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9 questions to ask when picking a B2B digital marketing agency

Chris Bardsley / 24 June 2020

It’s easy to waste time and money on B2B digital marketing, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing. Perhaps you’ve been let down by an agency in the past that made too many promises and not enough results. Or maybe you’re just looking to hire a digital marketing agency for the first time.

When picking a B2B digital marketing agency to partner with, it’s important to do some research and ask the right questions. You want to pick an agency that not only knows the ins and outs of B2B marketing but also one that’ll help your brand succeed. But with so many different agencies out there, it can seem impossible to choose the best one for your B2B business.

To lend a helping hand, we’ve come up with a list of questions to ask during the vetting process that’ll help you find the best fit. Any good B2B marketing agency should be able to answer these questions with ease!


Is B2B marketing your specialty?

There’s a big difference between agencies that say they do B2B marketing and agencies that only do B2B marketing. A good B2B marketing strategy is nothing like a business-to-consumer (B2C) plan.

Do they have expertise in B2B branding, demand-gen, and lead-gen? How long have they specialised in B2B, and do they have the right skills to accomplish your business’ needs?

An agency doesn’t have to be 100% B2B-focused to be successful. But if B2C is the agency’s top priority, then there’s a chance that less time and attention-to-detail are being spent on their B2B clients and projects. Get specific and find out what these agencies are doing to achieve great results for their B2B clients.


What experience do you have working in my sector?

Don’t be offended if a B2B marketing agency has limited or no experience in your industry, and it certainly shouldn’t be a deal-breaker! After all, most marketing professionals can’t be expected to have extensive knowledge of every single type of business in the world!

It can be a blessing in disguise if they don’t have much knowledge of your business sector, as they can bring a fresh strategic and creative approach to your marketing. BUT! Make sure you ask the agency what steps they’re willing to take to become an expert in your industry.

A good marketing agency will admit to having limited knowledge of your sector but will also request further information and learning resources from you. Honesty is key.


What’s your B2B marketing agency like?

Life’s better when your agency feels like a part of your team. You want big results without having to deal with big egos, right? Working well together is crucial to the success of any business relationship.

Does the marketing agency’s culture fit in well with your business? Do their employees seem happy to be there? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself when doing background research. Engaged and happy employees are more motivated to work harder for their clients.

Ask the agency for a description of their company culture and the specifics of how that culture is manifested to see whether your teams will work well together.


Who will I be working with?

When choosing a B2B digital marketing agency, you want to ask about the staff you’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis. Like we mentioned above, you want to build a lasting relationship that works well for both parties.

Did the directors and managers of the agency build and sell the relationship but pass you over to junior staff once the deal is done? Are B2C marketers masquerading as B2B marketers, or do they have years of experience in the B2B sector? Is the agency full of recent university graduates or seasoned B2B marketing professionals?

When meeting with a digital marketing agency, check to see whether the person you’re speaking with will be running your accounts. If not, find out who is and ask why they’re not involved in the meeting. A good marketing agency introduces and involves your account manager from the beginning.


Do you outsource your work?

Leading on from the last question, it’s also important that your B2B marketing agency is transparent about any outsourced work they provide for you. You have a right to know who is running and managing your account and where your money is being spent. A good agency will give you a named point of contact who will be able to discuss your campaign with you.


How do you keep up to date with industry changes?

If an agency has experienced employees who have worked there for a long time, then that’s great news. But things change very quickly in the world of digital marketing. New tools and software become available, and companies like Google and Facebook are constantly changing their algorithms.

Ask the marketing agency how they keep on top of these fast-paced changes and updates and how much time they devote to training their employees. Finding out if an agency cares about their employee’s professional and learning development shows that they’re committed to delivering top-notch service to their clients.


Do you track analytics and provide reports?

Early in the screening process, ask about analytics and reporting. You want to know what metrics and data you’ll receive and how often you’ll get them. The more transparent the marketing agency is, not only will you be well informed, but you’ll both be successful in working together.

A good marketing agency will share lots of data in the form of regular, detailed, but easy-to-understand reports. Having an open and honest marketing partner, one who is not afraid to share all the data, both good and bad, will help ensure the success of your partnership. Plus, at least you’ll know if your money is being spent well!


How often and what type of communication can I expect?

A lack of communication is one of the main reasons why client-agency partnerships go wrong. When hiring your marketing agency, make sure you ask questions about the communication process.

Will you have access to your own account manager? Or are there primary and secondary point of contacts you need to go through? It all depends on the size of your budget and what needs you have. You might want daily interactions but understand that most agencies will charge extra for this type of regular communication. Or, a weekly or monthly update might suit you just fine.

Whatever your communication needs are, just make sure you find out what the agency can offer beforehand.


What about money?

Everyone has a budget, and it’s no different when it comes to looking for an agency, as it should be one of the first qualifiers when hiring your B2B marketing partner.

Unfortunately, people have a very hard time discussing money. When looking for your marketing agency, make sure they’re honest and open about their service costs from the get-go. Don’t invest in constant phone calls and back-and-forth emails before getting an idea of what they’ll actually cost you.

At the same time, make sure you have a rough idea of what most marketing agencies charge for various services. Some big-name agencies can charge thousands of pounds on their monthly fees and won’t give a second glance to businesses’ that try to negotiate down from that price.


List & Found: your new digital B2B marketing partners

At List & Found, we make it our business to get your business found online. More people, more traffic, and more inquiries equal more sales. We’ll keep you in the loop every step of the way. You get on with running your B2B business while we help it grow.

Sounds good? Then let’s talk.

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