Uncover the secrets to successfully identifying the right agency partner to help your organization connect with your ideal clientele
Although over a mere quarter of B2B businesses allocate only 5% of their total budget to marketing, 44% of those businesses in the U.S. outsource their marketing efforts to external sources like freelance writers or agency teams. [1,2]
As a B2B company, outsourcing your marketing activities can be extremely beneficial in saving you time, money, and energy that can be further invested into what you do best—running and growing your business.
If you’re ready to partner with a team of professionals, join us to learn what to look for in a B2B marketing agency to find the perfect partner for your business.
Experience with marketing in your field.
While on your quest to find the right B2B marketing agency, identifying ones with prior experience in your field should be part of your wish list.
Especially at the start of your partnership, working with an agency that understands the most common strengths and challenges of your industry can be valuable. It provides the potential to reduce the initial learning curve and speed up the rate at which your marketing initiatives can be launched.
If industry experience isn’t important to you, it’s undoubtedly beneficial to work with an agency that touts supporting B2B companies as one of their strengths. Although core marketing principles apply to any and all types of businesses, there are unique marketing tactics that can catapult B2B organizations to success in different ways than business-to-consumer (B2C).
With a longer sales cycle and six to ten decision makers in a B2B transaction on average, B2B businesses need a marketing partner that understands their target audience is more analytical and focused on adding value than the average consumer. 
Due to your longer sales cycle, the right marketing partner should also understand that you have greater opportunity to share pertinent information and build long-lasting relationships with prospects than most businesses.
The right agency partner will be able to create content and craft your online presence to support your sales team in nurturing relationships that are more valuable to you than a constant generation of new, short-lived leads.
Offer all the B2B marketing services you need.
Once you’ve set your sights on agencies that are backed by the right experience, ensure that each one you’re considering offers all the services you need to further narrow down your list.
Ask yourself or consult with your team about what marketing services you need now as well as ones you may need in the future to ensure you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding another agency later.
Some of the most common B2B marketing services you may want to consider looking for include:
- Website design, content creation, and development
- Case studies
- Digital video production
- Professional photography
- Graphic design
- Business consultancy
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media management
- PPC marketing/Google Ads
- Email marketing
- Reputation management
- Content marketing
Provide a tailored digital marketing strategy for each client.
Your business is unique. You have competitors that sell the same services or products as you, but none of them offer the same value propositions to your target audience.
When it comes to your marketing efforts, they should reflect this individuality, and not come from an agency who utilizes a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. Find an agency partner that commits to taking extra time to provide a tailored strategy for each of their clients instead of trying to fit your business into a marketing plan designed for someone else.
While it’s important that they learn from experiences with past clients, agencies should not be recycling the same content or leveraging identical combinations of marketing tactics to advertise your business.
Once you’re a client, the agency you choose should be spending time learning all about your business and its unique goals — whether you want to attract more customers, increase sales, emerge victorious over competitors (or all of the above). That way, they can provide you with the right tools to maximize every opportunity and get the results you want.
Guarantee transparent and clear communication methods.
As with any business ally, transparent and clear communication is key to a successful marketing agency partnership.
As you’re sorting through agencies, identify ones that guarantee transparency in their processes and ask for the same from their clients. If you want your marketing partner to most effectively support you, you need to be transparent with them about where your business stands, so they can help you get to where you want to go. If you build a relationship with mutual honesty, it’ll be the most successful for each party involved.
Transparency should also come with a promise of clear communication methods. Communication is essential in a partnership with an agency because they need information from you to do their job and you need to ensure the deliverables are published to align with your business.
During agency interviews, ask the teams questions about how they communicate with their clients like:
- Do they primarily utilize email, phone calls, or instant messaging?
- How frequently do they meet with clients?
- Are the meetings flexible for video calls and in-person visits?
No matter the feedback, ensure they offer a clear response and remove any potential partners that hesitate to answer the question or use a method that does not align with your preferences from the list.
Set clear expectations.
It’s important to set goals with clear expectations when you start working with a marketing partner. Marketing often requires trial and error, and certain efforts (like SEO, for example) can be a long game that take months or even a year to see results.
For long term projects, you can ask about smaller deliverables in between to ensure you understand where the project stands and eliminate any questions of what’s going on behind the scenes.
If you set your expectations upfront about timelines and return on investment (ROI), you’ll end up with a more harmonious relationship and an understanding that leads you to feel confident in your new business partner.
Command a positive online presence.
With 92% of B2B buyers more likely to commit to working with your company if they have read a trusted online review, you understand the importance of a strong online presence.  Just like your target audience, you should scrutinize the digital presence of potential B2B marketing agencies that you’re interested in teaming up with.
Scour your potential business partner’s website pages, read Google and other testimonial site reviews, scroll through their social media channels, and subscribe to their email blasts to see the kind of content they’re sharing.
If you’re interested in rendering a specific service like website design or online reputation management, the agency you work with should be doing that same service for their business. If they aren’t creating a strong online presence for themselves, how could they be crafting positive ones for their clients?
Supply a strong portfolio or case studies.
While you’re scouring the internet for potential agencies, be sure to check out ones that supply a robust portfolio of past projects or insightful client case studies.
As you look through agency portfolios, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this the type of work I’m looking for?
- Do I like the content they’ve created here?
- Does this visual style appeal to me?
As you read agency case studies, ask yourself these questions:
- Does this piece elevate the client over the agency’s own successes?
- Are these the types of wins I want for my business?
- Does this piece include client testimonials or quotes?
- Does this piece include metrics of tangible ways they’ve helped their clients?
- I’m interested in case studies for my B2B business, would I like a story like this for my clients?
If these questions are answered in a satisfactory way, it’s a good signal that this B2B marketing agency just might be the right fit for you.
Detail the required level of client involvement.
Before partnering with a B2B marketing agency, determine the level of involvement you want in your company’s marketing efforts.
Maybe you’re a marketing manager in need of some outsourced support, but you still want a high-level of involvement in the marketing efforts of your company. Perhaps you’re a CEO of a small business that needs to focus all of your efforts on growth, so you want an extremely low-level of involvement. You also might fall somewhere in between the two extremes with an interest in providing your feedback, but without the time — or marketing prowess — to be highly hands-on.
Regardless of your unique situation, ensure that the agencies you interview detail the level of client involvement they require in projects.
For most agencies regardless of your business or job role, there will be some level of involvement required. They’re the marketing experts, but you’re the expert on your business. They will never know more about your business than you, so they’ll likely want to meet to exchange ideas and come to mutual agreements about your marketing efforts, just like in any true partnership.
The longer you work with an agency, the less they’ll need from you because they’ll learn more and more about your business over time.
Align with your mission, vision, and values.
Most businesses find it beneficial to outsource any type of service with a partner that aligns with their mission, vision, and values.
By working with companies that have clearly defined values, you can ensure that the people you’re working with are like-minded. Although different perspectives are always beneficial, being value-aligned is important for an effort as substantial as marketing that takes up both your time and money.
When working with a marketing agency, there will be important decisions that need to be made. If you work with people that operate from the same values, those decisions will be much more productive and successful in the end.
Most B2B agencies will publish their mission, vision, and values on their website, perhaps even sharing them on social media, so check out those channels as you’re searching for an agency.
If you can’t seem to find these statements online, you can also ask about them during the interview process. If you do find them online, consider asking potential agencies why they chose those values and how they work to achieve their mission and vision.
While it is possible to work with a partner that’s not value-aligned, it will likely flame out quickly. By working with those that share similar core principles, you’ll set yourself up for success and avoid having to try a different agency or two before finding the right one.
Help you develop or refresh existing branding and messaging.
If you’re a new business that needs to develop a brand or an existing one in need of an update, consider working with a B2B branding and marketing agency.
Many agencies nowadays offer more than just marketing services, and working with one that also calls themselves a B2B branding agency can be extremely beneficial. If they are a full-service agency that offers everything you need such as branding, marketing, and website design, for example, they’ll have a full understanding of each of those elements and how they support one another to better help you reach your business goals.
If you recently revamped or feel very committed to your existing branding, ensure that the agency you work with will be dedicated to following those guidelines. This is important because branding is more than just visual; it also encompasses brand messaging, which is the way you communicate your value proposition to your target audience.
Marketing requires immense communication, so it all needs to stem from the same brand messaging to accurately convey who you are to your target audience. It will ensure you’re capturing your ideal customers as efficiently and effectively as possible rather than attracting random consumers.
Commit to working with you as a true business partner.
The single most important way to find the best B2B marketing agency for your business is to choose a firm that’s committed to working with you as a genuine partner and extension of your team.
There are many agencies out there who will design a simple template website or offer SEO services paired with monthly reports, but they will not be the authentic marketing partner that your business needs.
During your search, consider adding agencies to your short list whose team you enjoy talking to and that explicitly state they commit to real partnerships with clients. Will they consult or advise you on your sales, public relations, and other business efforts? Are they just your marketing people or do they claim to want to be a part of your team even though they aren’t on the payroll?
Work with one of the top B2B marketing agencies!
With a service as essential as marketing, it’s important to thoroughly consider all your options for an agency partner before signing on the dotted line.
Although it can take time to find an agency that truly checks all the boxes, the investment is worth it in the long run when you’re met with stronger leads, better website traffic, and sales support.
Be sure to interview your top few agency picks in-person or via video call, and don’t hesitate to get all your questions answered before committing to a partnership.
Ready to get a different perspective on your marketing?
With nearly two decades of experience, our team at Different Perspective commits to taking care of each client’s business as if it is our own.
From healthcare and legal to real estate and technology, our B2B clients range from unique local businesses to established national companies, all with one common trait: a drive and an enthusiasm that matches our own.
After establishing a firm foundation for our partnership through detailed research and genuine conversation, our goal is to deliver incredible work, save you time, enhance your team’s efforts, offer sound advice, and help you grow your business.
Contact our team today to get started.