Agency searches can be a painful process…if you let them be that way.
They can (and should) be fun and exciting and rewarding experiences if managed correctly.
Just like any process, it all boils down to making sure that what you put into the process is good quality stuff.
Good things in…great stuff out.
Bad or hurried inputs in, and you’re likely to end up with less than perfect stuff out.
Some things to consider to insure you’re putting the best possible inputs into your search process.
- Take the time to look at as many agencies as you can. I’m in the final stages of a financial services search and I personally reviewed 200 agency websites for this search. Took a lot of time, but I got a great sense of where the talent was and who could best serve my marketing client.
- Send out a small handful of pre-qualifying questions to narrow down your list. I’m sure you can identify the top 5 things that are most important to you in bringing on a new agency – in terms of the agency’s experience. Define what those are and send out the questions to as many agencies as you feel appear right fit for your firm.
- Talk to the agencies before you agree to move them forward. I narrowed down my list of 200 to a list of 30 to a list of 15 (after the pre-qualifying questions) and then hopped on 30 minute calls with each of the 15. Gave me a chance to find out if they really met the criteria of what we were looking for – or if some of what they gave me in their pre-qualifying responses was just smoke and mirrors.
- Narrow that list down to a manageable set of agencies to issue an RFI to. Too many and your head will spin as you review the RFIs. We narrowed the list of 15 to a list of 7 and pushed out an RFI to each of them.
- Develop an RFI that is more than just a gathering of facts, but rather a test of how well the agency thinks about you and assesses to what degree the agency has dealt with problems like yours.
- Talk to the agencies that make the final cut (in our case, there were 3), so they can learn more about your business and the expectations for a final pitch presentation.
- Now sit back and watch (carefully) as they present. Are they acting like one cohesive unit? Are they talking about you and not just about themselves? Are they stepping outside the scope a bit to surprise and delight you? Do they bring energy and passion to the table…or are they rather unenthusiastic? All things that will be a bit of a preview for how they might act when you bring them on board.
So while it can take a lot of work, if you put good stuff in, you’re significantly more likely to get great stuff out.
We’ve been doing it this way for marketers for the last 6 years and have met with great success.
If in the end, you decide you just don’t have the time, give us a call.
We won’t charge you a thing for managing the search – our model is different.
We take a small commission from the winning firm. Keeps us neutral, more motivated to see you happy (as we don’t get paid unless you’re happy), and makes for a better overall search.