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The 7 S’s of Hiring a B2B Marketing Agency

By: Andrea Panno

So, you’re in the market to hire a marketing agency for your B2B company, congratulations! Taking the steps towards signing with a B2B marketing strategy agency is a worthy investment in the longevity and success of your company. Partnering with a marketing agency is a strategic choice for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and can be more cost-effective than building an in-house team.

Many of today’s busy executives need guidance in finding an agency that fits their business’s needs, culture, and management style. Knowing where to start or how to hire a marketing agency that is an excellent fit for your company’s specific needs is a layered process. Choosing the right agency for your company takes time, research, and a level-headed approach.

We’ve developed a list of only the most essential criteria to use in sizing up marketing agencies without the extra noise. This list will help you avoid wasting time researching agencies you know can’t give you what you want in a marketing partner. Although this criteria also applies to finding other marketing partners, the seven factors were chosen specifically for business leaders searching for a B2B marketing strategy agency.

Take note of each characteristic that would benefit your business the most and lead to a greater return on marketing investment (ROMI). Start leveraging our 7 S’s to ensure you hire the right B2B marketing strategy agency for your company.

B2B Marketing Agencies
If you’re a B2B company, it’s wise to find an agency specializing in B2B marketing. Hiring a B2B strategy agency will cut down on the learning curve and offer proven strategies for marketing B2B goods and services in your space.

Our 7 Strategic S’s for Hiring a B2B Marketing Agency

  • Services
  • Specialties
  • Structure
  • Support
  • Showcase
  • Success Stories
  • Sagefrog

1. Services

The first thing you’ll want to review about a marketing agency contender is the services it offers. Does the marketing agency offer everything you need? Does it have the potential to provide more resources as your company expands? Note the capabilities you need now and then think about what your team might need in the future.

Full-service agencies provide a single source for all marketing services, providing more than just the basics. Integrated marketing agencies combine traditional tactics with new strategies like inbound marketing, optimizing the blend to serve their clients’ needs. You might even stumble across an agency that is both full-service and integrated (like us!). Many SMBs also get the most ROMI from a retainer, which allows them to execute long-term strategies uninterrupted at a fixed rate.

Sagefrog’s Services: Branding and strategy, websites and digital, content and inbound, and traditional marketing. Sagefrog is also a Platinum HubSpot Agency Partner.


2. Specialties

Hiring a marketing agency specializing in your industry or having experience marketing products and services like yours is extremely valuable. Look for agencies that frequently serve clients in your industry, boast relevant experience and employee backgrounds, or share impressive results of campaigns you’d like to execute.

Most B2B marketing strategy agencies tend to have a particular niche—both industry and service. For example, life sciences companies should seek out agencies with specific and proven experience. An agency specializing in life sciences will be brief or better on your industry’s language, KOLs, tradeshows, competitors, and other factors. Or, say you need a great team to re-envision your outdated website; you’ll want to prioritize finding an agency with an impressive web development portfolio.

We’ve already created a checklist for hiring specifically for healthcare marketing and pharma companies to use in their search. Still, it’s essential for those in other industries, such as software and technology or manufacturing and business services, to decide how familiar their marketing partner should be with their field.

Sagefrog’s Specialties: Healthcare and life sciences, technology and software, manufacturing and industrial, and professional business services.


3. Structure

Organization and communication are crucial to results in any business relationship. You want to hire an agency with structured processes so you know what to expect and can plan your business in tandem with marketing efforts.

When shopping around, gather what you can about how transparent their processes are and how they plan to deliver results for clients. When receiving pitches, see if they have well-implemented systems with a general action protocol. Companies that showcase a proven process or methodology often get more business because they give leads a peek at what it means to partner with them.

Sagefrog’s Structure: Strategy, foundation, and tactics– integrated and optimized through our ongoing Sagefrog Integrated Marketing Program (SIMP) and managed by our account management team that provides monthly planning, reporting, and weekly status calls.


4. Support

Support is where the business relationship comes into play. As agreed in your contract, the agency you hire is your trusted advisor for all things marketing. Having a positive rapport with your agency is ideal.

Partnering with an agency whose people mesh well with your existing internal marketing team, executives, and company culture is vital to maintaining a great relationship and seeing continued results. When agencies pitch to prospects, they’ll often bring along the Account Manager who’d be dedicated to their account, giving the company a chance to get a feel for the agency’s team and their approach to client relations.

Try to organize an opportunity to meet more of the people at your prospective marketing agencies, and remember to ask about their background, credentials, certifications, and experience. The best marketing partner boasts a team of individuals who blend marketing and branding expertise with up-to-date industry standards and business acumen.

Sagefrog’s Support: Every Sagefrog client is assigned a dedicated Account Manager who provides access to our in-house capacity and capability, including Strategy, Content, Creative, Digital, and Web Development. All of our people are HubSpot certified and specialists within their marketing function.


5. Showcase

Find an agency eager to showcase its work; this means they’re proud of their work and enthusiastic about taking you on as a client. A good B2B marketing agency helps its clients leverage popular platforms and partners and the latest tools and technologies to deliver exceptional professional services. Working with a team that brings added expertise and support to tools like WordPress, HubSpot, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Google Ads can help your company push past the competition and achieve accelerated success. Look for agencies aligned with top marketing software partners and emphasize in their messaging the importance of tech and automation in modern integrated marketing plans.

Sagefrog’s Showcase: See how we showcase the best of what we offer, including HubSpot, Google, RollWorks and other preferred platform and partner relationships.  


6. Success Stories

Look out for case studies, performance reports, testimonials, and reviews, and even reach out to other tenured client companies. Success stories can be reliable sources of demonstrated skills, results, and ROI. As you examine these materials, try to find the proven processes, raw data, and unique approaches that demonstrate growth performance. The best case studies outline the situation, strategy, and results in an unbiased way, leaving room for readers to imagine how their company might discover their own success story with the agency.

Sagefrog’s Success Stories: Check out our portfolio of work in B2B industries, including healthcare, technology, manufacturing, and business services.


7. Sagefrog

Expect success using our seven S’s to guide your search for the ideal B2B marketing agency. You’ll be rewarded with a new marketing partner that puts you first and possesses the right expertise, tools, tactics, and people to accelerate your short- and long-term success.

Take the lead with Sagefrog. We’ve worked with hundreds of B2B healthcare, technology, industrial and business services companies, giving us a comprehensive understanding of both your market and business dynamics. We’re believers in integrated marketing because it efficiently exposes your brand to more channels, maximizing awareness, qualified leads, and ROI. We’re known best for combining branding with our SIMP, aka Sagefrog Integrated Marketing Program.

How Can We Accelerate Your Success?