3 Unforgivable Mistakes Everyone Makes When Hiring an Agency

March 1, 2021

If you need marketing, a website, or a brand strategy, chances are you are going to hire an agency. Here are mistakes you can avoid for a better experience. P.S. If you Google mistakes made when hiring an agency, you won’t find these. 

Not Meeting the Real Production Team

When you reach out to hire an agency, you will hear back from one of three people; the owner, project manager, or a sales team, depending on their size. You will get launched into their standard discovery and pitch process. Along the way, it is critical to meet the production team. 

No matter what services you are hiring for, meet the team that will do the work. Often an agency will bring out a project manager or technical lead, but I think you should push to meet the entire team that will do your work. 

Why? It’s not because you will be able to evaluate their skill level or some nonsense like that. You want to be a known entity to the production team. The biggest issue you will face when hiring a medium to large agency is simply obscurity in the company structure. You want to make it personal for the entire team doing your work. If the agency you are hiring isn’t willing to let you have that personal connection with the whole team, look elsewhere. 

As an alternative, a business like The Sky Floor is intentionally small. You work with Alan and me directly from start to finish. There are pros and cons to each size of a business, more on that in the coming weeks!

Falling for a Fancy Pitch Deck (But Not Asking for Details)

The flashiest agencies produce high-quality pitches that dazzle and inspire you. Don’t be taken in by this alone! 

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An effective pitch doesn’t need all the details. If it gets super into the weeds, you will likely check out – and for good reason. The better the pitch from your prospective agency, the more follow-up questions there should be. A great pitch is like building the border to your puzzle first. It is one of the best ways to start, but you need to fill in the middle to see the complete picture.

Get the details. How will they accomplish what they are promising? What is the timeline? Who will do the work, and can I meet them? The larger the agency, the more you need the details in writing – this is equally for them and you. 

We have seen it many times; a large agency gives a great pitch, they get the account, and then it becomes clear they didn’t have a clear execution plan. When you hire a large agency, this means your work falls through the cracks – everyone will assume someone else is picking up the slack. Get all the details at the outset, and keep asking for them as the project moves forward. (Note, this doesn’t mean micro-manage. This is about being informed, not babysitting professionals!)

Equating Team Size with Attentive Service

It is tempting to think that the more staff an agency has, the more dedicated attention you will get. Large teams are paraded in front of you to show how much their workforce will support you. 

The truth is unless there is a super talented manager at the helm of the team, more people means diluted communication. 

Think of the agency’s team as a clear glass of water. The number of people you interact with is the size of the glass – larger glass means more water. Your requests are like a drop of dark blue dye hovering over the surface of the glass. The larger the team, the greater the chance that your claim gets diluted into obscurity. 

Does this mean you should always avoid large agencies? I think it depends on the size of your business. If you are large, interfacing with too small a team may be difficult, but a colossal agency team will be an equal mismatch if you are small. 

You might make lots of other mistakes when hiring an agency, but avoiding these three will help start your project on track and get you the service you deserve!