How to Choose the Correct B2B Marketing Agency for Your Organization

As informed buyers rewrite the rules of customer engagement, forward-looking CEOs have adjusted their revenue growth strategy. One of the key activity that a forward thinking CEO of a Technology, MSP, Software shop or SaaS organization will do is to either hire or outsource a CMO or a marketing agency that acts as a CMO. This external team will be responsible for a full or a partial Inbound/Content marketing results.

Our experience is that larger organizations (i.e. $35M+) outsource some of the functions of their Inbound activity to an experienced B2B Marketing agency. Flawless Inbound has worked with both types of organizations.

I would advise an interactive interview with the B2B marketing agency. Particularly, if any organization was looking to hire a CMO on demand with his team or an Inbound Marketing agency that will report to a CMO.

Choosing a wrong CMO or the wrong B2B Inbound Marketing agency and your revenue goals will suffer, and you will waste a precious year of growth that conflicts with the board’s expectations.

Below are two scenarios for you to emulate and modify to match the unique needs of your company. The first trial scenario is something you would assign to the agency as homework to bring to discuss in a late stage interview. This gives you insights into their ability to think strategically and move from academic theory to execution. The second example provides a live fire interview scenario question that uncovers the agency’s skills in demonstrating ROI and their ability to communicate marketing impact to an executive audience.

Trial Scenario: Marketing Campaign Strategy

For this job trial scenario, envision yourself as the new B2B agency leader for ACME. You have a clear opportunity to put your stamp on the company’s success.

In the past, ACME has invested only in the brand, sales support, and limited demand generation. Now ACME has increased the marketing budget to run a Q2/Q3 2017 acquisition campaign to boost sales in a specific region. Time is of the essence because the company needs to hit its growth goal. The current revenue number is on track, but your marketing campaign can provide the fail-safe that ensures success. Your task is to create a marketing campaign strategy that delivers $10 million in revenue (average selling price = $100,000) from the minute you launch all the way through the end of the year. The core buying season is June through September.

Budget and Assets

Budget: $500,000

Personnel: ACME campaign manager, product marketing manager, Lead development representative (responds to inbound calls and makes outbound calls) and Sales reps (50) and sales VP.

Assets: Personas and buyer process maps for end users.

Resources: Website and (creative) is already done. Persona "done" but might need a quick review, Marketing Automation (might exist) but not sure if it is of any value. Access to prospect lists from past interactions.

Ask your candidate B2B Inbound marketing agency to describe how they will approach the campaign; their suggested campaign planning framework is the deliverable. The merit of the plan will be determined by how well they leverage available resources, contribute strategic thinking, and recommend a campaign approach that will drive results.

Interview Scenario: Marketing ROI

To judge proficiency in marketing ROI, the competency interview should cover the following ground:

  • Establishing executive-level success metrics.
  • Tracking marketing contribution as a percentage of sales revenue and
    marketing contribution as a percentage of opportunities in the sales funnel.
  • Improving the quantity of sales-ready leads.
  • Capturing campaign-level click metrics and associated results through closed-loop tracking.
  • Monitoring program versus staff costs.
  • Developing and tracking metrics and success criteria for all marketing programs and activities

During the marketing ROI competency interview, the B2B marketing agency should be able to answer these questions to your satisfaction:

  • What marketing metrics have you seen B2B companies track?
  • How have you taken the metrics and applied them to business strategy
    moreover, goals?
  • How would you use these metrics in a go-to-market strategy (for example, market share gain, market expansion, new market exposure)?
  • What experience do you have managing a marketing budget?

If your prospective agency is put off by homework, then that is a data point that gives you an insight that they are looking for a coronation to the throne of marketing leader. Is that attitude right for your company?

By leveraging these two scenarios, you can smoke out the disaster CMOs or B2B inbound agencies and put yourself in a position to hire the right revenue producing ‘A’ partner for your organization.

If you would like to discuss more, we can show you how Flawless Inbound would prepare for that interview. I hope this was helping for a CEO or a CMO who are about to choose the correct B2B Inbound Marketing agency for your organization.