1Decide what you need help with
An agency can help with small to big business tasks and are often used if you need to outsource work or to seek advice from outside of your business.
Consider here what exactly you need help with and the type of agency required e.g. you may need help with paid advertising so you would look for a marketing agency that specialised in PPC campaigns.
2Calculate your commitment
How much time will the agency take to manage? This can be agreed in more detail at a later date, but it helps to put an estimated time frame of the following points when you begin having discussions:
-how long the agency will work with you
- amount of time they will use of your work day/ week
3Ring fence budget
How much can you afford and how will you pay for it? Project or retainer basis?
4Record your research
To make sure you make the best decision for your company, record your research of potential agencies with our 'Hiring an agency template'.
When completing your research consider looking at the agencies:
5Make a shortlist
Shortlist three you'd like to work with from your research. If you need extra help choosing which three would suit your needs best, assign this task to a member of your team to get their view.
Use the following points to help make your decision for your business:
-who would your account manager be?
-who is actually doing the work?
-what does the process of working together look like?
-what experience do they have in your sector?
-can they share their best examples?
6Contact the shortlisted agencies
It's important not to place all your requirements onto just one agency. Contact your agreed shortlist using either phone, email or meeting in person. All of their details should be on their company website. Decide here how you will contact.
6.1Calling the agency
If calling the agency is the best option for you, ensure the main contact calls up the agency and has the attached research in step 4 and information gathered in step 5.
This call is the first step to building a relationship with this business and you will also be representing your business so make sure you are prepared beforehand.
6.2Emailing the agency
Often after a call, you may be asked to email the agency. It is important to keep it to the point, making it clear the job you require, but also friendly. Use the attached 'Email to agency template' as your base.
Morning/ Afternoon [INSERT COMPANY NAME/ EMPLOYEE NAME]
We have been looking for an agency to work with for [INSERT REASON] and came across [INSERT HOW YOU FOUND THEM]. We’re interested in working with you because [INSERT THEIR MAIN POSITIVE FEATURE]]. I just have a few questions to ask.
6.3Meeting the agency
When meeting the agency, consider:
-who will be attending the meeting?
-where it will take place (do you need to book a room?)
-do you need any relevant print outs/ files ready to share with them?
7Choose agency/ have confidence in your decision
Based on your shortlist and the responses you got from contacting them, choose the best agency to work with. Consider a test/trial period if you're still a bit unsure.
Use our attached mutual NDA template and arrange a contract for the work.
If you have a HR department or a senior manager, consider asking them to review the documents before sending them off.
Use our attached mutual NDA template.
9Double check the T&Cs
Check the small print for any additional fees, copyright, source files etc.
10Kick off meeting
Once your new agency is in place, arrange a kick off meeting with everyone involved. Schedule a recurring task with the agency so you can have regular updates and track the progress.
(Insert link to agency meetings here!)