internally? From your superiors? From your own team?

Laying the Foundation

Finally, we will discuss what it takes to set a solid foundation for getting the most out of your agency. There can be a feeling that once you sign on with an agency, your work is done and you can sit back and watch your business grow. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For your investment in working with an agency to pay off, there is work to do before you start, during the discovery process and once the partnership has begun. Here are some areas we like to discuss with companies we work with to get you thinking:

  • Do you have a marketing foundation established or do you need help getting going?
  • Do you have a plan in place for handling additional leads or foot traffic?
  • Do you have a plan to regularly communicate with your agency?
  • Do you have a plan for knowing who is doing what?
  • Do you have some basic business KPIs in place? These are things like how much you make per customer or how many leads you need before you make a sale.

Deciding to work with an agency is an important decision for your business and one that should get you excited. But it’s not something to just dive into without doing the proper research and preparation, both internally and externally. Stick with us, and in upcoming articles we’ll guide you through the steps you need to take and the questions you need to ask.