Are you looking to hire a digital agency? Picking the right one can be difficult, but if you pay attention to some specific tells on a sales process you will be able to have a better understanding of how they work.
Successfully hiring a business is a lot of work: price, quality, experience, location, and referrals. So many variables come into place that it can quickly become overwhelming. Making a confident choice can be tough.
Step 1: Connect
The first step in any sales flow is the initial connection. Either you contact them by email or phone, or you submit a contact form on their website. This is the first impression you get about an agency. What should you pay attention to here?
1. How long do they take to get back to you.
Although it may seem like a small detail, this simple act says a lot about a business. If they take forever (more than one day) to get back to you, you can guess that you aren’t one of their higher priorities.
Plus, if they don’t care too much about responding on time on their first conversation with you, you should not expect them to do so in all the other times you will try to contact them.
2. Whether they read up on you before sending a proposal.
Yes, we know, why should they evaluate me when I’m the one hiring them? The truth is it takes time to craft a proposal and jump on meetings with every potential client. Before spending precious time on a prospect, agencies need to make sure the potential client is a good fit for them.
Being a good fit is not only about the budget, but also regarding the scope of work, time constraints, availability, and expertise in a particular area.
Sometimes you see agencies sending the first email straight out asking about estimated budgets or even openly warning about not being able to meet certain deadlines. Although it may feel too straightforward for some, this can be a good sign that they do good work, they are busy, and they would rather not spend time pursuing potential clients that are not a good fit for them.
Step 2: Discovery Call
The next step in a sales pitch is the discovery call. Here is when you jump on a meeting with the candidate agencies to go over details and explain your needs.
3. How much they ask about your business and whether they take the time to understand it.
First things first, if an agency is going to help you out, it’s essential that they have a good comprehension of your business. If they do not take the time to ask the right questions and get a hang of your problem, this is a red flag. Why? Simply because it’s impossible to design or find a solution for a business you don’t know or understand…
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying they should know your business better than you do. And we’re not saying you should only hire agencies specialized in your particular business. But having a basic knowledge of what you do, what your target audience is, and what have you been doing so far is a must in order to create something great.
4. If they ask about your goals.
You are probably hiring an agency to help you achieve a set of goals and objectives. It’s important that they take the time to ask you about them. If you don’t have clear goals they should help you set them – even better! It’s impossible to develop an effective strategy without a clear purpose from the very start.
5. Whether they take the time to hear ideas but also bring their own to the table.
It’s important that you feel comfortable bringing ideas to the table but so is getting them from the experts you are hiring. It’s a great sign if an agency can give you at least a few good ideas right away, or maybe an interesting point of view about your specific problems on the discovery call. After all, this instance is a small demo of how they are going to work with you later on if you hire them.
6. How well they explain the way they work.
A good agency must have an ironed-out process, and if they do, they should be able to easily explain their process and how they work in the meeting.
Step 3: Proposal
The last step in a sales pitch is the sending of the proposal. This is when all the ideas and propositions discussed in meetings and emails are put into words. This is when the agency sells itself. What should you be looking out for in this stage?
7. How detailed their proposal is.
A few days after the discovery meeting, the agency will send you a proposal where they will outline the details of their offer. A complete proposal should include:
• A thorough explanation of what you would be hiring.
• An explanation of the tech stack to be used and whether or not it would be a custom build or a pre-made theme.
• A timeline. How long the project should take should be clearly stated.
• Pricing. A comprehensive bill will most likely not be cheap. Good work takes time and time is not cheap. If the pricing seems too low, be extremely cautious to verify what you’d be hiring.
8. Online reviews and case studies.
Lastly, if the agency has been in business for a considerable time it should have some online reviews, case studies, or a portfolio that you can read up on.
Here you should look out for real examples where the agency is able to explain what the client’s problem was and how they solved it. Not only showing pretty colors and animations, but they should be able to walk you through their process and explain how their work has been useful in finding solutions. If you find some cool stuff, you should go ahead and hire them!
Sometimes hiring a business is a matter of chemistry. If you have a good feeling, most times you should go for it! But we hope that these tips help you navigate through your next sales pitch with better tools to make the wisest and most informed decision.