When I built my digital marketing agency, I was a team of one, but quickly realized that I could not do it all on my own. I found it difficult to expand my service offerings because: 1) I had limited knowledge and could not specialize in all of the areas that clients desired, 2) my time needed to be focused more on growing the business and less on client work.
My strategy was to create and improve strategic partnerships in order extend capabilities. In addition to the group of small, but mighty contractors that I built to support our core work, I needed to hire freelancers with specialized skills in social, paid media, content development, web development, and front-end design.
But I had concerns around:
- Clients having the same level of service and work quality.
- Integration with larger project. Clients would purchase these services as a part of other services that we provided. How could we make sure that these were tightly integrated?
- Freelancers establishing independent relationships with clients and “luring” them away.
I built a trusted network of more than 50 preferred freelancers with specialized skills. Each freelancer was pre-vetted, had a contractual agreement, and attended training. Here were some of my actions:
- Evolved operational model and process to include specialty freelancers. When there was a need for their specialized knowledge on a project that we were managing, we had a process for selecting and integrating them into to project. Rather than have them work independently with a client, they worked as a part of the larger project team. They had access to project management and communication tools and interfaced with the client and the PM just like any more permanent staffer would.
- Designed contractual agreements to protect my company, but ensure mutual benefits for all parties. Contracts addressed how the freelancer would conduct themselves while working with clients, intellectual property matters, and non-solicitation specifics.
- Developed training for all staff which included code of conduct and shared values. Also, provide training on how projects were managed and our approach to work.
VALUE TO BUSINESS
- Increased sales revenue
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Expanded service offering
VALUE TO CUSTOMER
- Access to professionals that have been pre-vetted.
- Access to professionals with specialized knowledge.
- Convenience. Many digital marketing services under the same roof.