I write a lot about the importance of marketers taking their time and defining the parameters of what THEY want in a new firm.

It’s important to lay out the specs of what you’re searching for, the skill sets you require, the problems you’re trying to solve, and the character of marketing agency that (ideally) will ultimately become your new agency partner.

But what’s equally as important is that the marketing agencies do the same thing on their side of the fence.

Agencies are often afraid to push the envelope. Afraid to ask tough questions. Afraid to seem too pushy out of fear of being knocked out of a search.

But this is important and I can only hope that not only are agencies stepping up and asking these questions, but marketers aren’t taking offense at agencies looking to make sure that what they are about to walk into makes good sense for them.

I never take on a search (to help marketers find a new marketing agency) if the incumbent is involved.

Agencies have every right to ask that question.

I never take on a search (to help marketers find a new marketing agency) if the client wants a ridiculous number of agencies involved in the search.

Agencies need to find out how many firms the marketer plans on getting involved.

If procurement is driving the train, I want nothing to do with the search. I know it’s where things are headed in some of the larger companies, but I personally think it’s the wrong way to go. Fine if they’re involved, but to let them drive it is counterproductive for the makings of a solid marketing agency relationship.

Again, agencies need to be asking these questions.

So bottom line is, rather than look at an agency with disdain if they start asking tough questions before they decide to jump into a search…be happy they are.

The agency that is taking the time to ask the smart questions and then ultimately decides to get involved is probably going to be a stronger and smarter and more committed agency partners in the long run for you anyway.

So let them ask away and be sure to give them good, honest answers.