Marketing is an umbrella term for a wide variety of methods and strategies intended to benefit your business. Your business has different needs that will require different types of marketing efforts. For example, engaging with your audience and improving sales are related, but always separate goals, so you can’t apply the exact same strategy for both. And if your need is to connect your business and product to other businesses, that will require business-to-business (B2B) marketing.
Growing and expanding your business will require a solid marketing plan. Running a business doesn’t require exactly the same skills as marketing a business. Many marketers will specialize in a specific industry, such as B2B marketing. These consultants or agencies use their specialization to help companies improve their marketing strategies.
What is a B2B marketing consultant?
As a business owner or CEO, you may not have the expertise or just the time to focus on all facets of marketing. B2B marketing targets people who represent other businesses as customers. B2B marketing consultants work with you to develop and implement new strategies to connect with businesses in your target audience.
The advantages of hiring a consultant
Concentrating on a specialty has many advantages over a cursory knowledge of a general subject. Hiring a consultant will give you more time to focus on your business while building an effective marketing strategy. A consultant will also bring a new perspective and angle to your marketing. In addition, they only have one role to which they can devote all of their time. It is also easier to teach one person the needs and style of your business compared to a group.
How much does B2B advice cost?
According to ZipRecruiter, the national average salary for a marketing consultant is $ 26 an hour. This can be a good starting point for setting up your budget. Determining your budget will determine how much you can spend on a B2B consultant or agency. These marketers can charge a flat fee, charge for their materials and time spent later, or charge a base fee with an additional risk / reward element based on results achieved. For a longer project, they can ask for a monthly or annual provision which guarantees them a fixed amount.
What is a B2B marketing agency?
A B2B marketing agency is a team of marketing professionals hired to handle all of your business’s B2B marketing from the research phase to the implementation phase. Depending on some factors, such as your business needs, budget, and desired timeframe, you may want a B2B marketing agency instead of a consultant. An agency will offer you a range of services and offers to meet your needs. This often comes at a higher cost than a consultant because you get a team of experts instead of just one.
The advantages of using an agency
Consultants can only propose a strategy, a plan or an execution, while an agency can accomplish all three. An agency may also be able to give you more individualized attention because they have more (wo) mans. Hiring a marketing agency is especially necessary for companies that do not have a large in-house marketing division. Outsourcing all of your B2B marketing efforts will take the strain off you and your employees.
How to Hire a B2B Marketing Agency or Consultant
- Define the results you want to achieve.
- Decide if you want an agency or a consultant.
- Pick a budget and stick to it.
- Determine what specialties your hire should have.
- Create a shortlist.
- Pick 10 insightful interview questions.
- Start the partnership!
Choosing the right agency or consultant for your business will take some research. Hiring the wrong marketing assistant could end up being a waste of resources and your budget if they end up not progressing towards any of your goals. Follow these steps to hire the best for your business.
1. Define the results you want to achieve.
There is a reason why you seek the help of a consultant or an agency for your B2B marketing. Identify what you want to improve, whether it’s improving something specific in your current marketing strategy or developing a whole new strategy. These goals should be structured in such a way that they can be tracked so that you can track progress towards achieving them.
2. Decide if you want an agency or a consultant.
The results you defined earlier will help you determine whether you need an agency or a consultant. If you have a small budget and a more specific need, then a consultant would be a good choice. If you have a bigger budget and a larger need, you can do better with a consultant.
3. Pick a budget and stick to it.
When setting up a budget for your marketing efforts, remember to weigh the risk against the reward. If the reward you can earn is substantial, then it may be fair to advocate a little more budget for your B2B marketing efforts. Next, look for agencies or consultants within your budget.
4. Determine the specialties that your hire should have.
Narrow the list even further by focusing on professionals who have experience in your industry, ideally with exact experience in B2B marketing in your industry. Use the desired results to choose the work history and skills your top candidates should have.
5. Create a restricted list.
Once you’ve found candidates within your budget who have a skill set that matches your goals, you can start nominating a few to a shortlist. Pick candidates who you think are worth interviewing and who might be suitable for the job.
6. Pick 10 insightful interview questions.
What do you really want to know about a potential B2B consultant or agency? Have they met your specific needs for another organization in the past? Do they have any creative ideas? Ask them how they have handled certain situations or what strategies they have developed with other companies in the past.
7. Start the partnership!
The most exciting part comes when you see one agency or consultant stand out from the crowd and you can confidently choose them as your top choice. Write the documents and start the process! Confirm the goals of this partnership with your new hire and start working on your new B2B marketing plan.
Hire a B2B marketing consultant or agency
Before hiring your B2B marketing agency or consultant, you should have set clear goals to accomplish with their help. Once the decided strategy is implemented, continue to monitor the progress towards the desired results. This will help you see how valuable or effective the consultant’s or agency’s help has been for your business. In addition, make sure that any strategies or methods that have been implemented in the long term continue to be maintained if they are working well.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2009 and has been updated for completeness.