TLDR: Agencies help MOPs teams take on ambitious projects and meet goals, but do you know what it takes to work successfully with an agency?

How can marketers benefit from agencies? Agencies and consultancies are valuable sources of guidance and hands-on support, helping marketing teams to clear through tasks with greater efficiency and execute more ambitious projects that may otherwise be out of reach.

What homework should you do before approaching an agency? Organizations with all sorts of technical and resource needs can benefit from a strong agency partnership, but it’s best to establish clear priorities and learn how to manage the relationship before deciding to approach one.

What’s in this article for you? In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll teach you how to work with an agency amidst various situational demands and how to communicate optimally with your partners. By the end, you’ll know how to:

➡️ See greater results from your current agency relationship

➡️ Set your expectations and communicate them to the agency

➡️ Get the most out of working with an agency


Determine your priorities

There’s a tendency for some organizations to hesitate when it comes to agencies, fearing the risk of being locked into a contract or pouring money into a resource they don’t use.

If the decision-makers in your marketing team have been reluctant to work with an agency for similar reasons, make this point: If your marketing ops team has more work than bandwidth, an agency is a direct solution to help you meet your goals. The investment makes sense if you know what you want to achieve.


“Before approaching an agency
to take on projects, establish your most pressing needs.”


Before approaching an agency to take on projects, leadership and MOPs must establish the most pressing needs for the team. These priorities will determine the kinds of service providers you need to look for and how you can best use them.


Here are a few scenarios:

Comfortable budget but short on time? Hiring an agency to take on more practical tasks frees up your team for higher-level strategic work. And if a project is particularly time-sensitive, the extra assistance makes it possible to reach your target turnaround time within an agreed scope.

Access to budget but not to headcount? Hiring an agency is a great option in this case. It gives your team the ability to achieve targets and successfully execute tasks while safeguarding their existing but limited bandwidth.

Lower budget with time to spare? Consider using an agency’s experts for advice on complex projects to maximize your time. Think of projects like implementing a new marketing automation platform or attribution. Consultants can interpret and communicate the impact of the changes you’re looking to make and guide you through the steps to take for long-term success.

Short on both? If you’re in a crunch for time and budget, your leadership team needs to establish top priorities for marketing ops and share them proactively with your agency so they’re best equipped to meet your needs within scope.

Read our post ‘Marketing Operations: In-House, Agency or Hybrid‘ for other models.


Realistic expectations

To build a partnership based on trust and transparency, both parties must uphold their roles and responsibilities.

Clients are right to have certain expectations of an agency:

✅ Getting work done on time to a high standard

✅ Managing internal stakeholders

✅ Pivoting when necessary to match the changing needs of your business.

But clients should also prepare to support the agency to deliver. That means being open and honest about your goals for the working relationship.

Whatever performance expectations Marketing has, team members using the agency must offer relevant information about your business, campaigns, and priorities proactively.


Best practices for projects:

👉 Share resources and access permissions in a timely and forthcoming manner.

👉 Be courteous in all communications and timelines you establish.

👉 Offer support and feedback to help the agency perform more effectively.

Your marketing team might approach an agency with great ambitions. But for all the help an agency can provide, they aren’t magic.


“Your partners are
human beings
with multiple priorities to balance…”


Your partners are human beings with multiple priorities to balance and many projects in MOPs involve working through a long series of steps and processes. For example, getting attribution off the ground in a matter of weeks isn’t a viable scope to present to an agency.

To keep expectations realistic, your team should acknowledge that progress takes time. Clearly communicate what you want to achieve, sharing relevant KPIs and metrics with your agency as you approach each milestone, but do so with the understanding you’ll get results gradually.


The bottom line

An agency’s expertise and support help to make your MOPs function successful.

Deciding to work with one is a sign that you’re delegating effectively to complete important projects to a high standard.

Collaborate with your leadership and marketing teams to identify clear goals, share them proactively with your agency, and mutually establish a realistic scope for delivery. These are the ingredients of a partnership that gets results.

Whatever your organization needs, Revenue Pulse is here to help.