As digital marketing has become increasingly critical to the success of any company, outsourcing part of the process has become increasingly common — and necessary. One survey found that at least half of all companies prefer to outsource at least some of their marketing tasks. In fact, you may already have one or more digital marketing partners working alongside your efforts.
In many cases, an agency dedicated to digital marketing has the workforce and expertise to make budget dollars go farther, so it makes sense to partner up. On the other hand, many in-house teams prefer to keep some marketing tasks in their court, so making this partnership harmonious and keeping efforts coordinated is essential. Here's how to make the most of your B2B agency relationship.
Start with Clearly Communicated Goals
The success of your B2B agency relationship rests on excellent communication. Your agency might be experts in digital marketing, but you're the expert on your company.
The foundation of all your strategies should be clear, specific, and measurable goals that both your in-house team and your agency partners are working toward together. It's OK to rely on the expertise of your agency when setting goals, but be sure that these goals are in line with your overall objectives for company growth.
You should have this foundation in writing, and it should be something that you revisit on a regular basis to make sure you're still moving in the right direction and to determine when course corrections are necessary. Along with your marketing goals, agree on a set of expectations that includes due dates, benchmarks, timelines for checking in, and what to do when things fall behind.
Lastly, it may be helpful for the in-house team and agency partners to each nominate a single point of contact to keep communications clear. That doesn't mean that other team members are restricted from contacting each other for direct needs, but any "big conversations" should go through the primary contacts to ensure no details are lost. This approach will also help other team members stay on task rather than worrying about continuous updates and meetings.
Divide and Conquer Content Creation
Content creation often takes up a significant portion of day-to-day digital marketing activities. While other strategies certainly require regular attention, the production and publication of content on a regular basis can take up an enormous amount of resources.
Likely, your in-house team doesn’t have the time and expertise to create the volume of content your digital strategy requires. Content must be published regularly and often, and be extremely high-quality if it's going to meet your goals. In many cases, delegating content tasks such as writing blogs, articles, and long-form pieces, as well as designing creative pieces like infographics, are better left to your agency partner, which should have the human resources needed to get the job done right.
On the other hand, for content marketing to be effective, it must still match your company's brand voice and other guidelines, so don't to stay out of the process entirely. At the very least, someone from your in-house team should be reviewing all content before it's used to ensure it meets company messaging guidelines.
Lead-Generation vs. Nurturing
Lead generation is ripe for agency expertise as it's a broad-scale activity. And when it's done right, it's driven almost entirely by data mixed with experience and a bit of intuition. Agencies have teams of professionals who dedicate their working hours to not only poring over data points, but also making sense of what the numbers mean so they can take the right actions and make adjustments if necessary.
For example, your agency should be able to expertly handle your AdWords campaigns, optimize CTAs and landing pages based on data, and provide ongoing keyword research and information. Each of these activities doesn't require the personality of your company, only industry knowledge and digital marketing expertise.
However, nurturing leads and keeping current clients happy should rest almost entirely on the in-house team, as this is where your savvy industry know-how comes in. The agency can set up and maintain some automated nurturing, such as drip email campaigns, but only your in-house marketing and sales teams should make direct contact with clients.
Maximizing Your B2B Agency Relationship
These are just a few ways to make the most of your B2B agency relationship. The bottom line is that the best alliances are built on agreed-upon goals, smart division of resources and efforts, and solid communication. When you start with strong groundwork, your agency will be able to ease your marketing burdens while making the most of your budget so you reach your goals more efficiently.