So you’ve decided that you want to prioritise inbound marketing, and now it’s time to choose an agency partner. With so many options out there, how do you choose who to sign with? We’ve put together these 9 questions every business should ask before hiring an inbound agency to save yourself time and resources and help you reach your goals faster.
1. What are my business goals?
It’s important to know before you begin speaking with inbound agencies what your business goals are. And no, we don’t mean traffic or leads or even revenue goals. We’re talking about those big, overarching goals like “to be the foremost authority on cyber security in the UK” or “to have agency branches all over the world.”
These goals may feel irrelevant to inbound marketing, but they couldn’t be more important. Make sure you know the answer to these questions. You’ll notice which agencies focus on the short-term easy wins and which ones are enthusiastic about your long-term ambitions.
2. What are my KPIs?
This is where we get into things like traffic, leads, revenue goals, etc. A great inbound agency can help you set these goals, but it’s important to go into the initial discovery meetings knowing what metrics are important to you. Pro tip: your business goals may help inform your KPIs.
3. Does the agency have experience with businesses like mine?
A few weeks ago on the train, our Client Success Manager Sam got into a conversation with someone about marketing, and they asked if the agency would want to work with him. Now normally this is an agency’s dream – clients pouring in from everywhere, even on a train! But the kicker was that his business was an ecommerce shop selling budget lingerie.
Now, we could have put together a strategy for him, but that’s not exactly our wheelhouse. We are passionate about helping ambitious B2B companies grow faster, and as a result of that focus, the lingerie company doesn’t exactly match with our speciality or interest as an agency.
There is an agency out there for every type of business. The important thing is making sure they get your industry and your target audience, and that usually comes from experience.
4. Do they have experience with the tools I want to use?
As HubSpot Platinum Partners, we understand better than anyone the importance of being truly ingrained in a marketing tool or platform. Knowing the software inside and out is key to our success as an agency, and similarly any agencies you work with should understand the value of having a tool they use across the agency.
This doesn’t mean their knowledge isn’t transferable to other platforms – on the contrary, we find our HubSpot knowledge gives us great context for working in systems like Marketo or Eloqua – but it means that there will be a specialist agency out there for any tool you choose, and it’s worth while to speak to those people first.
5. What are the capabilities for growth with this agency?
If you’re an ambitious company like the ones we work with, you probably have plans of some sort to scale and automate, both in your marketing efforts and as a business. This is where the real power lies when it comes to generating revenue. When you’re speaking with inbound agencies, it’s great to make sure they understand KPIs and can write good content, but it’s equally as important to determine if they’re up to the task of scaling as you speed along your trajectory.
6. Does their skill set complement my internal team?
Most businesses looking to hire inbound agencies also have internal resources at their disposal. It’s important to look for an agency whose skill set doesn’t cancel out your internal resources or sit on the other end of the spectrum, but rather that work well alongside them.
For example, you may have an internal marketing person who is great with the data side of things, so you need an agency with strategy and content creation chops. Or perhaps your internal resource is a writing prodigy – in this case, you would want an agency resource that could create and implement a strategy to get that great content in front of as many buyers as possible.
7. Do we work well together?
Similar to skill sets, complementary working styles are important as well. While it’s fully possible to learn how to work well together, early miscommunications and frustrations could be a sign of how things will go down the line, especially when the stakes are high.
8. How is the agency innovating?
The digital world changes so frequently, along with the way consumers behave, that it’s imperative to find an agency with its finger on the pulse regarding new content formats, new platforms and new strategies. If you’re not innovating, you’re stagnating. Having an agency that thinks ahead and stays relevant will be invaluable for your business as you scale and evolve.
9. Can they demonstrate results?
At the end of the day, the most important quality in an agency isn’t how fun they are, or their location, or their roster. What’s important is that they can deliver results for their clients. Never be afraid to ask for examples of past results. The agencies that don’t have them will flounder at this question, while the agencies that do have them will display their results proudly, like our blog post about how we helped Lumi increase marketing ROI by 758%.
Whoever you choose, it’s important that you view your inbound agency as a strategic partner. With their strategies and your product or service, you’ll be able to grow your marketing (and therefore your revenue) immensely, but only if you choose the right partner.
To determine if BBD Boom might be the right strategic partner agency for you, click here to learn more and get in touch.