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Mathew Slavica28/02/2021 4:02:00 PM

How to Choose a (B2B) Business to Business Marketing Agency

Everything you need to know about selecting a business to business marketing agency: In 2022 if you are not thinking, digital is the way to pursue new leads, conversations, and sales, then this assessment is not for you. But if you know this is the only path forward please read on.

A business marketing strategy that does not include digital is no longer a B2B marketing strategy.

At Digital Stand, we have been doing b2b marketing since 2013. We can boast of some of the leading global services companies as clients. This includes a global brand like Forrester, who has been advising clients globally on technology since 1983. So they know how to choose a B2B agency.

There are 5 areas you must analyse and consider when choosing the right B2B marketing agency.

They are experience, capability, knowledge, technology, results.

If we break each of these areas down and align them with the typical sales process of a business to business sales model, this will make more sense.

Business to Business Marketing Experience.

From a b2b perspective, your company has specific market characteristics. As an example, you are based in particular locations. You might be in Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane. Or you may be global with a focus on the US, UK, and the Asia Pacific.

Your ability to service clients might be fixed based on locations, or global depending on your offering.

Consequently, it would help if you chose an agency that understands the characteristics of each market. They will work with you to build out a marketing plan that accounts for this.

Now we are a purely social and inbound digital agency, so the methods by which we drive new leads and engagement are of course digital. But it is 2022!

So having said that as marketer or business leader, you want to know how you can reach your ideal target persona in different markets.

You might be pursuing leads in Australia, Japan or the US.

  • If we take Australia as a model and ask the question, how do we find leads here?
  • What platforms are should we use?
  • Given the nature of the typical b2b sales cycle, what is the best way to engage new leads?
  • Once we have gained their initial interest, how do we take them from curiosity to a qualified marketing lead, to a sales qualified lead, and then to a deal?
  • What is the best way to nurture these leads?

COVID has presented all B2B businesses with considerable challenges when it comes to a typical sales process.

Having just face to face meetings are a thing of the past to a great extent. Especially when it comes to calling on new clients, so we must be strategic with our marketing.

So this flow must use digital in terms of outreach, and some form of digital automation and inbound marketing to nurture these leads.

  • Who is your target persona?
  • What platforms do they use?
  • Where are they paying attention?
  • What are their pain points?
  • And what problem are we solving?
  • Do they know our brand at all?
  • Or will it be new to them?

Let's break down each of those questions a little further.

What platforms do they use? From a B2B perspective, they are very likely to be using LinkedIn. But that may not be the right choice in acquiring leads? It is also a narrow and high risk, low return strategy.

Let me explain, your target audience in Australia will be on these platforms:

  1. LinkedIn - With 12.1 million working Australians, there are in excess of 10 million on LinkedIn
  2. Facebook - There is approximately 16+ million Australians on Facebook, more than 60% of our population
  3. Instagram - 8 million Australians on Instagram
  4. YouTube - As early back as 2017 there were 14.7 million Australians on YouTube
  5. And of course, Google accounts for 95% of all Australian searches online.

They can discover you organically or through paid advertising on every one of these platforms.

Just because I am a marketing manager, sales director, CFO, or CEO and on Facebook, or Instagram does not mean my business issue has gone away. It just means I am on a different platform.

If I am searching for a product or service to solve my problem, I don't mind where I discover it, just as long as I do.

When it comes to lead acquisition, your target persona will respond to your offering regardless of the channel or social media platform they are on.

The only difference is the way this offer is presented. You may use a different media format to present the offer. While the branding will remain in place, the dynamic nature of the offer would change based on the capabilities of the platform.

Business Marketing Capability

Now the best way to describe this is the technical know-how. You are breaking down your unique value proposition into an offer that grabs the interest of your target audience. And uses marketing activities that align with your business.

It is also the ability to present this offer to the right target audience at the right time. We have targeted some of the smallest niches in the world, to broad markets.

Your ability to target when it comes to digital marketing is paramount to success. In fact, this is fundamentally an essential aspect of digital and social media marketing.

This is where a lot of brands fail. Your offering could be compelling, but if your target market does not see it, well?

It is better to present an average offer to a well-targeted audience. Because from there you can improve your offering by using data as your guide.

But if you have a great offer poorly targeted, you don't know why it is not working. You may think the offer is not working without real data, and it will affect you in the short term and the long term.

Have no doubt digital is a science, and data is everything when it comes to proving in the above.

But once your audience is found, you can talk to them on any digital channel they use. They are allowing you to nurture them and provide value along the way.

Today's B2B buyer is more informed than any buyer in the history of the world. In fact, by the time you engage them, they have consumed your content, your competitors' content, and the best practices in their industry.

They are focused on their position in the market, and how they can improve this position.

They have goals that do not go away despite external factors, and your offering must stand out, and help them solve this problem. Your lead generation activities must help them find clients with the problem they can solve.

B2B Knowledge

B2B sales experience helps an agency align its marketing services to your business objectives.

Depending on the type of pursuit, the complexity of the sale, and the size of your typical deal. You will need to account for this in terms of content marketing.

Let's take a typically large deal and explore this point further.

Any large deal in the Telecommunications, SaaS, or the services sector will have multiple stakeholders.

This can be referred to as inner and outer circles of influence (derived from the TAS model = Target Account Selling).

What this will mean is that you will have a key contact you need to engage with initially. They are likely to be the decision-maker or the influencer to the decision-maker, and it could be along the following lines.

  • CIO - Influencer
  • CXO - Line of Business - Decision Maker
  • CFO - Influencer
  • CPO - Influencer
  • CEO - Decision Maker or Approver
  • CMO - Decision Maker

Now given the above roles, the department that the decision affects the most is likely the decision-maker. Depending on the size of the deal, the CEO may or may not be involved. They could be the ultimate decision-maker, or not just provide the rubber stamp.

A good B2B salesperson needs to assess who that is. And in 2021 there are now tools that will assist the salesperson in determining the circles of influence.

Having the knowledge and digital capability to target each of these roles with similar but different positions, enhances the salesperson's chance of success.

Let me provide an example.

A digital advertising campaign that offers the CFO a white paper on why X CRM is the most cost-effective solution would be a good idea.

And having a free trial of the X CRM software targeting the line of business managers in parallel would make sense.

As would cases studies of how the sales cycle is shortened by using X CRM targeting the Sales Director.

Being strategic and deal aligned when it comes to digital targeting is not only intelligent; it can be the determining factor for success.

Any B2B agency must understand this at the beginning. You cannot explain deal cycles of this complexity to an agency that has never experienced carrying a bag and worked complex deals.

There is a level of understanding that can only be acquired through knowledge and execution. Providing marketing consulting that aligns with your goals.

Marketing Technology

Paramount to the execution of the above are the technology and digital capabilities of the organisation. These capabilities must align with the agency you partner with.

There is little to no doubt in 2021 you need to have some form of marketing automation in place. Coupled and partnered with sales automation.

From the awareness to the consideration stage of the buyer's journey, you do not want to miss a moment of influence.

You do not want to miss following up at the right time, or for that matter to follow up.

Whether you use HubSpot, Marketo, or Salesforce, these platforms need to optimised and designed in such a manner that engagement at scale is a practical option.

In essence, you want well-qualified leads and profitable sales.

Marketing and Sales Results

A B2B marketing agency is no different than a quota-carrying sales team.

Every month the individual and the team have a quota of sales, a pipeline to manage, and a list of opportunities that need to be well-vetted.

Any agency working alongside the marketing and sales team within a business must be aligning capability and resources against these KPIs.

  • How many new leads have the agency brought into the business?
  • How many of these leads have become marketing qualified leads?
  • How many of these leads have become sales qualified leads?
  • How many of these leads have become customers?
  • How many of these customers have created customer referrals?

From a B2B marketing agency perspective, these steps should be measured and reported on monthly.

When there is alignment between the agency KPIs, and the KPIs of the marketing team, and sales team, leverage for growth can be found.

And when you have leverage for growth, you have a growing business!

Since 2013 we've been helping brands like "Forrester" grow through social media advertising and inbound marketing. We are headquartered in Sydney but run campaigns both nationally and globally.

If you are interested in a no-obligation free consultation to see if we may fit you, we will be happy to hear from you.

If not, please download the free white paper below and hopefully, we can connect at the right point in time.

Growth Agency


Mathew Slavica

Founder, Digital Stand (Sydney), Industry Keynote Speaker. Obsessed with helping our clients grow.

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