Have you ever felt stuck cycling on an opportunity within your business, seemingly getting nowhere? Have you tried to connect with one of your agencies on exploring these opportunities within the business, even though it might not be within their realm of work?
Agencies are chock-full of creative minds. Minds that are continually finding new ways of working, thinking, designing, developing, testing, managing, marketing, and so much more. Why is it that clients don’t capitalize on these teams of diversely brilliant individuals to help solve business problems beyond the work they were directly tasked with completing?
While there are some agencies out there that aren’t looking to go above and beyond their assigned work, partnership-driven agencies would jump at the opportunity to help a client work through a unique business problem that goes beyond the assigned work. Partnership-driven agencies, such as Crema, jump at this opportunity without worrying about ‘selling’ the client on the work and instead investing further into the relationship on their own fruition.
Take advantage of the team’s broad experience
Imagine the potential of what you could achieve by tapping into the collective genius of your agency partner. How would your business change if you were able to tap into staff that has experience and immersion in other verticals, types of work, and organizations beyond your reach? The best agencies can take this broad experience and match it exactly with the client's needs. That's why we solve problems differently.
When you or your business are stumped on a problem, even if it seems completely irrelevant to the work your agency is doing, chances are you'd get some fresh ideas if you presented your agency team(s) with the problem. These agencies can help unlock your team; understand your problems in new and interesting ways; evaluating the hard decisions that you face; and work to get you a jump start.
Agency staffing presents the opportunity for problem solving
When agency employees get pulled into a new problem to solve that’s outside of their day-to-day, the excitement is palpable. These are often great opportunities for agencies to introduce other great minds that may not be directly allocated to your work.
These types of requests are also likely to get the attention of the agency leadership team, who are often working to find new ways to provide value to clients beyond the work that their teams are directly providing.
Not only are you getting some fresh minds on your problem, but you’re also getting an experienced leadership team that has collectively worked with hundreds of clients, working to solve the problem their past clients experienced. Why not use this experience to pull from problems that have already been solved?
How to creatively utilize the full potential of your team
There are so many ways you can harness your team’s genius. The sky's the limit! Here are some signs that you could benefit from your agency partners and ways they might help.
Your leadership team is going in circles on a topic that has spanned multiple meetings. Ask your agency if you can pull in a team member that's familiar with your business to provide a different perspective to the group on the problem. It might be entirely unrelated to their direct work, but they're familiar enough to maybe call out a solution that the leadership team is way too close to see themselves.
You’re trying to figure out which new piece of software to invest in that allows for better tracking of work within your business. The team members at your agency have probably worked with multiple project management software solutions. Reach out to them to ask for their recommendations.
You are looking for a subject matter expert (SME) in a seemingly unrelated area to your agency to provide input on a plan or a presentation. Your agency can make a call out to the entire company in a public chat channel asking if anyone has any experience with X. If someone in the agency has deep experience in that particular area, you've just gained access to a new level of expertise.
You have an idea, but you’re not sure how to sell it to your business partners. Tap into your agency because they’re very used to selling ideas. This is right up their alley to unpack this alongside you and advise you how to format your deck and what content to focus on.
Are you trying to hire your own team? Are their roles that are similar to roles at your agency? Ask them if they have job descriptions you can borrow, or even review the job descriptions you have to see if they have any feedback. What about having a few trusted team members at the agency join the final interview to provide you with their feedback?
You need to write a new data retention policy, and you're not sure what the best practices look like for these. Your agency has folks on staff who either have experience in writing these or at least can advise you on some things to consider and point you in the right direction. 30-minute meeting max.
Your team is looking for ways to serve its customers beyond its current offerings. This is a perfect opportunity to bring in an outside team who knows your business well, but hasn't been permitted to explore possibilities directly with you.
What is and isn't acceptable to ask
Some agencies look at client requests as something that may distract the team, increase the workload, introduce too big of expectations, or even create risk. Spoiler alert: These agencies aren’t looking to help your business thrive, instead, they are focused on their bottom line and their own success over yours. That shouldn’t be the case in a great agency relationship.
Partnership-driven agencies want to help your business succeed. They know by being there to help you solve some of your greatest challenges, the work will continue to flow, and may even grow as they gain your trust. This is why they’re often willing to do this type of work at no additional cost to you - it’s an investment for them, just as you’re investing your business’s dollars into their work.
Great agency relationships should allow room to explore other problems you have in your business. This doesn't mean you should distract your team away from their work regularly, as that would create issues with delivery. But I'm willing to guess that if you have enough consistent problems to pull your team, it's likely a project that's important enough to give the dedication of time and money.
There might be people inside your agency that specialize in a sort of problem. Working with this team will keep the main team focused but able to support.
Next time you’re stuck, experiencing a problem, need a subject matter expert, or would just like a fresh perspective on something, think about connecting with your team at your agency. See if it’s possible to pull in someone to a meeting that’s completely outside the context of their work with you.
Trying this experiment will quickly tell you what type of agency you have retained; a great agency, or an agency that’s watching out for their bottom line over your success. This is the bar that agencies should be working to reach, not just doing the bare minimum. Great agency partners care as much about your success as you do.
Next time you’re finding yourself cycling on a problem, reach out to your agency to see how they might help you move the ball forward in a creative way.