LAVEH BLOG

How to Get the Most out of your Marketing Consultant

by Taline Badrikian

 

When growing a company, you have to seek external expertise from time to time. This can be for a lot of different reasons, and sometimes it's as simple as you can’t handle everything yourself. Plus, hiring full-time staff for niche needs isn't the most cost efficient, especially when it comes to marketing. That's why hiring a consultant to help with strategy or manage different activities can give you the opportunity you need to concentrate on building your business.
 
So, just how best can you establish, maintain, and enjoy a good working relationship with a consultant? Here are some ways to make sure you start off on the right foot and get the most out of your marketing consultant.
 
 

1. Outline specific marketing goals and be clear in your communications 

Even before you decide to interview marketing consultants, make sure that your organization is clear on the goals and tasks it wants to outsource. Make sure all stakeholders understand what you are trying to achieve and in what time-frame, what marketing activities are already planned, and any ideas on what activities it will take to meet the goals you have in mind. 
 
Right from the start, inform the marketing consultant what you expect of them. Most conflicts between companies and consultants arise when the results or values with one party are different from what the other originally expected. So, before signing an agreement, here are some things you need to make sure you've covered together:
 
  • The scope of work

Be sure to have clearly outlined the services you're agreeing to have fulfilled - that's how you can make sure you get a proposal which address your needs. Also, make sure that the consultant is able to take up additional work when necessary in order to complete the tasks in your agreement. This will give you an early understanding of the consultant’s flexibility and level of accommodation.

 

  • Deliverables

Together you should identify goals, milestones, and check-in points so you can tell whether the consultant is delivering on budget and on time. You can draft a schedule for the completion date of each goal during the engagement. Also, be clear on what you want delivered by the consultant. Do you want them to follow the norm or do you want them to give you something unique?

 

  • Financial compensation

Before consultants start working they will typically require a signed agreement, which also includes details about their compensation. You should decide ahead of time if the consultant is working on a retainer or will be compensated based on hours worked or even goals met.

Compensation can be a sensitive topic, so it's best to make sure you can come to an agreement and that all parties fully understand the terms and have the same expectations. 

 

2. Respect the consultant’s boundaries

It's important to recognize that the reason you get a consultant is for the fulfillment of business needs which you as the business owner could not fulfill yourself. Therefore, it’s only healthy that you take a step back and let the professionals do what they do best. If you hire smart, you can trust that your business will be in very safe hands.

You may be working weekends, but that does not imply that your marketing consultant will also have to work on weekends if that is not part of their normal practice. Take time to discuss any potential boundaries there maybe such as hours of work, response time and style of working in order to ensure there are no surprises down the road.

 

3. Don’t assume anything

You have hired a consultant because they know more in that field than you do. But that doesn't mean that you should assume they know everything. Instead, ask as many questions as possible; ask about anything and everything -- who’s reviewing the latest proposal? By when? What is the timeline? What happens if you fall behind schedule?

Proper communication and honesty on the part of both parties ensures a healthy working relationship and brings your business long-term success.

 

 

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Topics: tips and tricks

Taline Badrikian

Written by Taline Badrikian

Taline is the founder of Laveh Inbound Marketing. Using modern marketing concepts without the hefty price tag, Taline has a history of leading small businesses to explosive growth.