Relationship management is one of the most important aspects of any client-agency partnership. A clear line of communication, combined with transparency, honesty and mutual goals are essential if the agreement is to be a successful one, and any new business targets will be achieved.
Whilst results are important, an overall understanding and a willingness to learn and improve hold equal weighting – all are imperative in long-term success.
Having mutual targets and goals are essential. At the start of any B2B relationship, both parties should agree some clearly defined goals and use these KPIs as shared goals for both parties to work towards over the duration of the relationship.
A good agency will study the business in question, build a strong understanding of the way it works and thus understand the proposition and target market in full. We’ve spoken with a number of agencies previously, who have failed to understand the needs and requirements of their clients – attracting visitors to a site is one thing, attracting the right type is much more aligned with where we should be.
Typically, agencies are far more updated on current marketing trends, so it is important to take their lead on adopting and implementing a strategy that is future-proof. A good example here is voice search – Google predict that voice search will surpass text search within a couple of years. As such, in this instance, a strategy should be devised around this concept – the client understands their product/service and the market within which they operate, and the agency understand the nuances of the way the search market is changing. In theory – a match made in strategy heaven.
Team Work & Transparency
The term ‘team work’ is somewhat over-used, but is most definitely relevant in this instance. Perhaps it could be re-phrased to ‘working together’ or something similar – although the principles are the same. A constant, open and transparent line of communication is the most under-rated metric in any agency-client relationship. Not every month will go as planned – there will be peaks and troughs – but the sign of any solid relationship is how the troughs are dealt with. Shying away and dodging them doesn’t work, in our experience. Being open, honest, and defining a way to fix it together does.
The agency-client relationship is typically one that is based on a retained agreement. Whilst there are still a number that are built on individual projects, real commercial value for both parties tends to be more prominent when the relationship is an ongoing one.
Looking at the short-term, failing to prepare for the long-term, and neglecting to understand the future are just a handful of reasons why such relationships don’t last as long as they otherwise could. The theory applies, not just to our relationships with our clients, but also to the relationships that we’re building with our telesales work. Nothing is going to be sold on the first call, or the second, or even the third – it’s the longevity and the long-term plan that pays dividends.