How to build strong agency partnerships

Discover how Dropbox can help you wrangle the messy parts of contractor collaboration to keep relationships smooth and momentum flowing.

Two people in an office discuss what’s on their computer screen.

Working with creative agencies should feel as good as the final product you create together. But chasing paperwork, feedback, assets and status updates can get in the way of sending deliverables out the door – or jumping on that next kick-off call with a smile.

Here are five ways Dropbox can help teams tackle the toughest collaboration roadblocks – resulting in happier partnerships and high-quality creative.

1. Speed up paperwork 

Let’s face it – most marketing headaches are caused by deadlines that just feel too close for comfort. Sure, the team can make it happen. But first, the agency needs to sign the paperwork, freelancers need to confirm their day rates and talent can’t start until they sign an NDA.

To avoid paperwork delays that timelines can’t accommodate, try eSignatures from Dropbox Sign. Rely on built-in reminders (instead of phone or email tag) to keep contracts moving, and allow parties to swiftly sign from anywhere and on any device. Instead of downloading, signing and reattaching PDFs, busy stakeholders can sign with a few clicks before they get sidetracked. In fact, contracts can be signed up to 80% faster with eSignatures than with traditional paper-based forms.

For agreements that you use often, consider setting up Templates – boilerplate forms that can be set up just once, then easily sent out with each new partnership. Whether you onboard a few new contractors a year or dozens each month, you’ll notice a drastic difference in admin work.

2. Simplify reviews

The days of reviewing creative work on an easel in a conference room are long gone. Today’s creative assets can show up in your inbox in a wide range of formats and sizes depending on the project.

You don’t have to keep buying new software to review work or spend 20 minutes downloading a file filled with animations. Ask your agency partners to share their presentations with Dropbox so you can access them with a link.

With Dropbox, you can check all sorts of creative file types like PSDs and PDFs in the cloud, and comment directly in the files so your feedback is clear. If you’re reviewing video and audio projects, try Dropbox Replay, which lets everyone mark up the same video with time-based comments or annotations so the team stays on the same page.

3. Organise assets in one place

Keeping track of all of the required assets in a multi-channel marketing project can make anyone’s head spin. If you’re creating social or banner ads, you can have a never-ending list of asset sizes. And if you’re working across multiple markets, translations can only add to the mountain of deliverables.

Save the team confusion by creating a clear checklist of every deliverable needed by platform, size and type at the beginning of the project. Then provide one central location for the agency to upload all their assets and organise them in folders and subfolders that match your checklist.

If a file goes missing and needs to be recovered, Dropbox keeps a backup of deleted files. So when it’s time to go live, everything’s right where it’s supposed to be.

4. Take meetings off the calendar

Checking in with your agency partner regularly is key to clear communication. But if your schedule is filled with both internal and external meetings, there may not be time left to get your actual work done. Meanwhile, sharing complex feedback over email can often lead to misunderstandings or added follow-up calls to clarify vague points.

Take back your calendar by scheduling preset ‘office hours’ with your agency two or three times a week to review the ongoing work. It’ll give both you and the agency a set time to focus on work together, instead of squeezing in short meetings when you have an open slot.

If there’s more work than can fit in the time slot or the agency can’t always make it, Dropbox Capture lets you share feedback through screen recordings and video messages. You can talk through your feedback and add markups, and then the agency can review the video when it’s convenient for them. Taking the meeting async can benefit collaborators who might be in a different time zone – and now won’t have to dial in after dinner for a round 3 feedback call.

5. Share status updates in real time

When you’re juggling multiple agency projects that are all at different stages, it can feel like your ‘status’ brain is over capacity. While your agency may send a daily or weekly status email to keep you in the loop, it can easily get buried in your inbox – leaving you searching for it when you finally have time.

Use the cloud to your advantage and set up a status document online for both your internal team and external team to update. When you save it on Dropbox, you’ll be able to check when the agency team last changed it and view version changes to see what’s been updated.

This system will also make it easier to bring other internal people onto a project. Whether they’re supporting you or just covering while you’re on holiday, you can simply share the link for them to access. You may not know what’s going on with every project at all times, but you’ll always know where to look for a quick status check.