How to Choose the Perfect B2B Digital Marketing Agency
Looking to take on a new digital agency? Learn here how to choose the perfect B2B marketing agency for your business, including important questions to ask.
Published: 04 Aug 2015
5 minutes read
Any business operating in the B2B space will have realised the need for an effective digital marketing strategy. However, lack of employees, expertise and time can make marketing in-house unfeasible in some circumstances. It’s therefore no surprise that many B2B businesses choose to outsource their marketing to an agency.
The process of choosing a B2B digital marketing agency can be overwhelming, with thousands of competing agencies touting themselves as the best of the bunch. It’s important to choose an agency that is the best fit for your specific company and is aligned with your business goals, existing marketing strategy and budget. Although this process can be time consuming, picking the wrong agency can have a disastrous impact on your company’s finances and reputation. By reading the rest of this post, you will better informed on choosing the most suitable agency for you.
Are you planning to completely outsource or co-manage your marketing?
Before you begin even thinking about comparing agencies, you need to decide whether you want to completely pass over all of your digital marketing duties to an agency, or just enlist agency help with a specific campaign or to support your existing marketing team.
If you’re planning to only partly outsource, then your chosen B2B digital marketing agency needs to be highly organised. As your marketing team and the agency will be collaborating together on projects, an agency needs to accommodate your schedule and time commitments. Cohesion and an understanding of your company’s marketing and brand voice is even more essential to ensure consistency across all marketing activity.
To assess an agency’s capability for collaborative working, you should ask the following questions:
- Can you provide relevant case studies and content examples?
- How will you delegate projects with my team?
- What measures will your agency take to get to grips with my business?
- How much time is required on our side?
Choose one with niche industry experience
We’ve come to realise that every business varies considerably and so do their requirements. An agency with an in-depth understanding and experience working within your niche industry will be able to deliver better results than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ agency.
For example, the majority of our clients are B2B tech companies that offer complex IT solutions. To effectively market these types of businesses, an agency needs to fully understand the technology behind the company and translate this into a format that is easily understood by prospects. Agencies also need to appreciate the nature of their prospects, as they generally need nurturing before they are ready to buy, leading to a considerably longer sales cycle.
Considering these unique complexities and challenges, it makes sense to employ an agency that specialises in your industry. This is because less time will be required to educate your agency on how your software works and how your buyers behave.
Can they cater to your other commitments?
To reap the benefits of an agency, you will need to dedicate time. Think carefully, do you have time to review content, approve activity and partake in meetings and catch-ups? Be realistic – how much time can you afford to spend with your agency?
While some will only require a few hours a month from you, other agencies may need to spend more time, depending on the size and scale of your marketing activity.
Although this is a personal choice, some businesses may also wish to let their agency take free rein without overseeing the work they are doing. However, if you choose this approach, it is essential that you feel comfortable with your agency’s ability to deliver results and maintain your brand image.
Does the agency have substance?
With quirky names, industry jargon, fancy graphics and sales pitches, it can be easy to be blinded by the aesthetics. Looking behind the glossy exterior, does the agency have substance? Can an agency supply you with detailed case studies from relevant companies that showcase proven results? If they can’t, it’s time to step away.
Can they write well?
The quality of your agency’s writing is essential, with content being the driving force behind a digital marketing strategy. Although an agency will have their own unique style and tone of voice, you need proof that they are capable of writing for your business and your audience. Ask for examples of their content marketing to get a better idea of how they adapt content for individual businesses. If their client work all seems to be very similar and is written with the same style, chances are, they will struggle to present your unique voice.
How does the agency measure results?
Lead generation should be the main focus of a digital marketing strategy and 68% of B2B professionals agree, citing the generation of high quality leads as their top priority. Agencies that can only provide you with vanity metrics such as social media shares do little to help you evaluate the success of marketing activity.
Your chosen B2B digital marketing agency should be able to tell you how many leads were generated in a certain time frame and equate leads won to specific marketing activity.
This is why we use marketing software HubSpot. The platform enables us to track the source of new contacts and leads such as social media referrals and organic search. We are then able to see the journey a prospect takes on our site and assets they download on their way to becoming a lead.
Choose an inbound marketing agency
B2B Inbound marketing has been proven time and time again to be the best approach for generating high quality and cost effective leads, costing an average 60% less per lead than traditional marketing.
Unlike B2C, a B2B prospect needs to be nurtured with educational content that solves their problems before they are ready to buy. Inbound marketing works by letting prospects find you and offering content relevant to their stage in the buyer’s journey, nurturing them into becoming a lead and eventually a customer.