If you work at an agency, you already know how important it is to stay on the forefront of innovation in order to provide your clients with the best opportunities to meet and exceed their KPIs. However, when your schedule is packed with client work to ensure that you’re meeting your agreed upon deadlines, it can at times seem like an easier route to just continue aligning with partners who have historically proven their ability to hit your client’s KPIs instead of educating yourself about new partners and new opportunities. But isn’t it equally as important to show your clients that you are always seeking fresh, innovative opportunities for them to test? To that end, it’s important that you allot time each month to communicate with partners and learn about new offerings on the horizon.
So you ask, how in the world am I supposed to fit this partner stuff into my already jam-packed schedule? And to that I say that it’s crucial for you to appropriately manage partner communications in order to put your best foot forward for your client, as well as to keep your agency in positive light among partners.
There are a few obstacles that can make partner management challenging, so we’ve listed the top three obstacles – and PMG’s solutions – below.
- How are we supposed to respond to all these partner notes?
It’s inevitable that as an agency, you’re likely receiving a plethora of emails from partners. The easiest way to ensure that each partner’s note receives a reply within an appropriate period of time – we go with a week maximum response time as a rule of thumb – is to forward ALL partner notes to one person. In this way, all partner notes are consolidated, and we are able to reply to all partners, whether they are a fit given our current opportunities or not, in a timely manner.
My best practice is to set aside 30 minutes twice a week in order to respond to partner notes. Whether we are able to set up a meeting right away or not, at least the partner is aware that they are now on our radar, and we will keep them in mind when an opportunity presents itself down the road.
- How do we consolidate all of this partner information?
You’ve probably accumulated hundreds of partner’s contact information, decks, follow-ups, etc. The problem is that all of this information is spread across multiple people within your agency, so you have to ask around when you’re looking for a specific partner’s information. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a tool – one that everyone in the agency had access to – that would consolidate and house all of this information?
We thought so too, so we recruited the very awesome PMG Development team to create a repository for all partner information to be stored. To simplify the process even more, we are in the process of creating a form to send to all partners prior to them coming into the office. Once they submit this form, all information entered by that partner will be automatically uploaded into the internal partner repository, which means that one person doesn’t have to spend countless hours manually entering all of the fields. The types of fields that we will ask the partner to populate include:
- Partner Name
- Contact Name
- Contact Email
- Contact Phone #
Here is a preview of what the repository will look like:
You can click ‘View More’ to view additional information on the partner or ‘View Site’ to click out directly to the partner’s site.
We have not yet unveiled this process agency-wide, as we are still tweaking a few final items before the big release, but we are confident that it will be a lifesaver in terms of consolidating all partner information.
- How do we figure out the suitable propensity of partner meetings each month?
This item truly does not have an answer that is best practice for all agencies. It is dependent on clients, preferences, and availability to name a few factors. That being said, after trial and error, we have determined that two all-agency meetings and two display team meetings is the cadence that works best for PMG. This allows for the PMG team to continue learning about new partners and opportunities each month while still having ample time for client work.
Try out the above method and if it doesn’t work for you, continue testing out various cadences until you find one that works best for your team.
Now that you are a partner management pro, you can get to tackling all those partner notes and staying ahead of innovate offerings, while still meeting those client deadlines. #winning