Internal marketing teams constantly struggle with picking the right outsourcing agency, and for good reason. I’ve seen people lose their jobs and entire marketing departments get the axe when they’ve put their trust in the wrong agency.
Now, as an agency owner myself, you’d assume that I’d blatantly pitch Kuwait Solutions as the best digital agency. But to steal a page from Einstein, it’s all relative. We are, in fact, not the best agency for many companies. We have limitations just like anyone else. And that’s where marketing departments should focus, not on an agency’s strengths, but on their limitations.
I’ve often seen a company become enamored with an agency because they’re great at what they do, and they then trust that agency to handle other activities for them. And that’s where a lot of great agencies get into trouble.
I’ll admit it, we’ve been guilty of doing this early on in our company’s story. We had an allergy to saying “no” to revenue. And this made us get in over our heads and provide services I wasn’t proud of. But as we’ve grown we’ve managed to say no more often and this has protected us, and our clients from the damage of work that’s not ideal.
With the following strategies, you should be able to ensure that your team is choosing the ideal agency for your needs.
Their Website Tells A Story
When deciding on which agency to utilize take a peek at their website before you talk to a salesperson. Often, an agency will highlight what their core competencies are right there on their site and won’t mention the services they’re weaker in. Use these core competencies as your guide.
If you’re looking for an agency that’s strong in branding and design, then look for them to specifically talk about that on their site. Similarly, if an agency is strong in SEO or social media, you should be able to locate that prominently displayed on their site.
To save yourself time and hassle, do your homework before you pick up the phone and call a salesperson. As we all know, salespeople can be a bit overzealous in describing their company’s capabilities when a commission is on the line.
Have A Frank Conversation With Your Current Agency
This is one that I desperately wish would have happened more for me and my agency when we first started off. As an existing client of an agency, you will be in a position where the agency hates to disappoint you. And most people equate saying no with disappointing the person asking. So, often when your agency says yes to your requests, they’re not trying to deceive you, but rather they’re trying not to disappoint you.
Instead of simply asking your agency if they can fulfill a service for you, open the conversation by setting the expectations. You should inform them that you only want them to say yes if they feel they can perform at or above the level of service you’ve already received. Mention to them that saying no is not a bad thing, and that you’ll actually value their honesty if they need to decline.
If I would have heard these words from my clients before they would have asked us to perform services that were outside of our core competencies, I would have felt much more comfortable saying no. And this would have saved us from some unfortunate scenarios.
So, do your agency a favor and take the pressure off of them and let them know you expect their unedited feedback.
Do Some Homework
“We’ve managed to build an entire business on the question, “Who can I trust?” says Jeev Trika, CEO of topseos.com. And he’s not alone. There are dozens of sites and reporting groups that can give a company insight into the experiences that others have had in using an agency’s services.
And you can go even deeper than just ranking and analyst sites. Google and other companies offer reviews right in the search rankings for many agencies. Do some digging and see what others are saying about the agency and their capabilities.
Another lesser used channel for reviews is Twitter. When you’re looking for completely un-filtered feedback on an agency, search their name on Twitter and see what people are saying about them. You see, an agency can delete comments on Facebook that they don’t want shown to customers, but on Twitter there’s no way for an agency to remove tweets that talk about them. This allows a company to see if there are any major red flags with an agency.
On the same note, you can also see how an agency handles upset customers. If they ignore the complaint and don’t respond in any way, then maybe their customer service isn’t up to snuff. But if you see them work out a difficult situation with a customer, then I’d highly recommend still looking into them. That shows they’re willing to go the extra mile.
You check references when you hire someone, so why shouldn’t you do the same when you’re hiring an agency.