For any organisation having to find a new development or digital marketing agency to work with is a challenge and for some, this can be a stressful procedure. This applies to businesses who are looking for an agency for development services, hosting, support or general maintenance. Some businesses are forced to move and some just decide to move following a poor service provided by their existing supplier. If your organisation is currently in a position where you are looking for an agency we hope this article helps you in your decision-making process.
Businesses now have so many options available to them as the number of agencies continues to grow. Just looking on the Search Engines you will be presented with numerous businesses promising that they can deliver your company the solutions it requires. They all have powerful messages that promise to take your business forward, but who do you trust? We completely understand how difficult it is when looking for a supplier and when you are forced to move from your agency you need to know that who you are moving to is reputable and can deliver!
Having so much choice can be great but it can also slow up the process of finding an agency too. We have put together a list of items for you which you can use when you are looking for a new supplier.
Referrals, Reviews & Ratings
Sometimes a good way to find something in life is through a referral, this could come from a colleague, a friend, a competitor or a customer.
If someone who you know recommends something or someone, you are likely to want to take their word and explore options. This is the same as an agency. If one of your customers has had a good experience or a bad experience with their agency they should share this information you and provide you with their honest opinion.
Have a look at your competition and see what they are doing. For example; if you are looking for new agency to deliver your business a new website you could take a look at theirs and see what you think. If you like to design and how it functions, why not get in touch with someone there and ask them a few questions? If you are a direct competitor this might not work so we recommend choosing them carefully.
If you have a friend in business they will always give you an honest opinion on their experiences using an agency, should they have previously used one. You can search for an agency on our website and apply a filter so the agencies with the highest ratings appear first.
A rating or review system will also help to identify a reputable agency which you could possibly work with. Read recent reviews from companies and individuals who have worked with them previously. Reviews with more than 50 words will typically ‘paint a better picture’ on the agency, how they perform and their overall experience working with them.
The built-in review system which we have on ‘Which Development Agency’ allows businesses to rate the agency on services, prices, and skills. It also gives them the option to write a review too. These reviews are all vetted by our site Administrators to ensure accuracy.
Size Of Company
Size really does matter. The size of the agency you work with is important and should not be undervalued. The larger the agency you work with the more skill sets they will have. Smaller agencies may struggle with larger projects and to juggle existing projects with yours. If you have a project with seriously tight deadlines then it is important that you chose a company who have enough resources to deliver. Staff illnesses, annual leave, client meetings, and requests from existing clients can all impact the delivery of a project for smaller agencies.
The larger the agency the more overheads they will have and this will be reflected in their fees to you so please consider this when you approach an agency. If you are a small business or a sole trader working with an agency with multiple offices worldwide might not be the best choice for you.
Client & Ex-Client Testimonials
Any business will only give details of happy clients and not clients who could be dissatisfied with the services they are being provided. When you visit a website of an agency you will see an impressive list of clients and who they work with, this is common. Ask an agency to provide you with two existing clients and two ex-clients. Speaking to ex-clients and finding out why they left the agency is something you could do. They will provide an honest review of their experiences working with them. Clients can move on to another supplier for multiple reasons and no fault of the agency.
The Age Of The Agency
The age of the agency is something to consider and an agency which has been trading for a longer period of time should mean that they are more stable than agencies who have just recently opened their doors. However, this isn’t always the case but it is something which you should consider.
Meet Department Heads
Don’t just meet the salesperson pitching for your business go and meet others within the business too. This will help to paint a picture on the agency and their internal processes and how they work. Speaking with them will help you understand what their skills are, how they approach projects and if they are right for you and your business. Ask them the questions which are important for you in your decision-making process.
Larger agencies will have individuals responsible for support, design, development, and infrastructure.
It’s knowing the right questions to ask. If your project involves support and maintenance then your questions need to be different to a project which involves development. If you need some tips on what to ask them please get in touch with us and we will advise you on things you should be asking.
Certifications, Awards & Qualifications
An agency which has won an award, qualifications or certificates usually means that they know their stuff! Certain technologies such as Drupal and Magento have accreditations and certifications for developers to work towards. If you see any mention on their site that they have certificates in certain technologies, platforms or technologies then this is another indication that they should be capable to deliver a project.
Of course, there are certificates, accreditations, and qualifications which are not ‘tech’ related. For example; if an agency is ISO accredited then this is a good indication on how they process things internally.
Pick an agency who has experience of working in your sector or industry, this really does help. Understanding your sector, your client’s journey and what works, and what doesn’t work, can have an influence on the success of your project too. For example; if you are a cycling shop which has been approached by a development company with a good track record working with other cycling stores the chances are they will know your industry and be in a good position to support you. Working with someone who has knowledge and an understanding of your industry should not be overlooked, but it is not the most important aspect to consider when looking for an agency to work with.
We are not talking about cutting an elderly person’s grass or helping them with their shopping bags here. What we are referring to is do they contribute code to any community or they part of any groups. For example, Drupal is a community which is put together by developers and development agencies from all over the world who contribute code changes to keep Drupal secure and always moving forward.
WordPress is a huge community and there are several groups worldwide which have been set up by agencies and freelance developers.
There are other technologies which work similar to Drupal, Modx and NationBuilder are just two of them. If you are considering working with these platforms, or currently working with them, and looking for a development company then ask them how involved they are with these communities and what their contribution is.
How Busy Are They?
A good agency should always be busy and working on projects. If you approach an agency with a project and they are able to start straight away this should ring alarm bells, this would concern us anyway. If they are as good as they say they are why aren’t they working now? It might be that they have just finished a project, but this is something to consider.
When businesses are looking for a new agency to work with there are many things to consider and we advise anyone to take their time and to ask lots of questions. If you take into consideration the points we list above then they will help your business choose the find the right agency to work with. We understand how difficult it can be choosing an agency and we hope this article has helped you in your search for an agency to work with.