Awhile back we wrote a blog post about how you can find success in your partnership with an inbound marketing agency . We didn't, however, give any tips on how to actually choose an agency. To give you some advice on this decision-making process, I talked to our CEO (and top salesperson), Pete Brand. Here is the advice he had to offer.
1. Look at testimonials and reviews from multiple sources.Most agencies will probably have a few testimonials on their website. These testimonials are an indication of an agency's success, but not necessarily a good one. Even the worst agencies can find one client to say nice things about them.
So, when looking at testimonials and reviews, be sure to pull from as many sources as possible. Take a look at their website, yes, but also look to Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other online resources for insight into what working with a specific agency will be like.
2. See through the data guise.As I'm sure you know, numbers occasionally lie—or at least obscure the truth. A 500% increase in leads sounds amazing...until you learn that the increase was from one lead a month to five. Pete says that if you want to hire an agency with a track record of success, you have to be on the lookout for misleading statistics. When presented with a case study, look for actual numbers instead of just precentages. If the numbers aren't there, ask about them.
3. Pick an agency that matches your needsSome agencies specialize in a specific type of work for a specific type of client. Some agencies do it all. It would be a mistake to assume that an agency who specializes in your vertical is going to produce great work for you, but it would also be a mistake to not look at an agency's experience with clients similar to you.
So, when looking at an agency, take a look at how long they have been around, what types of projects they have experience in, and type of clients they have worked with. If you are talking to a sales representative, be sure to make your needs clear, and ask point-blank if the agency has experience managing needs similar to yours.
4. Meet the team you're working with, not just the salesperson
I think we all know that sales reps. can be likable, fun, and convincing, but Pete says to remember that you aren't going to be working with the sales rep; you are going to be working with the designers, developers, writers, strategists, photographers, etc. So be sure to meet the team or at least learn about them before you start working with an agency. This way you'll be sure that not only the agency is a good fit for you, but its employees are as well.