How working with agencies supports your business

By Luke Sisely, Senior Business Intelligence Analyst, CSL

Working with agencies can support your business and generate growth in 2023

2023 and the big squeeze

As we have previously covered in a recent news article, 2023 looks like it will be a tough year for pharma, particularly for businesses and divisions based in the UK. It is likely that budgets are going to be squeezed, with few teams being insulated from adverse economic effects.

However, the turbulence of 2023 will also present opportunities for those who are able to adapt to the economic disruption – and agencies will play a key role in supporting successful businesses through 2023 and beyond.

In this article, we present 4 reasons how working with agencies such as CSL in 2023 could lead you to growth, along with 3 tips to help you maximise your ROI for agency projects.

Why use agencies in 2023?

Cost savings

Rule of thumb holds that the true cost of an employee is roughly 1.7 times the basic salary for the role being filled. On top of these employee overheads, you must also consider the time factor – time needed to screen applicants, interview, complete notice periods, and the time to get the new staff up to speed. Not only do all of these tasks have an associated cost, but there is also an opportunity cost, since you are not able to proceed with the required project or function.

In many cases, it is more cost-effective for a business to work with an agency rather than hiring full-time staff. This can be particularly true for small businesses that may not have the budget to hire and train a full-time team. With an agency, you have access to FTE at an agreed rate, without any of the associated costs or liabilities.

Flexibility and scalability

Expect flexibility to be the industry buzzword of 2023. Not only will the industry have to be flexible to adapt to the changing economic, technological, and political realities in 2023, but as budgets tighten and recruitment slows, teams will be required to be more flexible to fulfil additional functions.

Agencies are a short-cut to increased flexibility and lean, outcome-focused working. Collaborating with an agency provides your business with the flexibility to scale up or down its projects or functions as needed, rather than having to hire and manage a full-time in-house team.

Agencies are a short-cut to increased flexibility and lean, outcome-focused working. They provide the flexibility to scale up or down on projects or functions as needed.

Access to specialised expertise

While investment and budgets may be getting tighter, the integration of specialised knowledge, systems and tools will continue to drive success for winning pharma companies.

Agencies often have specialised expertise in a particular area, such as marketing, sales, or business intelligence. Working with an agency can give a business access to this expertise, which can be particularly useful if the business does not have in-house staff with the relevant skills or cannot afford to build a team.

If you want to see how CSL has used our specialists to generate growth for our clients, please check out our case studies.

Fresh perspective

Tunnel vision refers to the tendency to focus excessively on a single goal or objective to the exclusion of other considerations. The result is that decisions are made with a limited perspective, sacrificing innovation and long-term effectiveness for a short-term objective.

Working with an agency can combat tunnel vision and challenge focus by bringing a fresh perspective to a business’s existing projects or strategy. Agencies work with a variety of clients, meaning that they typically have a broader knowledge base, and can therefore leverage that to bring new ideas and approaches to the table.

How to maximise your ROI for agency collaboration

Define scope, expectations, and roles

It is important to clearly define the scope of work and set clear expectations with the agency to ensure that both parties are on the same page. This should include the specific deliverables, deadlines, and budget for the project. It is common for requirements to evolve as additional, typically senior, stakeholders become involved – but this should be addressed openly and as soon as possible.

Aside from project specifics, make sure to establish clear lines of responsibility and decision-making authority to avoid confusion and ensure that the project runs smoothly. Depending on the approach used, it can also be helpful to have an internal owner for the agency project, who can drive forward internal actions and collect internal stakeholder input.

Communication is key

Good communication is key to a successful working relationship with an agency. Make sure to communicate clearly and regularly with the agency to ensure that they understand your needs and goals, and to address any issues or concerns that may arise. Regular check-in calls can be used to give quick status updates and maintain oversight and alignment. Building a strong working relationship with the agency will help to ensure that the project is successful.

Be open to new ideas

Agencies bring a fresh perspective and can offer new ideas and approaches that may not have been considered by the business. It is important to be open to these ideas and to consider them carefully, as they may bring valuable insights and help to achieve desired outcomes.

For insights or strategic projects, it can be helpful to share any hypotheses or assumptions with the agency, so that these can be rigorously tested as part of the project. Remember that the agency is not there to simply confirm pre-existing assumptions, but to provide valuable insights and support to your business. It is just as valuable to have an assumption highlighted as incorrect as it is to have one shown to be valid.

To find out more about working with CSL and how we can help your business, contact us at or call 01483 528302


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