Tuesday, August 21, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of Your Agency Partner

Brian Browning
Strategy

Digital agencies represent a valuable and unique source of knowledge born from lessons that can only be learned by successfully delivering complex projects. This experience is why companies seek out agency partners when they need to create compelling digital ecosystems, transform their customer experience, develop a new web site or mobile application and everything in between.  

At Rightpoint, we have a very specific way of learning what our clients need. In many cases, customers initially approach us with a set of requirements, sometimes in the form of an RFP for agency of record or other high-level description. Sometimes the RFPs are focused on specific needs (for example, help us redesign our web site or help us move to a specific CMS platform). However, it’s our responsibility as a trusted partner to educate our customers and to listen to their needs in a manner that allows us to customize the right blend of skill sets to deliver a personalized solution. Customers who are willing to engage our expert team in these kinds of discussions and are open to rethinking how they approach their requests typically leapfrog other companies who don’t want to invest time up-front in selecting their digital agency or are focused exclusively on low-level considerations.  

Our customers are experts at their own businesses but are not necessarily experts in building, managing and delivering transformative digital experiences and as such, often may not have a complete picture of what is possible with today’s fast-moving and ever-changing technology. Organizations who have the most success with their digital agency are willing to engage in a detailed conversation and learn about the broader opportunities that could be brought to bear.  

Engage in Deeper Conversations and Stay Open to Broader Opportunities

As an example, we recently had an opportunity to review a 2-page RFI for a basic website redesign project. Rather than simply responding to the RFI with a proposal that matched exactly what the customer asked for, we asked the customer if we could engage them in a half-day, no-cost discussion with our experts. They agreed, and we were able to better understand the need for the redesign project. We learned that they had other problems that they wanted to address but didn’t know how to even approach them and instead wanted to do a “band-aid” in the form of a redesign to show that they were trying to make progress. 

Through these discussions, we had the opportunity to leverage our experience with similar companies and show how they could achieve their needs with the combination of a mobile application, a CMS and a redesign project. They hadn’t considered the opportunities to empower their employees and business partners with a mobile application that tied into their CMS – in essence accomplishing multiple objectives at one time. Thanks to the opportunity to engage with them at a business level, we could ideate, educate and build a plan to accomplish their goals while working within their budgets and resource constraints. The resulting engagement is far more powerful - it actually moves the business forward in multiple, meaningful ways.

Another recent customer interaction also demonstrated the power of investing in a conversation with our team. In this example, the customer was already proficient with many digital skill sets but was limited in terms of specialized skills needed to deliver their next generation web site. They knew that they wanted to deliver personalized experiences with their customers and had a robust CRM tool that they could leverage, but needed help with selecting the right CMS platform to build upon. While they initially offered an RFP outlining their requirements, they were open to having a discussion with us so that we could better understand their needs and ensure that we brought the right platform to the table. As we continued to work together, we also had an educational session where we showed what was necessary to actually build the next generation of the site.  

Using this conversational approach, we were able to customize a plan where we provided specific specialized skill sets (for example, helping them with a content strategy and taxonomy development) and partnered with their internal team (who would provide content migration and some internal integration work that they had proficiency with) to develop a plan that was uniquely built for their resources, budget and timeline. We also had honest conversations about how long things take and helped them to develop a reasonable approach that provided quick wins in the interim while making significant steps toward a truly powerful next generation digital ecosystem, mapping out multiple phases to drive their vision into reality. 

Invest Time in the Relationship Upfront

Real success - real transformation - often starts with a willing attitude about investing time up-front to shape the right solution instead of too much focus on short-term tactical items. Engaging in meaningful discussions up-front doesn’t mean that we can’t tackle tactical items, but it does mean that we have the opportunity to share our experience in the industry and with other clients to ensure that clients understand the totality of what can move the business forward.  

Rightpoint has developed a dedicated team of senior executives with an average of 20 years of experience in areas like commerce, customer engagement, digital workplace experience, mobile and emerging technology and disruption and innovation, just to name a few. We call this team the Solutions Group. Consider spending a half-day with this team to generate tangible ideas and results that actually move your business forward.  

 

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