Finding the right marketing agency is never easy. However, when you run a B2B SaaS business, it can be even more difficult. Your requirements are quite specific, and you’re looking for a SaaS marketing agency that understands your needs accurately rather than trying to cram you into the same “slot” that B2C businesses would fit.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the necessary steps to figure out if the B2B SaaS marketing agency you’re after fits the bill.
Read on to get all the insider tips on this very important decision for your business.
1 – Know when it’s time to partner with a B2B Saas Marketing agency
Every B2B SaaS founder faces this choice at some point. You need promotion, and you don‘t have the time to do it all by yourself. Heck, maybe you don’t even have time to instruct someone to do it.
When your business is thriving, there is a constant need to keep on getting more clients so you can grow. In the highly competitive world of SaaS, it’s essential to understand that once you stop growing, you’re done.
So, to keep on increasing your business volume, and your profit, it’s essential to advertise. But how do you that when your schedule is as packed as a bus at 6 pm? You delegate.
Nonetheless, this conclusion begs another question. Should you hire an in-house team member to promote your brand? Or should you contract an agency?
Ultimately, this will depend on your personal needs as a manager, and the needs of your business. However, we’ll explain our point of view and maybe it will resonate with you.
While it might be cheaper to hire someone in-house, one person’s work can only go so far. They might be entirely dedicated to your company and have your best interests at heart, but their expertise hardly compares to what a full team can bring to the table.
Plus, agency experts are always up to date with current tech, whereas an individual worker might not have the means to keep improving their skill. Agencies have high standards for their employees, so, we recommend hiring a B2B SaaS marketing agency rather than an in-house team member.
2 – What to consider when picking a B2B SaaS marketing agency
There are several things you need to think about when picking a B2B SaaS Marketing Agency. In this section, we’ll go through the questions you need to ask yourself – and the agency – in order to make the right choice.
The right agency for your business will depend on a lot of factors and not all of them are predictable. However, we’ve summarized what you need to know to make this decision a lot easier (and less stressful!) on you.
2.1 – What are your company’s marketing requirements?
The first big question is about the marketing requirements that are specific to your company. Maybe you need to do SEO to revamp your website, maybe you need PPC (pay per click) ads. Where is your target audience and what do they do online?
Once you understand where do you need to be to get your prospects’ attention, it all becomes easier. However, this is not the end of it.
You also need to know how far does your B2B SaaS marketing agency need to go. Maybe you can provide them with a marketing strategy from the get-go, maybe you can’t. When you aren’t able to create your marketing plan, maybe you’ll just need help with figuring it out yourself. In other cases, you’ll pay for the agency to set up the whole strategy.
We recommend leaving the planning to the agency – provided they qualify for the rest of the prerequisites. If you choose well, they’ll know what they’re doing, saving you the hassle of having to prepare a marketing plan when you don’t have a marketing team.
2.2 – How does the agency run their own business?
This is usually easy to check yourself rather than taking the agency’s word for it. If you’re going to hire the agency to do SEO, does their website rank high on SERPs (search engine result pages)? If they promised to rock your social media, do they rock theirs? How effective are the agency’s advertising channels?
If an agency promises you something they cannot do for themselves, you should be suspicious of their abilities. After all, a company might claim all they want about their online presence, but if you Google them and find they rank in the second results page, they might as well not exist. In case you’re wondering, we rank number 1 on Google for “SaaS marketing consultant”!
The advertising world is highly competitive and it takes skill to master all the channels. Also, we recommend picking an agency that specializes in digital. There’s enough expertise needed just for digital advertising that makes it unreasonable to pick an “all-in-one solution” that ends up not being extremely good at anything.
2.3 – Full-service vs specialty
Once again, this will depend on the specificities of your business. If you’re looking for a specific service – let’s say, SEO – you might do better with an agency that specializes in that type of work. In this case, we would recommend a digital company that works with web development and that has the marketing expertise to combine with the technical requirements.
If, however, you’re not yet sure of which path you should take, we recommend a full-service agency. A full-service agency is going to be able to not only draw your marketing strategy but also to advise you on the best channels for your business. Once again, there is no one-size-fits-all approach in advertising – you need to research thoroughly before you make a decision.
2.4 – Is B2B really their specialty?
By asking this question, we do not mean that the right B2B SaaS marketing agency will only specialize in B2B clients – although it helps.
Usually, the ideal agency for you will have a lot of B2B experience, even if it’s not all they do. Beware of agencies that only have B2C clients, because then you might be left in the dust. B2C, in many ways, is easier, and if you hire an agency that does not have many B2B clients, there might be too much guesswork at hand.
The ideal agency will have a good portfolio of B2B clients. Some agencies are multifaceted in the sense that they can deal with all sorts of clients due to previous experience. We recommend really digging in – ask for examples of previous B2B work, case studies, anything. You need to have all elements available to make the right decision.
2.5 – How do they measure – and show – results?
Did you know the average B2B buyer does 12 different searches online before purchasing? This makes it especially necessary to have access to thorough reporting when you’re trading B2B services or products. You need to know exactly what it takes for a user to convert, and you have to be aware of the touchpoints it took them to get to their final decision.
Therefore, your agency should be able to tell you about the results they have achieved with other B2B clients. Did they increase ROI? How much? And how did they get there? If an agency can’t prove their results using accurate measures, all their promises become empty. You should always be able to measure results very precisely in order to guide your further efforts.
2.6 – What do they charge?
This is a lesson that all of us learn at our expense: if you pay less, you get less. Of course, your budget is not unlimited. But you need to make sure you’re getting the right value for what you’re contracting.
It helps to question different companies to reach an average that you consider reasonable. There are several agency pricing models to know. We don’t recommend going for the cheaper agency, for a simple reason: if the agency charges less, they have less profit from each client. When the agency’s margin is quite low, they have no reason to do their best. An agency that charges a bit more is able to work harder in order to achieve your goals – not only because they’re going to be able to attribute more resources to those tasks, but also because they’re going to lose a lot more if you decide to cancel the contract.
Don’t settle for less than your company deserves. It’s better to grow first and then hire an adequate team to manage your marketing efforts once you can afford a good service.
3 – Do they ask the right questions about your company?
This might seem a bit confusing, but you understand a lot about a B2B SaaS marketing agency from the questions they ask. We’ll show you three examples of the right questions an agency should ask you in order to perfectly understand your needs.
3.1 – Describe your B2B SaaS sales process.
In order to understand how they should advertise your SaaS product, the agency needs to know how is your sales process.
How do your salespeople contact prospects? How do you collect this data before your salespeople touch base? Do you use automation? Do you rely on phone communication, do you email, or do you do both?
It’s important to understand how your sales process usually goes in order to keep on feeding your salespeople with prospects. Also, the lead nurturing process is quite important when it comes to B2B SaaS sales. Once you have a prospect, you can’t let them go.
All these steps are highly relevant to drawing your sales process, and understanding how to improve it – and increasing your profits while you’re at it.
3.2 – What’s your buyer’s journey?
Usually, a sales funnel is quite similar from one business to another. The issue with the SaaS buyer’s journey is that it’s quite fragmented. Users can get to different stages of awareness in a different order depending on the touchpoint they’re at, and there is no linear path to get to the bottom of the funnel.
However, you, as the business owner, know what’s best for your company. You know how they behave, and you have some insights about how do they think. This is essential in order to keep your buyer’s journey under tabs.
We mentioned lead nurturing previously, and it is quite important for your buyer’s journey too. You should have some content ready: ebooks, white papers, case studies. These are essential in lead nurturing for SaaS, by educating your prospects and keeping your brand on top of mind.
3.3 – What business problem does your software solve?
This is the most important question your B2B SaaS marketing agency needs to ask. How can you improve your users’ lives? What does your software do that you cannot achieve with the products your competition sells?
This is the crux of it all. If your product has advantages, you’ve got to flaunt them in a subtle way. Show your prospects how you’re going to improve their businesses and, by extension, their lives. This will give you your main selling points that can be used in your advertising.
When looking for an advertising agency, the questions you ask and the answers you get are important – but you should also pay attention to the questions that the agency reps ask you.
This is a two-fold process – you’re being evaluated just as well as you’re evaluating the agency you’re after. When it comes to the crunch, you both need to fit each other.
To sum up, we recommend:
- Hiring a SaaS specialized agency;
- Get an agency that is able to report accurately on previous and current results;
- Hire an agency that is able to prove their methods through their own performance online;
- Don’t cheap out on your agency, even though you might be on a budget. Grow first, and invest in advertising when you’re able to do it properly.
These rules apply for every business, but they’re especially true when it comes to B2B SaaS marketing agencies. As we mentioned, a long sales cycle implies a lot of lead nurturing and a lot of work to keep your prospects on the right path. And the right agency will be able to put in that work for you and your business.
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