How to choose a digital marketing agency

We've put together this short guide to help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing an agency.

With countless agencies claiming expertise in B2B SaaS Digital marketing, navigating through the sea of options can be overwhelming. How do you determine which agency will truly understand your unique business goals, resonate with your target audience, and deliver the results you desire?

In this article, we will guide you through the process of selecting the best agency for your specific needs. We'll explore key considerations, essential criteria, and practical steps that will empower you to make an informed decision.

Do you actually need an agency?

Before embarking on the process of selecting a B2B marketing agency, it's important to assess whether you truly need one. Assuming you are already looking, it may be because you don't have the internal knowledge or capacity.

An obvious alternative to an agency is a freelancer, freelancers can be great options if you have a restricted budget but still want external support.

Define Your Goals and Objectives

Before selecting a agency, it is crucial to define your marketing goals and objectives. Aim to set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

These goals will serve as benchmarks for success and guide the agency's efforts. Additionally, identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your objectives. Whether it's increasing brand awareness, generating qualified leads, or improving customer retention, clearly defined goals and KPIs will help you assess the agency's ability to deliver results.

Evaluating Agencies

When evaluating agencies,  look for agencies that have a proven track record in your specific industry and understand the nuances of B2B SaaS marketing. Review case studies and client testimonials to gauge the agency's ability to deliver on their promises.

Additionally, examine their culture and values to ensure they align with your company's ethos. You can use tools like Glassdoor to look at employee reviews of the agency. Understanding their strategic approach and methodologies is crucial as well. Assess how they integrate various marketing channels, their data-driven decision-making processes, and their ability to adapt to evolving trends.

Budget considerations

Determining your marketing budget is a crucial step in selecting a agency. Assess your financial resources and allocate a realistic budget that aligns with your marketing goals and the expected return on investment (ROI). When considering agency pricing models, evaluate whether they charge fixed fees, work on a retainer basis, or offer performance-based pricing. Strike a balance between cost and the quality of services you expect to receive. Remember that selecting the cheapest option may not yield the desired outcomes, while investing in expertise and strategic thinking can drive long-term success.

Requesting and Evaluating Proposals

Once you have shortlisted potential B2B marketing agencies, it's time to request and evaluate proposals. Clearly outline your requirements, including your goals, target audience, budget, and desired timeline. Ask agencies to provide detailed proposals that outline their strategies, deliverables, timelines, and pricing.

Analyze and compare the proposals based on key criteria such as their understanding of your business, alignment with your goals, creative ideas, and the potential for long-term partnerships. Look for agencies that can provide customized solutions tailored to your specific needs.

B2B Marketing Agency Brief Template

If you want to have a simple guide on the information you should be providing an agency you can use the below template as a starting point. The more information you can provide the agencies the better your proposals will be as they will be designed around the information you provide.

Download our free agency briefing template

Save yourself some time and use our B2B marketing agency briefing template.

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Conducting presentations & Due Diligence

Conducting interviews and due diligence is an essential step in the selection process. Prepare a list of interview questions that assess the agency's capabilities, team structure, and communication processes. Evaluate their responsiveness and willingness to understand your business. Conduct background checks and reach out to their references to gain insights into their working style, professionalism, and client satisfaction. By conducting thorough due diligence, you can ensure that the agency you select is reliable, trustworthy, and capable of meeting your expectations.

Making the final decision

When making the final decision, weigh the pros and cons of each agency based on your evaluations and due diligence. Consider not only their expertise and capabilities but also intangible factors such as cultural fit, communication style, and rapport. Select the B2B marketing agency that best aligns with your goals, values, and vision for the future. Remember that this decision is an investment in your business's growth, so take the time to make an informed choice that will drive tangible results.

Establish clear expectations & metrics for success

Once you have selected a B2B marketing agency, establish clear expectations and metrics for success. Set realistic timelines and communicate your desired outcomes, ensuring the agency understands your goals and KPIs. Define the metrics that will be used to track and measure progress. Establish regular reporting and communication processes to stay informed about the agency's efforts and results. Open and transparent communication will foster a collaborative partnership and maximize the agency's ability to deliver the desired outcomes.

3 Tips For Choosing An Agency

Having worked in an agency and prepared many proposals myself as well as receiving many briefs I feel I can provide at least a semi-informed opinion on what to do when looking to work with an agency, and, what to expect.

1. Bigger doesn't mean better

Just like lots of things in life, a bigger agency doesn't always produce better work. The benefits of working for a 'big' agency are often that they have a bigger pool of resources and a slicker operating process, along with having worked with big brands (usually). The downsides are that you may be a small fish to them if they have huge clients, often staff are not as happy in bigger agencies because of the hierarchy, and often large agencies are made up of acquisitions that have happened over the years leading to a mismatch of internal politics. They can also be pretty expensive, yelp.

2. Check the Glassdoor reviews

Happy staff produce better work. Its worth having a look through the recent Glassdoor reviews of any agency you are looking into hiring because they will give you the inside scope on what the company culture is really like. Sometimes it is hard to see past the shiny veneer that many companies present to the outside world, thats why companies like Glassdoor exist, so use them.

3. Check who will be "on your account"

Always a classic, you are pitched by a senior director or even founder who knows their stuff, then when you get to kick-off day you are met with a junior member of the team who is learning the ropes. Always ask who will be working on your account, sometimes there are different day rates depending on the experience of the staff member.

Remember, most agencies only grow by hiring junior members under more senior members, and usually, those junior members are given small accounts to work on first to learn the ropes, which makes sense, but just consider this when speaking to agencies and be as upfront as possible. Everyone has to start somewhere its just ensuring everyone is on the same page.

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