How a long-term partner saves you money and sanity on your internal communications initiatives

Published: 09/11/23

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, your team is at capacity,  you have a project that has to get done on time, or you’re lacking a certain skill to bring your vision to fruition…where do you turn?

Not to a one-time vendor you have to spend valuable time onboarding on the nuances of your company. And certainly not to a new hire you’ll have to budget for, recruit and train.

There’s actually a unicorn solution to these very scenarios: an external, long-term partner like Sanger & Eby that can support your internal communications strategy, design and development needs.

You don’t have to be left in the lurch every time a to-do pops up. In this article, we’ll explore the many benefits (including, spoiler alert, cost savings for you) of having this type of partner on speed dial.

Internal communications partner vs. vendor: the difference is the depth of the relationship

Let’s start by defining the major difference we’re discussing here. A long-term, outside partner is an extension of your internal communications team. Conversely, you’d only engage an external vendor for a project or two.

Hiring a vendor is a great option for some engagements; don’t get us wrong. We are vendors for certain projects, like website builds that don’t require ongoing support. But our definition of a vendor — an external agency that you have a transactional, short-term, deliverable-based relationship with — doesn’t lend itself to the level of help you and others often need in the long run.

When you engage a vendor, it’s your precious time and resources going toward finding the right firm, getting them up to speed on your company and monitoring the project. And you’re doing that every time you have a new project. Whereas with a partner, you only have to worry about onboarding once. From there, they can take on to-dos for years to come.

It comes down to this…

“What do you need help with?” is a hard question to answer. But that’s inevitably where a vendor engagement will begin. Instead, engage with a partner you trust — one you’re accustomed to working with. This kind of partner can independently identify communications needs for your company, bringing outside expertise and strategic thinking to the table you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Then, this partner can be proactive about getting the work done for you.

4 benefits of engaging a partner for ongoing internal communications support

With a solid sense of what we mean by having a partner to support your team, let’s dig into the four specific advantages of working this way.

1. Multiple opportunities for cost savings

You gain so many efficiencies when you employ an ongoing partner. And gained efficiencies = cost savings.

For one, securing vendors is time consuming in and of itself. There’s searching for the agency. Then there’s the proposal process. And that’s all before onboarding and the actual work even commences.

On the other hand, there’s inherent efficiency in having a partner “on call” for strategic, creative and technology assistance. That’s because you don’t have to go through the onboarding processes every single time you need an extra set of hands or specialized expertise.

You can also save on salaried employees with a partner. Instead of hiring a full or even part-time person to get a project done, simply rely on your external partner. A bonus? Unlike internal employees, you don’t have to pay certain outside agencies (like S&E) when there’s no work to be done. Only pay for what you need.

2. Flexibility to fill gaps in your team

Again, you don’t have to hire a new internal team member or a vendor to fill gaps in your internal communications efforts. The right partner can help you through tons of scenarios, including when:

  • You experience turnover. There’s relief in knowing you always have access to an expert, even when a key member of your team leaves.
  • An unexpected and/or time-sensitive need arises. Urgent needs can come up at any time. An ongoing partner can flex and pivot to support you because they’re already well-versed in your brand, needs and preferences.
  • There’s a skill gap on your team. Most people have specialities. So it makes sense if your team doesn’t have the expertise necessary to complete every single to-do that comes up. An external partner can fill those skill gaps with a member of their team.
  • You crave focused time. You are pulled in a thousand different directions on any given day. Delegate the “other stuff” to a partner so you can get some bandwidth back to do the job you were hired to do.

And while a partner helps fill certain gaps in specific areas of expertise, you can pull your partner in to handle entire projects — big and small — to get all kinds of work done, from design to development and talent engagement strategy.

3. Strategic guidance from a trusted, understanding partner

Beyond initial onboarding, your partner won’t have to invest hours getting to know you before they act on a need — you’ve already done that. They’re perpetually up to speed on your company and its nuances. As a result, you can lob a project their way and rest assured that it’ll be handled efficiently and effectively.

And your relationship will only deepen as you continue to work with your partner. At Sanger & Eby, we really get to know our clients who are on retainers — down to their communications style. That way, we can more easily interpret and apply their feedback without tons of formalities or back and forth.

Ultimately, a true partner knows you and your business goals, and can adapt with you as your needs change.

With this understanding of your company and its needs comes more strategic advice from your partner that you’ll come to rely on. In fact, your partner will hone an ability to both identify needs you don’t even know you have and help you with to-dos you overlook.

More importantly, your partner is there to listen to what you say and then run with your idea or offer advice. Have goals but not sure how to get there? Talk it out with your partner. Asked to work on a project outside of your comfort zone? See if your partner or someone on their team has the right experience to support you. Given a small budget for a big task? Your partner can scale down the work and/or execute it in phases.

Remember, this is a partnership in the truest sense of the word. And when Sanger & Eby is your partner, we’re invested in your success.

4. Consistent communications for a better employer brand

As time goes on and you continue to work with your partner, your internal communications will become more consistent and increasingly strategic. Why? Because the work is seamless. There aren’t countless vendors — too many cooks in the kitchen — muddying the message. It’s just one external team (plus your team, of course) presenting a united front for your company.

When your communications are consistent, you bolster your employer brand. People like working for companies where they know what’s happening thanks to effective communications. And when people like working for you, they tell other people. Before you know it, your company has a reputation for being an awesome place of employment. Hello, easier recruiting!

Choosing a long-term partner to fuel your internal communications projects

Whether it’s pivoting to address new technology or rebranding your handbook, Sanger & Eby is built to react to the ever-changing creative and tech landscape. We’re also built for the kind of long-term partnership described herein.

Let us get to know you. The more we do, the more value we can bring to a partnership together. When stuff hits the fan, we dive right in, producing on-target work the first time. You stand to gain a trusted partner and more cost-effective processes and projects when you partner with us.