A business owner shouldn’t consider themselves at fault if they find themselves without the knowledge or time to implement an effective marketing strategy on their own. Even after a plan is developed, it takes confident execution and patient monitoring to see the desired results. Managing the day-to-day operations of the business is probably doing a fine job consuming all your valuable time, which makes an outside agency the most efficient and cost-effective way to handle your B2B company’s marketing.
But, you shouldn’t just settle for the first name you come across, sight unseen. B2B companies present unique marketing challenges: complex products/services, longer sales cycles, and higher stakes. This means that while most marketing agencies will be quick to say they’re ready to be your partner, a little legwork will show that’s not always the case. Trust us when we say that spending adequate time in the beginning to make an informed choice will save you headaches down the road.
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect agency partner, get started with the tips below:
1.) Establish your marketing goals
When choosing a marketing agency for your B2B company, you must first determine what you want to achieve through the partnership. Do you want to increase awareness of a specialized service? Are you looking to convert more leads? Perhaps a better search engine ranking is the top priority?
Consider the primary reasons you are enlisting help from a marketing agency. Then, as you meet with prospective partners, you can ask direct questions about their role in accomplishing those goals. Be sure to find out how they measure their success and whether you’ll be receiving a report with these data points. This will give you both a yardstick to evaluate the impact of a particular initiative.
2.) Seek out experience in your industry
There is still no substitute for relevant experience. How long has the agency been in business? What types of clients fill their roster? What are they promoting through web and social media content? Particular specialties will become apparent, and you should seek out a partner with a history of work relevant to your field. A manufacturer looking to launch a digital marketing campaign probably won’t find a good fit with an agency that primarily works in D2C eCommerce. Conversely, a business with current or past clients within your industry is far more likely to come to the table with data-driven insights and a strong grasp of what makes for compelling content.
3.) Review the agency’s online presence
An agency’s website and social media channels reveal the quality of their written content, branding and graphic design. If the company’s own marketing efforts are professional and engaging, it’s safe to assume they are capable of doing the same for your business.
When a marketing agency practices what they preach and can explain in detail their path to cultivating and sustaining success, it’s proof the services they’re selling have worked in the past and can likely work for you.
4.) Find out what customers are saying
Read through reviews and ask for references. No one is better suited to give you the “skinny” than customers who’ve already worked with the agency you are considering. Hearing from them gives you insight into all the little things that wouldn’t be mentioned during a partnership pitch. What do customers say the agency does well? Are there pain points experienced repeatedly? Is communication an agency strength or a blind spot?
Also, look online for case studies to better understand a company’s approach to B2B marketing. Campaign results for businesses like yours can give you a good idea of what you can expect.
5.) Look for a cultural fit
The right marketing team should feel like an extension of your organization, melding their skillsets seamlessly with those of your own team. Ask yourself if the potential partner is compatible with you and your employees. Are meetings challenging or awkward? Hiring a marketing partner is less like investing in a service and more like hiring a candidate for an internal role. Chemistry is an invaluable component of the relationship, especially if the partnership will be long-term.
Put Our Tips to the Test
While we’re confident our experience will help you navigate the modern B2B buying journey, we’ll never claim to be the right fit if that’s not actually the case. We’re always happy to refer prospective clients to other marketing professionals if their specific needs can be better met elsewhere. Start the conversation today.