Running your own prosperous B2B business? But you just don’t have enough bandwidth, resources or expertise to fully develop and execute a comprehensive marketing strategy?
Hmm… well it sounds like you’ve come down with a case of Entrepreneuritis.
Oh yes, it’s been going around. More common than the common cold! Trust us, this condition has been encumbering just about every hardworking, busy SMB owner since the dawn of time (or at least since B2B marketing strategy became a thing). And there doesn’t seem to be a vaccine coming out any time soon.
Symptoms of Entrepreneuritis may include but are not limited to a moderate to severe lack of time, an overwhelming affinity for organization and efficiency, an unmatched will to succeed, and the constant struggle to find the perfect balance between your job and your personal life.
Sound about right? Okay. Let’s dive a little deeper into the aches and pains of a B2B business owner and find the appropriate remedy.
A quick look at the B2B business owner’s pain chain…
As the CEO and founder of an SMB, major priorities typically include forging and maintaining the internal structure of the organization, driving strategic alignment, and managing how the outside world perceives the business. However, most B2B business owners with whom we’ve spoken wish they could dedicate so much more time to raking in quality leads – and finding an efficient, cost-effective way of doing so.
Moreover, reliable ways to track and organize a monthly dashboard of metrics, to best utilize the most effective digital tools, and to know how and when to make the right marketing moves would make the life of an entrepreneur SO much easier. And partnering up with an entity who works independently would be an added bonus.
So why not just scour LinkedIn for that special someone to be the marketer of your dreams? Unfortunately, the level of marketing expertise these head honchos are looking for comes from a highly skilled individual who normally makes six figures. And when you’re running a small to mid-sized company, this may present a significant problem.
Bottom Line: B2B business owners need to work with a marketing guru characterized by that high-level experience and talent, but who can slice and dice the costs of hiring an in-house professional.
The prescription? 9 out of 10 physicians agree that a regular dose of outsourced marketing medicine should do the trick!
It’s time to feel better…
We recognize outsourcing isn’t for everyone. But when weighing the options, it’s important for business owners to consider all of the perks outsourced marketing has to offer:
- Time – Who doesn’t need more time? Time to be doing all the things you are best at, while a team of experts adeptly handles your content marketing program and website optimization strategy.
- Cost Savings – Outsourcing is an affordable, cost-effective solution for generating A-list leads. It’s almost like having a team of marketing pros at your fingertips, but you don’t have to shell out the salary, benefits, vacation time, etc. Oh wait, that’s exactly what it’s like.
- Expertise – Particularly in the manufacturing and technology industries, a notable portion of B2B business owners are not natural-born marketers. Outsourcing will get you the writing, design, and data-dissecting skills you need, when you need them!
- Perspective – A new set of eyes on your company often reveals insights you had never even considered, leading to fresh ideas and programs that drive business.
- Fun – Well, at least we think it should be fun! If you aren’t sharing any laughs with your marketing team, there is something seriously wrong.
But wait! Don’t forget to read the label…
Potential outsourcing side effects: Skyrocketing visitor-to-lead conversion rates, a dramatic increase in revenue, and running around like a crazy person screaming “I LOVE inbound marketing!!” Please contact your doctor if you keep staring at your improved KPIs for over 4 hours.
When the B2B entrepreneur is on the hunt for a partner:
When working with an outside marketing agency, one of the biggest challenges business owners face is learning to relinquish some of that control to which they are accustomed – letting the marketing experts carry out tasks and make certain choices without being micromanaged.
In our experience, we’ve actually found that those entrepreneurial customers with whom we share the most fruitful (and healthy!) relationships had an easier time handing over the main marketing responsibilities from the get-go, while still remaining engaged in the process.
Perhaps these entrepreneurs are simply well-adjusted to taking what could be perceived as a risk. Or maybe it’s because most of their recent new business has come from referrals, and they’re so motivated to finally fully utilize the company website. Even with influencers and stakeholders invested in the buying process, more often than not, the decision to create room in the budget for outsourced marketing services is ultimately theirs, resulting in a gung-ho attitude we’ve come to know and love!
But what should business owners be looking for in a marketing medic? Of course the initial sales calls must be pleasant, and responsiveness is a must. But the following 5 qualities are absolute partner prerequisites:
- Trust – Mutual trust, that is. Your agency should put faith in your gut instincts, and be actively listening to the insights you provide about your company. And reciprocally, it’s important for you to trust that your new marketing team can do its job right – and that your baby is in the best hands. Expertise obviously plays a part – but the chemistry you have with your team is just as important, if not even more critical.
- Sneak peeks – In addition to serving up resources and blog posts, it’s important that your potential marketing partner isn’t afraid of giving away a little value before the sale. For example, we like to provide a sample B2B inbound marketing assessment to show qualified prospects some of the low-hanging fruit they could be reaching with a little marketing boost.
- Customer testimonials – Check out the agency’s website, and look around for customer stories, case studies, comments, reviews, etc. The right marketing firm will demonstrate they’ve been solving problems and healing pain points similar to those of your business with great success.
- A true collaboration – Remember you are hiring a partner – ideally someone in it for the long haul who will share in your ups and downs. Though your agency shouldn’t be bending to your every whim either; their flexibility should be tempered with the confidence to push back on your ideas when necessary. Honesty, transparency and communication make for the best engagements.
- Proof in the pudding – As a business owner, you are no stranger to practicality. When clear deliverables are outlined and completed in the early honeymoon stages of the business relationship, you’ll know your partner is taking your business seriously.
Any outsourced marketing turnoffs?
Yes. Yes, there are. Though marketing isn’t exactly open heart surgery, there can still be some seriously crappy consequences to contracting the wrong firm. Keep a look out for these marketing agency malpractices:
- Poor communicators – Communication is the cornerstone to any successful relationship. Flaky, sketchy, inconsistent and/or rude outsourced marketing agencies need not apply.
- Inflated pricing – If your prospective partner has positioned themselves as a “premium” brand, make sure they walk the walk that backs up the talk. When the ROI they claim has not been supported by testimonials, examples or referrals, it may be time for you to look elsewhere.
- Control issues – Sometimes it’s the marketing firms that don’t share the remote! Your agency should recognize that you’ve poured your blood, sweat, tears and a considerable amount of capital into this project, keeping your business needs top-of-mind at all times.
If you’re a B2B business owner suffering from Entrepreneuritis, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. No more marketing migraines! And no witch doctor Voodoo necessary! Outsourcing might just be the solution you’ve been waiting for. Please let us know if you have any questions, and if you’re looking for additional information on outsourced marketing, check out The Essential Outsourced Marketing Handbook: Growing Your Business with an Agency Partner.
May the analytics be ever in your favor! :)