Understand how to determine criteria to evaluate the agencies and methods to choose through a hybrid qualitative/quantitative approach.
- To choose an agency, develop criteria for evaluation and a scoring system that everyone on the selection team will use. This will keep everyone focused and objective. You've already done some work to help you with this. Review your original objectives for conducting the selection process and your audit which identified from the past what worked well or not. I suggest using a simple Excel spreadsheet. List the criteria which will vary based on your business needs and culture. Include where people will fill in their score for each of those criteria, and allow people to write comments so they can share why they scored the way that they did.
Let's review some of the common criteria used to evaluate agencies during an RFP process. Agency team, evaluate each individual's capabilities, experience, level, and tenure at the agency. Will this team deliver your objectives? Strategic thinking, does the agency understand your business challenges, your brand, how to differentiate from competition, and how to deliver a relevant and engaging brand and user experience across touchpoints? Creative excellence, do you and the agency define creative excellence in the same way? Will this agency develop best-in-class creative that aligns with your strategy, differentiates your brand, engages the target, and is integrated across touchpoints? Execution, will the agency manage projects efficiently to meet deadlines and satisfy each project objective? Cultural fit, does the agency understand your culture? Are your two cultures aligned? Perspective, the agency should have experience in your industry or that's relevant to your industry.
They should be able to apply those insights in addition to insights from their other clients' industries to position your brand competitively. Price and value, is the agency's proposal on budget? It's okay if they propose ideas beyond your budget, but they first need to provide a recommendation that is on budget. Remember, to have a good basis for comparison, request this information from all agencies in the RFP process. Don't leave this to the end to only discuss with your first choice agency.
RFP response and presentation, did the agency properly and accurately respond to all your questions and information requests? Did they pay attention to detail? Next is agency scoring. I recommend a simple three point scale. For example, one, exceeded expectations, two, met expectations, three, did not meet expectations. Consolidate all spreadsheets from the selection team into a master spreadsheet.
Calculate the averages for each criterion, and tally up the total scores. Consider these scores in addition to the comments and feedback you've heard throughout the RFP process. Best practice is to get internal buy in to the criteria for evaluation and share that with all agencies in the beginning of the selection process. Use a simple spreadsheet with criteria for evaluation and a scoring system to keep everyone focused, aligned and objective, and the process fair.
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