We met Michael at Agency Connect, a cocktail party series hosted by the Cloud Software Association to bring agencies together to talk shop and build relationships with software partners.

Our host is Sunir Shah, CEO of AppBind, which makes it easy for digital agencies to sell more services to more clients by bringing the managing and expensing of subscriptions under control.

Thank you to Michael Krieger, Prime Marketing Experts, a digital marketing agency for small-to-medium-sized businesses in the e-commerce as well as food industries. They manage digital marketing, automation, SEOs, social media and marketing, text messaging, and chats.

Typically, they work with clients for one year to 18 months.

Who has been the most disappointing software partner you’ve had?

The product has to work
Well, believe it or not, most disappointing partnerships sort of came to fruition a few months ago. We were actually trying a new pay per click optimization vendor, specifically for Google ads. We tried putting one client onto the platform. That was the first time and the last time we’re using the tool.

They actually incorrectly on one screen stated that the budget is $15 per month. The real budget was $15 per day, which extrapolates to $450 per month.

The real error was that we actually assumed the second screen was a monthly budget as it had no label. As it optimized, without an alert, it moved from $15 to $450 per day in Google ads.

It took us eight days to catch. We ended up approving a few thousand dollars worth of ad spend that we had to pay back to the client. It’s like working a whole year for the client for free technically when you and when the math overall.

Lesson learned, we will not actually use that software again.

Agency stakes are higher than direct customers
Plus, going forward, we’re buying Error and Omissions insurance.

Sunir. One thing a lot of vendors don’t understand is that the stakes are much higher when you are an agency. The agency is guaranteeing results. Errors and Omissions insurance is a reflection of the stakes that agency have. Mistakes are not just quietly eaten. You have to actually pay real dollars when it’s your mistake.

Whereas your direct customer can take a mistake and suffer through it, maybe grumble, but they will eat it.

A proper vendor would try to win you over you make you whole, but sometimes they don’t.

You know, unfortunately, we’re still actually pursuing action against the vendor, albeit they are actually unresponsive.

Who has been the best software partner you’ve had?

Our favorite partner is actually SimilarContent and it’s actually relatively a new software package. What it does is that if I want to actually optimize my home page say our keywords, “a digital marketing agency,” I then actually put “a digital marketing agency” into SimilarContent. It actually compares the top results within Google to actually suggest what exact words I should have on my page as well as what actually chance I have to rank for that specific keyboard.

Used it for themselves first
We tried it on our own business first, so that we can then say to our clients we can actually achieve the results in SEO within three to four weeks versus the industry average of four months.

Better results, faster sells clients
We’ve actually been able to go out to a few clients, actually sell more in-depth and higher quality optimization services so that we can then say, “We can get you better results sooner.”

You can’t promise results with SEO. But saying that we can actually deliver in a faster time frame¬† help to local businesses to beat out national competitors on search. That’s actually quite a game changer.

Sunir. There’s another part of agency life that I think a lot of vendors don’t understand. You’re selling time and expertise to a client who is anxious. Delivering fast is actually a big deal. The faster you can get your results for clients, the much happier they are.

Any advice for software companies reaching out to you to become a partner?

Try before you partner
A vendor can help me by actually first adding value to my business. How I like to actually partner with vendors is that I may actually delve into a free trial or maybe one of their mainstream subscription models before saying let’s actually become an agency partner.

Sunir. The pipeline is quite different for onboarding pranters. It’s a two-step process. First, the software companies have to win you over as an agency. Then, once you have a customer it’s a second pipeline to close an account. After all, you have different needs, like delivering fast. You’re taking on the risk. The technology has to work. You have to understand all of it before you bring the software to a client.