One of the things we’re really proud of at KoMarketing is the length of our client relationships. While we have clients who have only been with us for a year or two, we have others who have been with us for over 12 years. In the digital era where things change on a dime, that’s pretty amazing!
The thing is, we view our programs as real partnerships. At the end of the day, we are only successful if our clients are successful.
Now, you might be thinking, “Casie, I thought this was a blog post, not a sales pitch?”. Bear with me. See, one of the reasons we’ve had these long-lasting relationships is because our clients help us deliver results. They ensure we have the right information, the right tools, and the support we need.
And that’s the key.
For businesses that are currently working with a B2B digital marketing agency or looking to work with one in the future, there are a few things you can do to create a successful partnership. Let’s take a look.
The majority of programs fail because there is a breakdown in communication, specifically when it comes to expectations. Be clear in what you are looking to get out of the program and how you expect the program to run.
For example, if you have a certain number of leads you need to acquire in a quarter, make sure your agency knows what that number is. This will determine the type of tactics they use and how aggressive they need to be. It can also dictate budgets.
Here’s another example – If you want content written in a certain voice, be clear in what that voice is. Provide your agency with brand guidelines, examples of existing content, and don’t hesitate to connect them with the communications team or SMEs who can provide more insights into how things should be written.
The more clear and direct everyone is in their expectations, the better off everyone will be. Our most successful programs stem from having clear expectations set at the beginning of the program and reiterated and adjusted as needed. Don’t hesitate to speak up.
Just as it’s important to communicate your expectations, it’s also important to be transparent. If something isn’t right, be honest. If there are changes happening within the organization, don’t hide it until it’s too late. Transparency gives your agency a chance to adapt and give you the support you need.
Take for example one of my favorite clients. This client has been with us for over five years and what I love and appreciate most, is the transparency they provide. If our content misses the mark, they tell us. If there are product or branding changes happening in the organization, they provide the details so we can get ahead of it.
Just last year they went through a major product change. Because we were told ahead of time, we were able to update keyword research, analyze and rewrite content, and start prepping bylines for the launch. No rankings were lost, traffic increased, and the launch went off without a hitch. If they hadn’t been open about it, we may have had to react instead of being proactive.
Your agency will realize that not everything can be shared but they will certainly appreciate the information you can provide. And remember, even something that may not seem significant to you, might actually be significant to your agency. An upcoming event or notable customer feedback can lead to new opportunities you might not have considered.
Give Up the Data
One of the biggest challenges for B2B marketers is ensuring we are driving quality leads. However, the reason this is a challenge is because on the agency side, we don’t always insights into what happens with our leads once they get into the funnel.
Last year, one of our clients went through a pretty extensive leads exercise. They evaluated all of their leads from the past year and tracked which ones were marketing qualified, which ones were sales qualified, which ones led to RFPs, and which ones closed. Even more amazing, they gave that information to us!
We were able to see how our efforts were driving leads and sales and more importantly, which of our efforts were driving leads and sales. It also made it much easier for them to justify budgets when renewals came about.
Share the data you have with your agency, especially when it comes to leads and revenue. A marketer’s goal is to make smart decisions based on the information they have. The better the information, the smarter the decisions.
Trust Your Team
Ideally, you vetted your agency before hiring them. They presented their ideas, you talked to references, and they earned your business. Trust them to make the right decisions.
I say this all of the time but the most successful programs we have are because our clients trust and respect our recommendations. When we provide feedback, they listen. When we show them why something should be implemented, they implement it.
Now, that’s not to say there is never pushback. You should push back and you should ask questions. A good recommendation is good because it’s based on data and experience. Your agency should help you understand why they are recommending something and what the result will be. They should also help you understand the prioritization of it and the overall impact on the business.
And remember, you know your business better than anyone but your agency knows digital marketing. Make those two things work together. If they recommend a keyword that doesn’t make sense for your business, make sure they know. At the same time, if they can prove why it makes sense and why you should test it, trust their instincts.
Just like any relationship, trust is essential and while it can take time to build, when it’s there, it can be a game-changer.
If you are working with a digital marketing agency or thinking of working with one, remember, you should share in each other’s success. Make sure you are working with a partner who is a true extension of your team and believes in what you do. By setting expectations, being open, sharing data, and trusting your agency, you can build a successful program for years to come.