How to Grow Your Agency Through Partnerships
Building partnerships allow you to specialize and optimize your current competitive advantage. With marketing, different fields and practices exist, which demand different uses of time.
The Optimum7 marketers are good at structure, backend, code, and customized e-commerce strategies. They don’t do PR, or earned media. Partners can help with that.
Elements of Successful Agency Partnerships
What must a partnership have?
A partnership has to have a win-win scenario, a symbiosis with you, the partner, and the customer. Everyone has to benefit in the long run.
Why should these partnerships exist for the client?
Many agencies will sell you a service that they don’t really provide, or have a shoddy performance. And they’re just trying to capture the sale. And what ends up happening is that the client leaves. They spent money and did not receive what they believe was worth that amount.
Clients then go for cheaper options on Upwork, and freelancers. They will take fewer risks, and express less trust.
Don’t just grab the sale and perform a shoddy job. It hurts your agency. Many agencies do that, and they don’t realize that they’re hurting themselves. They sabotage relationships.
Let’s say you have a retainer and receive $10,000 from him. You were trying to upsell him at a thousand dollars for a service that you don’t offer because you don’t want to lose them. Now you’re jeopardizing the $10,000 business. You lose business from that client in the future.
Long-Term Partnerships With Marketing Agencies
Consider establishing the right partner to take on that work that maybe your team is not fully equipped to handle. You can have the best marketers, but they can’t provide every service at high quality.
Always create realistic timelines. Sometimes, your agency might be tapped out. A job that should take four weeks is now going to take four months, and what happens? That frustrated and upset client will request a refund and leave. To add insult to injury, they may post a negative review.
For the client’s benefit look for an agency partner that can handle that. It’s going to benefit you in the long run.
Full disclosure: Optimum7 has a channel manager who builds these relationships with different agencies. That person searches for agencies that provide the services that the marketers cannot handle.
How Strategic Partners Can Grow Your Agency
On a monthly basis, Optimum7 rejects over 20 clients because they don’t have enough budget. They ask for services that the firm doesn’t and can’t meet their minimums. With a partner, the marketers would send that to that agency partner.
If you are an agency, no matter what you do, imagine possibly getting twenty to forty percent of your incoming leads from these partnerships. You need these partnerships and agreements for references.
How can you structure a partnership?
One way is a percentage basis. You charge a referral fee when you send leads to other agencies. This can be as little as five percent. Another option is when two or three will go and bid on a specific project or a larger project.
Talk to us about that process.
Many times, when there’s an RFP involved, the client wants a full scope of everything from traditional media to all the way to developmental PR and the works. No agency can fill out that entire RFP and win that business. The best chance of winning that business is to get other agency partners that can fill the niche to handle those areas of the RFP.
This lets you hit multiple birds with one stone. You are able to respond to the RFP by using somebody else’s expertise. This leads to a better result.
If the company is doing their due diligence, they’re going to want to talk to you, evaluate how good your response is and what your case studies look like. You can deliver the business better with more accountability because now you have partners that you are going into this project with, who share the load.
Transparency is Key!
Suppose you’re on a sales call. Then the client asks, “Do you do this or that? Can you show me what you’ve done?” It may not be your expertise. That is not what your agency focuses on. But now, because you have these agency partners that do focus on those products or those services. You can grab, and you can rebrand.
Optimum7 prefers transparency. There’s a difference between saying, “Do you do PR? No conversation is over.” and “Do you do PR? No, that’s not in our wheelhouse, but there are partners that we work with that are great and here is their contact information.”
The conversations become completely transparent. No one will blame you for being honest.
You can either white-label, or you can be fully transparent. Be 100% transparent. At the end of the day, if you’re not white labeling it, your agency is still taking on all of that work. You still need that to be that project manager that’s now going to communicate with the other agency.
If you’re going to do the white-label approach, work out those within your margins, rather than just getting a percentage or a cut for a referral. It’s a little bit more intricate when you’re going to start white labeling.
At Optimum7, the marketers only partner up if it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. They won’t work with a partner that just wants referrals. The partner, agency partner shouldn’t just send business to them. The exchange has to benefit everyone.
Developing A Partner Program
If you have agencies reaching out to you, asking for partnerships, get on a call with them. Schedule a phone call, set the right expectations, and vouch for them. If you go to their LinkedIn and they’re a one-man operation, it’s not really going to be a great partnership. Look at their capabilities and clients.
Start doing outreach to build these types of relationships for your agency. It will contribute to significant lead generation. In six months, you will build relationships with 10 agencies. Those people have volumes. Leads will line up for you, and you want them.
The best part is you’re not paying for that client acquisition. Somebody will give it to you for a very basic referral fee. You can’t beat that.
If you’re not doing these partnerships start today. Optimum7 can answer more of your questions.