Most marketing agencies would describe themselves as client-centric, and for good reason. Agencies rely on happy clients, not only for their own return revenues, but also for word of mouth. 84% of B2B decision makers start their buying journey with a referral, so fostering satisfied clients who tell their networks about you is key.
But is client-centric enough? Should marketing agencies be taking a step back in the process – and considering how they are creating client satisfaction in the first place? Clue: It’s all about the freelancers.
Freelancer Satisfaction is the Same as Client Satisfaction
The recent economic downturn has led to a larger reliance on freelancers and agency workers, as heavy tech layoffs leave gaps in organizations that need filling, and fast. Agencies are known to lean largely on freelance talent, making it easier for them to scale up and down on resources to meet client demand.
However, freelance talent is more educated, skilled and in demand than ever before. Agencies need to compete for freelancer attention, and as this is directly related to the standard of work offered to clients – it should be top of the to-do list. If you can’t attract and retain the best freelancers, then your clients are going to be provided with sub-par work, and unhappy clients spread the wrong word about your business.
Sourcing, Managing and Payments (Oh My!)
Freelancers are not full-time employees, and they have their own methods of working, processes, communication preferences and expectations. The quickest way to lose a great freelancer is to force them to fit in an employee-shaped hole.
Unfortunately, the process of managing freelancers at marketing agencies is far from solidified. Managing freelancers today takes a technology village. Most agencies are relying on a wide range of tools and technologies, for tasks including:
- Sourcing: From social media platforms to freelancer marketplaces, finding freelance talent can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Sourcing tools make it simpler to find the right fit.
- Vetting: Agencies need to check references, work samples, and even background information such as suitability for work. In certain industries like financial services, this may be critical for compliance, too.
- Time tracking: If work is by the hour, agencies often use tools like Clockify or Toggl to track hours. Screenshot Monitor can even take snapshots at regular intervals to keep track of progress and productivity.
- Project management: There are dozens of options, and different teams could use disparate tools, such as Asana, Monday, Clickup, and more. These help to track milestones, bottlenecks, and dependencies.
- Communication: Email is standard, but what about Slack, Chanty, Teams or Discord? In some cases, you might need more than one to satisfy different needs, and have multiple channels for work and team building for example.
- Feedback: Feedback tools allow managers to offer constructive criticism and reorientation on pieces of work, and can also be used for wider reviews or 1:1s to ensure freelancers know where they stand.
- Management: Which freelancers do you have relationships with, and who is available? Some agencies are still relying on Excel spreadsheets, while others onboard bespoke tools.
- Skills management: Agencies need to know exactly what areas of expertise their freelancers have, including experience, samples, and references for new agency clients.
- Payments: Freelancers don’t fit into the monthly payroll, and may need to be given deposits, or both one-off and regular milestone payments. If you have dozens of freelancers, they may all have their own expectations.
Ready to Manage Freelancers Better? Loyalty Starts Here
When you consider all of the SaaS tools and technologies necessary to manage your freelance army, it can quickly become overwhelming, both for your business and for the freelancer, too.
Challenges for the business
For marketing agencies, time is quite literally money. Juggling dozens of tools can make it harder to effectively manage your business, especially across teams. It’s easy to see how freelance talent can fall through the gaps, without visibility into who you have available, their skills, and their preferred ways of working.
Add to that the complexity of finding the right freelancers (who will be the face of your business), paying them accurately and on time, and keeping them loyal to the business – and freelance management is a full time job in and of itself.
Obstacles for the freelancer
For freelance talent, it’s never been a better time to be a non-employee. Freelancers are highly in demand, and if you have high-value skills, you can take your pick of clients, including working directly with big companies, and avoiding paying an agency a cut of the takings.
The only way that freelancers will want to work with agencies, is if the agency is making their life really easy, finding them great clients to work with, and not adding to their administrative load. That means they are unlikely to want to sign up to a dozen new tools for communication, feedback, project management, and more.
Dear Marketing Agencies: It’s Time for a Change
The need for a single place to source, vet, manage, and pay freelancers is clear. Not only will it support the business in gaining greater visibility and control when managing their talent pool of freelancers, but it’s also going to make you your freelancers’ preferred client to work with.
A single Freelance Management System (FMS) like Fiverr Enterprise provides you with complete control over the hiring, management, payments and compliance of your freelance workforce.
Suddenly, your freelancers love working with you so much, they’re making your clients their top priority.
Discover how Fiverr Enterprise enables marketing agencies to manage their freelancers more effectively.