My Approach to Agency Search Consulting
Become a favourite client
When I ran agencies, I noticed there were always a few clients that our staff wanted to work with. It was these clients who would get the best and brightest that the agency had to offer. The clients would inspire the agency to create the strongest brand campaigns delivering excellent business results. These clients were not necessarily the ones with the biggest budgets nor the most prestigious brands. They just recognized that their approach had a direct impact on agency performance. And, I have learned that a client’s approach to the search process also has a direct impact on how agencies respond to the challenge.
I help clients run searches that can establish them as a favourite client to build better agency relationships, yielding better work with better results.
I am the only search consultant in Canada who uses a Qualifications-Based Search (QBS) process.
The Qualifications Based Search (QBS) process is a global procurement best practice. It is purpose built for acquiring professional services that are custom, complex and costly like architecture, engineering, management consulting, IT, creative services and advertising.
QBS focuses on finding the most qualified provider of professional services, at a fair and negotiated price, instead of a provider at an artificially low price who is likely the least qualified. Studies have shown that when compared to a typical price based RFP process QBS provides:
Quicker and lower cost procurement process
Higher quality services with fewer schedule and cost overruns
More innovation in services and solutions
Long term solutions vs short-term thinking
Lower long term costs
Every client deserves the most qualified agency to meet their brand challenges.
Assess Team Performance and Manage the Relationship
Assessments that nurture the partnership
Now more than ever, CMOs must inspire and align their marketing agency teams seamlessly with a common purpose against today’s brand challenges. But, what is the secret sauce in great client-agency partnerships? Open, transparent communication, data-based performance assessments and active planning for continuous improvement.
I encourage client-agency teams to begin with an objective, data-based performance assessment. For this, I use Aprais, the global leader in team performance surveys.
Over the past two decades, Aprais has conducted over 24,000 evaluations of relationships between marketers and agencies globally. With a database comprising more than 18 million data points across geographies, business sectors and brand categories, we can compare and benchmark team performance against robust benchmarks and global performance trends.
Translating insights into an action plan for success
Data and assessment are just the beginning. A survey report is of no value if buried in a hard drive that no one ever sees.
The crucial step is translating these insights into a performance improvement action plan. I analyze and assess team survey results against global benchmarks, identifying opportunity areas. I share these results with both the client and agency teams and facilitate a team performance workshop to get all partners to identify goals and action plans to address issues and opportunities. This approach has proven results. Aprais benchmarks reveal that those client-agency teams who measure and manage performance on an ongoing basis see a double-digit improvement in performance scores for creative quality, staff performance and business effectiveness.