The Indispensable Agency: 10 Tips to Drive Value

By | March 14, 2016
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Create ValueEditor’s Note: This is an excerpt from a post originally published on the PR 20/20 blog.

Often times, the agency-client relationship begins and ends with the value your team brings to the table. We all know it: those teams that produce amazing work, bring creative ideas to the table, and foster deep relationships built on a foundation of respect are invaluable.

So how can agencies put theory into action? How can we as business partners accelerate the time from value consumer to contributor? Below is an excerpt from a larger running list—Marketers: 101 Ways to Add Valuewith tangible tips for making your team indispensable to your clients.

Become indispensable. Create lasting partnerships and trust.

1)    Check in. Call, swing by the office, send a card, or reach out in some way outside the inbox! Even if it’s once a year for a long-distance client, make a point to connect for a few days in person. Talk business, but then be sure to carve out time for dinner, drinks or another activity that fosters a personal relationship. Some of the best ideas can happen on the golf course …  

2)    Commit to open lines of communication or weekly regroups. By nature, agencies and clients have limited insight into the inner workings and conversations happening on the other end of the line. It’s up to the account manager to build a relationship and rapport with clients that makes it easy to ask important questions, be copied on priority emails, and get invited to those more strategic meetings.

3)    Revisit your client’s organizational structure to really understand roles and stakeholders. Building relationships throughout an organization positions your agency as an extension of the team. Plus, it enables opportunities to add value throughout the organization.

4)    Ask your boss, your team, your client: how can we bring more value? Give them a few days to think on it, then dive into a frank conversation. (Tip: Ask yourself this question first, and have your own assessment and responses ready to really make it a worthwhile conversation.)

5)    Ask your client contacts: what slide would you love to present to your CEO at your next review? Then, how can we help you make that happen? Set calendar reminders a few months in advance to ensure your client is confident and ready-to-go when he or she is up for review.  

6)    Make sending resources with relevant takeaways a habit. Consider top articles, notes from technologies you’ve demoed that make sense for your client, copies of good books you’ve read that would interest them, and more. If you need to, set a personal cadence goal with reminders to deliver a good read each month.

7)    Bring others from the agency in on brainstorming sessions. We regularly hold marketing growth hackathons with or on behalf of our clients, where we’ll pull from top talent across the team to get new ideas flowing.

8)    Present your best ideas to your client. You can bring in the top dogs from your agency to brainstorm a slew of great ideas, but what good are they if you don’t present them to your client? Align ideas with your client’s top goals to bring a few relevant, creative strategies to the table. If you happen to have an extra slide with big ideas that aren’t quite related to the goal at hand, your clients will likely appreciate it.

9)    Staff account teams with top talent. From an agency operations and management level, figure out a process to track overall team capacity and deliverables, as well as individual’s managed revenue and services delivered. Keeping regular tabs on top talent can ensure a group of top performers are matched to top clients without being stretched too thin.

And lastly, from a different section of the original post: just care.

10) Think about the people you care about the most … parents, children, a spouse, a best friend. How do you show them you care? What are those little gestures you do for those people that come naturally? Practice observing how you’re actually showing them you care, then apply some of those insights to your work. Chances are, the more you care about something the better work you will do.

In what ways does your agency drive the greatest value for clients? Conversation is yours below.

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