Working with an agency: what can go wrong? – Part 1

It is a standard practice for companies to collaborate with external agencies: using temporary experts and consultants to meet a deadline, to quickly solve issues or to find new ideas. But what can you do to prevent risks of miscommunication?In the last years I have been working with many different agencies and consultants, almost all are staffed by talented people and are a pleasure to work with.

HOWEVER – some things can go wrong…

What if the agency doesn´t understand your requirements? What if there is not follow-up after a project implementation or an idea development? What if you don´t give immediate feedback to your agency? What if the agency promises what it cannot deliver?

I am sure that of all us have experienced at least one of these problems, and have been thinking “What can I do next time to avoid all these issues? Should I keep myself away from consultants forever?”

These are the questions I asked myself and, as I am sure the “in-house approach” is not always appropriate, I decided to focus on “what can I avoid next time”.

Phase 1: Preparation

The agency is waiting for the guidelines and requirements of the project, so there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Define all project requirements together with your key people: this is important to set a consistent direction for your agency to follow. If you involve the right people, you have less probability to find new requirements or issues during the project.
  • Document all the requirements and results you want to achieve and describe them in detail.
  • Tell your agency the truth and cultivate honesty.
  • If you are going to implement a completely new idea or process, be willing to take risks… and be enthusiastic.
  • Establish a simple approval process (e.g. for changes): if you want to meet deadlines and have the agency on your project constantly, build a basic approval process. Sometimes a simple change can block the entire project.

Coming next: Working with an agency: what can go wrong? – Part 2 : The Communication.

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Francesca Turri

Francesca has more than 5 years experience in integrating CRM and Marketing Automation technologies into different organizations. She works strategically with customers, to understand their business objectives, determine the best approach for leveraging APTLY solutions, and provide recommendations on how to proceed.

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