The unfortunate reality is that trying to choose the right B2B marketing agency is like choosing the right spouse—ad after only one date. Not to worry. As long as you have a clear idea of your organization’s goals, finding the right partnership isn’t an insurmountable task. Here’s What you should be looking for when considering partnering with a new BTB firm.
They should be committed
And in the world of marketing, this cuts both ways. You should think in the long term; don’t hire a B2B company as a one-off, or on a temporary basis. You want to grow your business. That will require committing to a long-term partnership. This goes for your potential B2B operation as well: you want them to be committed to growing your business with you.
They should focus solely on B2B marketing
There are many agencies out there that bill themselves as B2B/B2C specialists, but that’s not necessarily what you want. A solid B2B company will help your business in many ways that a B2C-only marketing company cannot. These include:
- analyzing your sales funnel and boosting efficiency
- developing lead-generation strategies
- using measurable activities to boost sales
- generating product awareness
To be honest, most B2C-centric companies won’t be able to help you with the above strategies. However, a good B2B company will specialize in all of the above—and help with branding efforts should you require it.
They should deal with you directly
That means no going through intermediaries, or only dealing with sales reps. This is often the case with larger advertising firms, and it can be a headache. There’s something to be said for a personal connection, even in this day and age of digital engagement. The agency you work with will ideally have a non-hierarchal approach, with more than one point of contact.
After all, you want it to be a team effort, and that means you should have access to everyone on the team.
Their sales enablement initiatives should be top notch
You can tell a lot about an agency by how their reps approach closing sales. A solid agency will ensure every sales rep has the requisite skills and asset access to maximize every interaction with buyers. They will value sales and marketing alignment with a view to tearing down communication barriers and eliminating silos.
In this manner their marketing and sales teams should strive to reach the same goal—generating business growth. They’ll be in constant communication with prospects and customers every day. Only then can they generate the best leads for your business.
Your B2B agency will also understand the customer. They’ll utilize all tools at their disposal, be it buyer personas, customer research, content maps, etc. They’ll understand the decision criteria, and they should absolutely understand the pain points and barriers that prevent conversion.
They’ll also have experience creating sales portals. These should include myriad assets such as:
- ROI calculators
- industry intelligence
- interactive product tools
- key messaging
- product advantages
- quote generators
It’s a good sign whenever you come across an agency that thinks in these terms. It means they’re thinking about the entire sales journey as it concerns their marketing plans for you.
They should get you involved
Your B2B operation should be pressing you to keep up with your social media presence. Of course, they’ll handle the social campaigns. However, it’s good for you, as a business owner, to maintain a presence, read the testimonials, and engage with customers. It might just help you to realize your target audience and segment them accordingly.
They should propose a solid multi-channel strategy
A good B2B operation is going to be a jack of many trades—and a master of all of them. If your agency isn’t developing a solid multi-channel strategy, then it’s a red flag.
The best operations know that there are certain ways to reach 100% of your buyers. However, these customers’ buying needs and communications paradigms change with the times and the technology. Once desktop reigned supreme; now it’s mobile. So the solution involves developing a cohesive marketing plan across multiple platforms.
In other words, you want your B2B agency to maximize your marketing dollars by delivering a seamless customer experience across a wide variety of touchpoints.
They should be as focused on ROI as you are
In a world of hard returns on investment, there’s no room for guess-work and generalizations. Your B2B company should deal in measurable results. The campaigns they create with you should have a clear strategy, backed up by hard research, to increase sales.
Whether its digital vehicles, multi-channel marketing, content strategies, email campaigns, or sales enablement, the tools your B2B partners recommend should have a built-in ability to measure results. The firm should live and breathe analytics—tracking all channels over the life of every campaign. They should look at every performance indicator and provide you with a dashboard overview of total engagement.
They shouldn’t be afraid of timelines
After the B2B company in question has reassured you that they will be scrutinizing every last KPI, it’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is. Specifically, you’ll want a timeline in which to see results. A solid B2B agency will execute an in-market campaign quickly. And whether that’s 30 or 60 days, they should be able to provide you with actionable data within three months.
And after six months, they better be sure to have a solid lead-nurturing funnel in place providing a constant stream of increased sales and qualified leads.
After all is said and done, it boils down to dedication. Is your B2B agency as dedicated to your success as you are? If not, it’s time to cut ties.
Let us know what questions you have about working with a B2B agency.