Turning complete strangers to customers is a challenge. It requires a deep understanding of the B2B sales cycle and its complexity. When searching for a B2B marketing agency, make sure to partner with professionals who understand your company needs. This post will help you learn what to look out for.
Is the agency goal oriented?
A proper B2B marketing plan requires evaluation and goal setting. A professional agency will not agree to work with you before setting specific measurable and realistic goals Goals aren’t random – you should have a clear idea on what digital marketing success means to your company. And no, “more leads” isn’t a proper goal. Leads are a means to an end – if they don’t become customers they’re useless to you. You should be able to back up your numbers based on your current efforts and on calculated projections.
Elements to consider:
- What are the overall business goals of your company?
- How long does it currently take you to acquire a new customer?
- How much does it cost you to acquire a new customer?
- What do you do with incoming leads?
- How much do you pay per lead?
- What are the steps in your sales cycle?
- Customer life time value (LTV)
- Current conversion rates from visitors to leads
- Current conversion rates from leads to customers
- What ROI have you seen on your current marketing efforts? What are you currently investing in?
Make sure the agency you work with is goal oriented.
Evaluate and discuss the goals with the agency and verify that they are confident the goals set are reachable.
Is the agency customer centric?
B2B customers, typically become such as a result of a relationship between you and them. They will not do business with a company they don’t trust.
Two main things to consider in this respect:
- You’re not selling to everyone.Your target audience is specific and as such has specific needs and challenges. A professional agency will help you figure out exactly who your audience is by mapping out your buyer personas. Those are semi-fictional representations of your ideal buyer. Having an in-depth understanding of who your ideal customers are will help you tailor your messaging and focus on relevant people, not wasting time on irrelevant prospects.
- Your prospects aren’t ready to buy on the spot.There are three stages to a typical buyer’s journey:
Trying to sell to a prospect who is only at a stage where they have realized they have a problem and have expressed symptoms, would be like asking someone to marry you on a first date – too soon!
Marketing strategies that are marketer-centric, focusing on cold calling and interruptive ads, stand a very low chance of succeeding. Make sure that your agency tailors your marketing strategy around your buyer persona’s buyer’s journey. That way, instead of interrupting, you will be building fruitful relationships.
Is the agency transparent and educative?
You should be clear on what you’re spending your budget on. Make sure to receive monthly reports that are goals oriented. Make sure the strategy is evaluated and adjusted to the ever-changing digital landscape. A professional agency will always bring you up to speed on relevant marketing innovations and strategies that are worth looking into and testing.
Make sure your agency values transparency and is eager to make sure you understand every step of the process. Many times we see clients who have worked with an agency and are confused, not sure what questions to ask or how to measure success. That should be the foundation of any collaboration between you and an agency. What are the KPIs for success and how do you measure progression?
If you are under the impression that your agency is working around the clock for you – that’s great. But if you stutter when you need to explain to a colleague what they’re doing or if you’re not sure how to tell if it’s worth your investment, make sure to cure that ASAP. You’re not hiring an agency to work for the sake of work – you have goals in mind and you need to be able to measure them.
Who are their clients?
B2B is a specialty. Make sure the agency you hire understands the complexity and is experienced in generating clients for other B2B companies. Ask to speak with their current clients and make sure to run this list by them. Their clients should be hands on and educated, as the agency should keep them up to speed.
Drill down and ask about the process these clients went through with the agency:
- What does the client’s business do?
- What challenges did they try to overcome with the agency?
- What was the scope of the agency’s involvement?
- Do they have any evidence that would demonstrate productivity, quality of work and the impact of the engagement?
- How did the agency perform from a project management standpoint?
- What did they find most impressive about the agency?
- Are there any areas the agency could improve?
What does their own marketing look like?
Remember a marketing agency is a B2B company. As such, they should be reflecting their B2B know-how in their own marketing. Are you under the impression that they understand you as their buyer persona? Do they understand your buyer’s journey? Are they customer centric? Are they building trust and creating a relationship with you? If so, those are all good signs. If not, consider it an alert.
What are their qualifications?
Among others, certifications to look out for are:
Summing things up
When looking for a B2B marketing agency, make sure the agency is:
- Goal oriented
- Customer-centric (understand your buyer personas and buyer’s journey)
- Transparent and educative
- Not a barefoot cobbler
If you found this useful, and you’re curious to learn more and find out how to step up your b2b marketing , we invite you to download our B2B marketing practices that every CMO must know eBook.
Schedule a FREE consultation