Five Things to Know About Working with a B2B Marketing Agency

Article by | June 18, 2020 Marketing Strategy

The Article in 60 Seconds

Hiring a B2B marketing agency as a means of accomplishing your goals is a wise move and not a sign of weakness. It’s a power move to surround yourself with those who will push you, to put more smart people in the room, and will drive you forward. Companies that partner with agencies receive five major benefits:

Think About This

  • Salaries for in-house hires are increasing steeply. From [Contently] to [Robert Half
  • 45% of marketing leaders are understaffed in digital areas [Robert Half
  • 96% of marketing leaders believe that the number of skills required to succeed in marketing has increased. [Forrester]
  • 44% of CMOs can’t find the right people with the right skills. [Forrester]

Marketing Your B2B SaaS Organization is No Simple Task

Considering most B2B offerings are technical in nature and require multiple levels of internal buy-in prior to purchase, the onus is on your department to define your champions and ultimate buyers in a modern way with distinct messaging and modes of communication for each one. It’s not as simple as B2C point-click-buy; you will travel a longer, more intricate courtship in the buying cycle

Companies join forces with marketing agencies like Golden Spiral for a number of reasons. We hear at least one of the four following reasons during every sales conversation:

  1. Our company direction has shifted, and we want help determining the strategy and positioning for our future.
  2. We need more horsepower. We have an opportunity to drive forward, but we don’t have the staff.
  3. Our marketing efforts have stalled out and we don’t know why. We need an objective expert to help us get back on track.
  4. We need someone to help us with this handful of tasks. We don’t have expertise here.

Hiring an agency doesn’t mean you aren’t an expert at your work. It’s not a sign of weakness. Hiring an agency is a power move to surround yourself with those who will push you, to put more smart people in the room, and will drive you forward.

Here are Five Benefits to Hiring a B2B Marketing Agency:

1. You Gain the Power of Objective Thinking

When you partner with a B2B marketing agency, you receive an objective view of your marketing activities. Sales and marketing departments spend hours every day:

  • learning about their customer personas
  • identifying buying habits
  • determining effective marketing and sales messages

They have been doing so for years. So, over time, the lexicon at your organization may have become weighed down with abbreviations and acronyms you assume everyone knows and understands the same way you do. Agency professionals offer an outside, objective viewpoint. They see your offering the way your potential buyer does—with fresh eyes and without internal context. An outside voice gives you the freedom to craft energizing strategies, create new or refined messages, and augment your best practices with never-before-tried tactics to reach your market.

The best agencies are not afraid to tell a client when they disagree with certain strategies. Hire the agency that backs up those statements with solid research.

2. Your Account Representative is Your Best Advocate

You are running hard after your goals. You feel the weight of the expectations of the rest of the C-Suite. When you work with a strategic B2B branding and marketing agency like Golden Spiral, you don’t have to feel alone in the pursuit.

When you sign on with an agency, you will be paired with an account director whose personality, knowledge, and expertise dovetails with your company’s. You are hiring the entire agency, but the account director is the bridge between your goals and the agency’s work. Your account director works with your team to determine your marketing goals and help guide the strategy to achieve those goals. In lockstep with you, your account representative will help to determine or refine marketing personas, messaging, visual language, deliverables, and KPIs.  Within the agency, the account director interacts with specialists to be your greatest cheerleader, get the work done, and ensure every deliverable is developed on brand, uses the proper voice, arrives on time, and meets the budget requirements.

The account director handles your billing and seeks to be a good steward of your marketing dollars. They are tasked to find innovative and effective ways to help you improve your marketing and subsequently improve your sales goals.

This symbiosis can’t be attained without candor. Effective and consistent communication is the best tool in your advocate’s toolkit. And it flows both ways. The account director sees with objective eyes when you chase after shiny new objects and don’t stay on task or when you get stuck in the quicksand of corporate red tape. On the other hand, when you provide specific and timely feedback, the work will become even stronger and more effective.  

In a retainer arrangement, it is common for account directors to hold weekly meetings to ensure projects are on track, offer quarterly reviews to go over the past quarter deliverables and results, and give recommendations for the next quarter and beyond. 

If you are working on a project, your account director will keep in regular communication with you and work with you to find ways to leverage the project deliverables within a successful campaign.

Effective and consistent communication is the best tool in your advocate’s toolkit.

3. You Get Access to Special Teams

Modern marketing agencies have specialists in a variety of fields, including developers, designers, SEO specialists, public relations, paid search, content development, email marketing, and more. These teams are skilled in their respective areas and are constantly looking for ways to improve your ROI. Your account director will work with these specialists to brainstorm the best ways to improve your marketing campaigns. As the written terms of your engagement allow, don’t be surprised when another agency expert is added to a task or meeting. Effective agencies want you to win and will deploy their experts whenever possible to give you every advantage.

These teams are skilled in their respective areas and are constantly looking for ways to improve your ROI.

4. You are Always on our Minds

A smart agency knows they are only as good as their recent successes, and they will do everything they can to ensure your goals are met (and exceeded). Your account director will be thinking about your goals, advocating inside the agency on your behalf, and holding the specialists accountable to meet your timeline. Your account director spends hours watching KPIs and looking for new angles to sharpen and improve what you’re trying to accomplish.

Your account director will be thinking about your goals.

5. Pricing Based on Your Deliverables Gives You Better Value

If you’ve ever worked with an agency in the past, many base their agreements on “hours worked” and bill in certain increments (be it half hour or hourly). Many B2B marketing agencies—especially those moving to more digital strategies—have started to look at KPIs and base their pricing on deliverables and results. This pricing structure allows for flexibility as strategies shift to improve performance. If you’ve only paid for services based on the “billable hour,” you may be confused and even skeptical of this move. However, the structure is for your benefit. Everyone works hard to chase after every tactic and deliverable without worrying about a cap on hours. You can push for what you’ve outlined in your written agreement without worrying about mystery fees or overtime. 

When everyone works hard to yield results, everyone wins—your company and our agency.

At the end of the day, you are investing in marketing because you want to improve your bottom line and grow your B2B SaaS customer base.  No matter what the scope, your department can find an objective and trusted ally with a skilled team of advisors and craftspeople working in concert to help achieve your marketing goals.

The First Thing to Do After Reading This Article

You’ve read this far in this article because you have an acute need or a burning curiosity about hiring an agency. Grab your favorite note-taking app or, *gasp*, your Moleskine journal, and make a list of the questions you have about hiring an agency. Then, schedule a no-obligation strategic consultation with Golden Spiral. We can answer your questions and help you navigate the agency waters no matter what agency you hire or when you make that move.

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