When Should Your Marketing Agency Hire?

By | October 31, 2012
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Your pipeline is full, a large account is about to sign and your agency is nearing capacity. Do you shift resources, hire, or outsource to a partner agency? This is one of the topics being discussed as part of Marketing Agency Insider’s Client Services Series; here’s our take on the conversation.

Have a Forecasting Model in Place

Without an accurate reading on your current agency health, it’s nearly impossible to make sound staffing decisions.

On a monthly basis, forecast each consultant’s hours by account. This way, your team knows how much time they should dedicate toward each account and where their priorities lie. This also gives you a much better feel for available capacity.

Over time, tweak and refine forecasts based on historical timesheets and planned campaign activities. Use client forecasts and the prospect pipeline as a guide for when you need to hire. Ideally, you want to be working as close to soft capacity as possible to maintain profitability.  

As explained in The Marketing Agency Blueprint, “soft capacity means that there is room to flex approximately 20% above if needed to meet short-term demands for major projects and campaign fluctuations."

Evaluate Your Staffing Options

Before making any staffing decision, it’s best to first ask yourself a few questions. Often times, your answers will signal which direction is best for your agency.

  • Do you have the financial resources in place to maintain stability should the pipeline not realize its potential, or an unexpected client loss occur?
  • How confident are you in the forecasted growth? Is the overall client portfolio stable/strong?
  • Does continuing to grow internal staff fit your long-term goals for the agency? Or, are you trying to grow revenue, while keeping overhead/staffing low?
  • What level of hire is needed? Do you have an A-player candidate that's too good to pass up?
  • How much professional development time would a new hire require? Do you have the available resources to train him or her?  
  • What skill sets are needed to service existing and new accounts? Is it profitable and feasible to effectively bring all services in-house, or does it make more sense to outsource to a trusted partner?
  • Do you have existing partnerships in place, or a pipeline of potential partners, who could assume portions of the workflow?
  • Is your team being maximized to its greatest potential? Are there opportunities to refine processes and eliminate inefficiencies within your agency?
  • Who has availability within the agency? Should they be the ones managing new accounts or is their time more valuable elsewhere?

Keep in mind that the best solution for one agency may not be ideal for another. It really comes down to the opportunities at hand, your goals for the agency, and available personnel and resources.

PR 20/20

The PR 20/20 Team

How Do You Decide When to Hire?

Share your hiring considerations, triggers and experiences below.

The Client Services Series