We thought we’d share some rules for hiring and working with agencies (us included) that we’ve developed over years from seeing some truly dysfunctional agency relationships.
- Task few with thinking and many with doing.
- Manage agencies directly, never letting an agency get between you and an agency.
- Take the time to get clear; the clearer the input, the more efficient and effective the output.
- Make measurable performance metrics and review those metrics regularly. (See rule 23)
- If you are going to choose not to listen to them, then don’t bother hiring them.
- When it no longer works, move on. Agencies are not marriage material.
- Be of high value to the agency’s image or bottom line, or be fun and interesting to work with.
- Make sure you are getting the nerds, geeks and weirdos; the “cool kids” are just for show.
- Don’t pay double or triple or quadruple for entry-level talent, hire your own 23-year-old and have the agency tell them what to do.
- Get your own references, not the ones they send you.
- A worthy agency will push you to the edge of your comfort zone and show you the results of their recommendations, the good, bad and ugly.
- If they treat their team like commodity labor, you will not get great work. You will get done work.
- If it’s a lifestyle agency, designed for employment while playing in the mountains or ocean, you will never be their priority.
- Provide them with challenges they need to solve, not solutions to execute.
- Ask lots of questions in order to learn to fish, if not tactically then strategically.
- They need to understand your business model (how you make and spend money) and how you operate.
- You need to understand their business model (how they make and spend money) and how they operate.
- The bigger, nicer and more prestigious their office, the less work you receive for every dollar you spend.
- Don’t hire an agency when a good freelancer can do the work just as good, cheaper, and with better customer service (because you mean more to their reputation and bottom line).
- Communicate as needed, not just weekly and at a set time.
- Play devil’s advocate, -red team blue team- to understand solutions from all sides.
- If they are doing work you and your team don’t understand, you need to get educated or get a second opinion to gain that understanding.
- Good work is not just pretty work; it’s effective work. (see rule 4, but be careful what you measure)
Originally published at Full Stream Group.