06 Nov.

Is Your Agency Setup For a Future In Digital Marketplaces?

How does your agency currently win new business? Do you have a sales or business development team that’s knocking down doors looking for new agency customers? Are they finding and responding to pitches?

If you are a HubSpot partner agency, you are most likely taking a more inbound marketing approach. You’re probably creating relevant content for your target personas, and promoting it through social media and other paid digital media channels. And finally, you’re probably responding to the leads that come in from this approach.

Why is there a high level of friction for customers?

Think about the job of finding an agency if you are a customer ― there’s a huge amount of work that goes into it sourcing relevant agencies. Firstly, you need to reach out to each one and hope that they respond. You then go through an interview process and eventually select one. But think about it ― the risk is still very high for the customer as the agency may not live up to their promises.

This is, therefore, leading customers to look for alternative ways to engage with potential agencies and reduce their risk.

The digital marketplace puts the power in the customer’s hands and the eager agencies hands

The digital marketplace where there is a demand side (the customer) and supply side (often freelancers but now agencies) has been in operation for many years. It has been primarily associated with small projects at a low cost, but this is changing, rapidly.

Now customers are using marketplaces like On The Bench to:

  • Post gigs – big and small: instead of having to go through directories, use Google to find potential agencies to work with or sending the same enquiry to multiple agencies and waiting for responses. The customer now posts the gig once into the marketplace. The customer stipulates with its length, size, and scope. The also specify several other variables such as location, expertise, and the language required. In the end, any agency that matches the specified criteria is notified and if they are interested, they can respond.
  • Post “trial” gigs: instead of posting a big project or retainer and risk the chance of awarding the work to someone that the customer won’t enjoy working with or an agency that has overpromised delivery. Customers are breaking their requirements into smaller projects, posting multiple gigs and awarding them to different service providers. When they find a service provider that works well with them, they then approach them offline and award the bigger project or retainer.

Much like managing a live chat, a digital marketplace needs a management strategy

So often you end up wanting to chat with someone through the live chat feature on their website, and all you get is…. Crickets! Silence, no response. I found myself installing live chat, and then coming back from a meeting and finding I had missed several chats.

The incumbent way of responding to customers allows you to take days to respond to enquiries, but with marketplaces, the need is much quicker.

Measure the effort of responding to request with the effort used in other business development endeavours

In a marketplace, there are many eager potential suppliers bidding on potential new business, and it may feel like you have responded to lots of requests and very seldom get selected. This probably makes you question the effort that you put into marketplaces.

But when you think about the effort to create content, manage inbound leads, contact new potential cold leads, run paid media campaigns and go out and see potential clients. You will soon realize that spending 30 minutes a day responding to potential customers in a marketplace has much greater ROI with regards to your time than the old ways of doing things.

Author: Daryn Smith

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