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How to Get the Most Out of Your Agency Partnership

The Value of Team Chemistry

C’mon—what is this, ESPN? I thought I was reading a marketing blog! You have a point. “Team chemistry” is often a term we see next to the Xs and Os on a coach’s clipboard. But, I’d argue that it’s just as important in the office as it is on the court or field. At a basic level, team chemistry is the ability of a team to pull in the same direction. It’s the key reason why a marketing team succeeds where a team of marketers falls short. Here at Evolve, we’re in the “marketing team” business, and we want to make sure that our partnership, as a team, hits the ground running from the get-go.

Tending to the Garden

Team chemistry is important, sure, but how do we get there, and how long will it take? Like growing tomatoes, teamwork is something that’s constantly tended to and nurtured. But, thankfully, the answer to a successful team isn’t found on the back of a tomato seed packet:

Place the marketers in rows 3’ apart in late spring. Make sure they get ample sunlight—at least 6 hours a day. Make sure the temperature is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, or else they’ll get cold, and you’ll have to start over. In 70 days, you should have a cohesive marketing team ready for Q3.

Nothing would get done. The good news is that we have a proven record of developing relationships with our clients early. Apart from our exposure and experience, we’ve found six things that these success stories all have in common. Don’t worry; none of them involve having a green thumb.

The Six Steps to a Successful Agency Partnership

1) Understand Your Business Goals

Everything from metrics to timelines to recommendations depends on clear goals, making this a critical first step in any project. Coming prepared with these will align the agency with your team, calibrating the project and ensuring that kick-off goes smoothly. Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Don’t worry too much about the quality of your business goals; your agency can help refine them and make them SMART at the start of the project.

2) Understand the Project Scope and Budget

Marketing is an investment, and it often falls by the wayside because it doesn’t provide concrete ROI proof for managers. Often, marketing doesn’t show progress in the short term, and internalizing this is the first step in understanding the scope of the marketing project on hand. Just because you spend $10,000 doesn’t necessarily mean that your business will see $200,000 more in revenue. As fantastic as that would be, marketing doesn’t work that way. The benefits of marketing are gradual, and you’ll feel the impact of your agency’s work for months and years to come in the form of both tangible and intangible results.

Understanding the scope of the project and mutual expectations is essential, and so is understanding the budget. Some clients focus too much on the spend and overlook the long-term benefits that the budget will provide. It’s only natural to have concerns over the finances of your business. However, it’s essential to keep in perspective what the budget will pay for and its result.

Your agency should make sure to connect the dots for you, so you know where each dollar is going. There’s a level of trust required to ensure that the project is done correctly with the required results. Understanding that you get what you pay for will guarantee that the process is completed smoothly.

3) Trust the Process

As an agency, our team has developed and been guided by our 5 step process for years, and we’ve seen proven results from it. An experienced agency should know how to successfully lead you through a project without pushing you into a box. We’ve worked with some clients that have felt very strongly about their own internal process, and that’s fine! But to get the most out of a partnership, it’s important to trust your agency to do the thing you’re paying them to do, which means incorporating the process that has worked for them countless times in the past.

At Evolve, for example, the strategy, design, build, market, and support phases are interrelated and will most likely align with certain aspects of your own internal process.

By trusting our process, you’ll give us the liberty to work at a pace that will ensure deadlines are met, and the project is completed on time.

4) Participate in the Process

Your agency should have developed their process with the client in mind, which means active participation is needed to see out the project. You know your business best, and your insights and ideas will provide much more value than just handing an agency the keys and telling them to make magic happen. Because they act as an extension of your team, your team’s involvement will guarantee that everything runs smoothly. They’re not only there as your partner but also as a resource. It’s important to ask questions and be receptive to advice, as this will give you the most value from your time working together.

5) Have a Single Point of Contact

This step may seem a little counterintuitive, especially after we just stressed the importance of team cohesion, chemistry, and active participation. On a granular level, there’s a key difference between collaboration and “too many cooks in the kitchen,” so to speak. Everybody should be involved in the project, and active participation by every member of both teams is encouraged. We would consider this to be collaborative and beneficial to the project.

However, there are times when questions arise or information is exchanged. In these instances, it’s most efficient to have one universal “sender” and one “receiver” so that nothing gets lost in transmission. The agency’s project manager and a dedicated project decision-maker from your team is a traditional combination that has seen success in the past. Suppose questions are coming in and being received by multiple sources. In that case, this is inefficient and can be detrimental to the project.

Another example of this is Zoom meetings or conference calls. If both teams were invited to every call, there would be too many voices, and it would accomplish much less than if the meeting was attended by a few representatives. Maximizing collaboration without losing efficiency is the goal of a single point of contact, and it will significantly improve everybody’s productivity.

6) Put Respect Above Everything

The final step is by far the most important. Much like life outside of the office, respect will pay dividends in everything we do. To expand upon this, agencies want to build and maintain chemistry throughout the project, and the best way to do this is by adding a human element to it from the beginning.

There’s a reason why team-building exercises are so popular—they relax us, open us up, and build team chemistry. At Evolve, we are passionate about developing team relationships with our clients.Don’t worry; we won’t do any team-building exercises with you (unless you want to). But, we’d love to meet your dog virtually, hear about your fishing trip, or tell you about ourselves. We place a strong emphasis on humanizing our projects. People do their best work when they’re comfortable; why else would people work from home in their pajamas?

Your Extended Team Is an Email Away

As important as these elements are, they aren’t prerequisites (except #6). Our team can work with you to hash these out. However, you may have noticed something that most of these have in common: they focus more on the mindset of your team and less on your actions or capabilities. You’re hiring us to do the grunt work, and we’re here to give your team time to focus on other things besides your project. By respecting the roles, boundaries, and responsibilities outlined during the project kick-off, you’re guaranteeing that you’re getting your money’s worth.

The best agency work is done so that nobody can tell if an agency did it. Instead, we act as an extension of your team, expanding your capabilities while ensuring that the only evidence of our involvement is your improved results. Our team is here to help you excel, and we can’t wait to learn more about the next challenge we get to solve.

Introduce yourself! We look forward to learning more about you and your business.