Unfortunately, there is no eHarmony-type website that pairs your business with a B2B marketing or demand generation agency through a match-making quiz. (If you know of one, let me know in the comments!)
So how do you find your match? Leave the quizzes to the dating apps and do some good old-fashioned research.
Aside from assessing your goals and criteria, start your research by asking colleagues and friends for recommendations. Word of mouth, at the very least, will help you narrow down some options. You can also check out review sites like G2 Crowd, which just recently started offering user reviews of services and agencies—kind of like Yelp. G2 Crowd compares services based on user ratings and social data.
Of course, you have to know what makes a great B2B agency. Here’s a breakdown of seven attributes to look for:
Expertise Should Match Your Goals
“Every company also has specific challenges or holes in their strategies,” said Alicia Esposito, Content Strategist at Content2Demand, a B2B firm specializing in e-media & custom content solutions. “As you research agencies, ensure the one you partner with provides exactly what you're looking for; not just a short-term solution. You may sign with them and find they aren't equipped to provide exactly what you want, which ends up being a headache for everyone.”
Has A Blend Of Strategy And Execution
“This is a must,” said Jon Russo, Founder of B2B Fusion Group, a marketing performance firm. “Having one without the other is like a bicycle wheel missing spokes, the performance will be uneven.”
Is Up To Date On The Latest Trends & Best Practices
“You want an agency to be able to bring some unique marketing knowledge and insights to the table,” said Esposito. “Having some proprietary or trend data is great, but sharing real-life examples and success stories is really valuable -- especially if you're thinking about experimenting with a new amplification channel or content format.”
A True Mentor
“Sometimes, companies simply want agencies to be order takers—to write a white paper, design an infographic or craft some social copy,” said Esposito. “But a great agency will not only adhere to your wants, needs and unique brand requirements; they'll push you to improve and move beyond what you're comfortable doing. This could be a big project, such as testing a new, interactive format; or it could mean testing some new messaging for your Twitter posts to see how your audience responds.”
Has A CMO Point Of View
“[Having a] “trusted advisor” with a CMO viewpoint will help distil more quickly what is critical business wise versus being whipsawed by technology,” said Russo.
“This needs to be a key parameter for the agencies you partner with,” said Esposito. “[The agency] needs to be able to distil all of the key value propositions and competitive differentiators and align them to target buyer needs and pain points. Most of all, they need to understand this audience enough so they can craft a compelling story or narrative for the content or campaign you're developing.”
BONUS POINTS: Industry Knowledge
“This depends on the size and complexity of a project, but there will be times where having an agency partner with expertise in a specific industry or has writers with this expertise, is extremely valuable,” said Esposito. “All good agencies incorporate subject-matter expert interviews into their process, but sometimes, having in-depth knowledge makes the journey a lot easier for everyone.”
Has your company found their ideal agency match? Tell us about it in the comments section!
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