Partnering with an agency specialized in B2B technology is a smart way to supercharge your marketing capabilities and results. A good marketing agency gives you instant access to decades of combined experience, a critical outside eye, informed strategic counsel and breadth of specializations. However, there are a few things that your agency can’t do for you. Taking ownership of these areas in-house will maximize your agency relationship by giving your team the tools it needs to succeed for you.
- Thought leadership
Your company’s and executives’ unique perspectives and deep experience simply cannot be contrived by a marketing agency. It’s the job of your agency partner to capture and communicate your thought leadership, not to manufacture it. Successfully marketing your thought leadership requires your internal subject matter experts to crystalize their opinions and expertise and take the time to share that information with your agency.
At Idea Grove, we often do journalistic style interviews with client executives, conversationally mining to uncover hidden gems. We then take that raw material and professionally polish it into clear, concise and compelling content. It’s a synergistic process that involves company executives doing what only they can do—providing authentic viewpoints, and Idea Grove doing what we do best—turning those perspectives into marketing fuel.
- Developing customer advocates
Effective marketing needs good client stories. Prospects are swayed by case studies from their peers, and the media usually want the customer’s perspective. But your marketing agency is twice removed from your customers. Agencies work with the in-house marketing team, and customer relationships are almost always owned by sales.
Here again, the agency can help, but it takes a joint effort. Sales teams must be engaged to understand the critical value of customer stories and why and how to make the introduction between customers and marketing. If your sales team sees approaching clients for marketing opportunities as a burden on the customer, they won’t want to jeopardize the relationship.
At Idea Grove, we work with our technology clients’ internal marketing teams to educate sales on an engagement process that is easy on the customer and provides direct benefits for them. Then it becomes a unified team effort involving sales, internal marketing and the agency to identify and cultivate those customer references. In the end, most end-user customers appreciate the resulting content or media coverage that helped tell their story and secured them complementary publicity.
- Setting, sharing and tracking goals
You wouldn’t call up an Uber ride without naming the destination. But you’d be surprised how many companies expect their marketing agency to navigate and drive without knowing where we are headed.
Make sure that you have clear business goals set. Share your long- and short-term goals with your agency. Do you want to be acquired in the next three to five years? Sign 200 new customers in the next six months? Have executive-level annual meetings with your marketing agency to discuss those goals and translate them into the marketing objectives that will get you there.Then, have high-level quarterly discussions to keep everyone updated and aligned and make course corrections if necessary. Usually your marketing agency does not have complete visibility into your CRM and business performance. Also, your goals may change mid-year based on circumstances. Setting, sharing and tracking goals needs to be an ongoing process, not a one-and-done annual event.