December 11, 2019Comments are off for this post.

So, you need an agency. Now what?

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Finding a new agency partner is tough. It’s a big risk to take and is a lot of work. What if the new agency isn’t the right fit? How do you go through the process of evaluating possible agencies? Where do you find the agencies? What should you look for in a new agency relationship? How do you balance and meet the needs of multiple stakeholder needs across your organization?

Here are 5 helpful tips for finding the right partner:

  1. Internal stakeholder alignment: Make sure all of the key members of your team are on the same page about what business problem you’re trying to solve for and what is important to you. This is truly the keystone for building a strategic relationship with your new agency partners. (Also, this is a massive opportunity for financial and time efficiencies.)
  2. Ask the right questions, but not too many questions: Make sure you’re asking the agency questions that help you determine if they are able to help you solve the key business issues that you discovered during your internal stakeholder alignment. This doesn’t mean lengthy RFP questions, rather the opportunity to ask questions specific to address your key business needs.
  3. Find a mix of agencies: Review multiple agencies that are built to address your needs and don’t be afraid to consider an option or two that seem a bit outside of your comfort zone – you may be pleasantly surprised. Often times, you are forced to use suppliers vetted by your procurement team or tried and true partners in your vertical. A good agency is strategic regardless of what vertical they fall in. It’s the ability to find “thinkers” and true “problem solvers” that may sit outside of your business comfort zone.
  4. Meet the agencies: You’d be amazed how much you can learn by sitting in a room with people for 60 – 90 minutes. Pay attention to the chemistry in the room and your gut. Insist on meeting people that would be working on your account. Don’t let fancy pitch teams and agency executives fool you to thinking they are day-to-day on your account.
  5. Do background checks: Narrow your list to 2-3 finalists and check references. While the agency will give you their happiest customers, you’ll learn a lot in those conversations about what it is actually like to work with that specific agency. Also, ask to have a 1:1 conversation with an account manager or another day to day person that might be assigned to your account. You’re buying the agency’s people; make sure they are happy.

Finding the right strategic agency partner is laying the groundwork for your growth and future. It is a tough and time-consuming process, but it deserves your attention. Choosing the wrong agency is much more painful than taking the time to find the right fit for your business.

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November 19, 2019No Comments

If It’s Broke, Fix It (An open letter about the agency RFP process)

The agency RFP process is broken. 

But, it’s not your fault. The process is not designed to solve your key business issues. It’s incredibly complicated: entails the cooperation of multiple departments, a massive technology overhaul, alignment with finance, etc. Agonizing procurement lead systems, antiquated search consultancy firms and lengthy RFP documents don’t truly help you find the right strategic partners for your business. Not to mention that the ever-evolving complexities of the marketing and advertising landscape require more from marketers than ever before, but the RFP process has not evolved to meet these growing demands. It’s painful for both clients and agencies.

As ex-Agency and marketing leaders, we know the process all too well. Here’s what usually happens…You only RFP agencies you’ve worked with, are referred to by a colleague, find on Google search or see on an AdAge top agency list. You ask them a series of questions to find out about them, but those questions don’t address how they can help you solve your key business issues. You pick an agency that has the most charming pitch team and most flashy pitch deck (the people that you like the most), but they might not be right for your business. As a result of this, the strategy and execution often fall flat.

You’re left with two choices: Try to make a tough relationship work or go through the painful process again. If your agency relationship isn’t salvable and you dare to venture back into the agency dating pool again with the same process as before, you’ll likely get the same results. If nothing changes, nothing changes.

This is painful for the agency too. They spend days or weeks responding to your RFP. They answer dozens of questions, build decks, create case studies. In most cases, they take team members away from their “day jobs” (billable client hours) to work on new business. They work late, lose sleep, miss family activities and agonize over giving you the winning response.

They win the business. They’re  excited, but now have to scramble to put together a team. The work begins, but like we said they weren’t the right fit for your business, so your team gets frustrated. Your team starts making out of scope demands on the agency. Your agency tries to accommodate you, but they aren’t built to address these demands or those demands cost more money (but you don’t want to pay more).Everyone is frustrated. Then, your account lead leaves and you have to start over with someone else. Agencies lose their team over relationships like this.

It’s a lose-lose for everyone; until now. 

This is why Tenx4 exists. We’re helping our client and agency partners cultivate and build better relationships. We are fixing this broken agency RFP system to help our clients find the right strategic partners to bring your business to the next level. We work with you to understand what you actually need. We lead the entire RFP review process all the way from internal stakeholder alignment and brief creation through to contracts and onboarding. We save you time, money and lots of unnecessary headaches. 

Ultimately, when you switch agencies, you’re taking a risk. We eliminate that risk.

Find out how we can help you: