There are thousands of agencies in the marketing ecosystem…how are you supposed to pick the best fit for your tech company? Is it the one with big-name clients and fancy awards? Or the start-up shop that’s nimble and affordable?
Spoiler: this blog post doesn’t have the magic answer.
Instead, here are the top questions we recommend asking during your agency interview process.
(And if you want to ask them of us, just send a message.)
Do you have expertise in my industry?
We’ve heard it time and time again…very few agencies actually “get” the nuances of marketing for a B2B software or tech company. In fact, according to our recent survey, a steep learning curve is the #1 challenge tech companies face when outsourcing work.
Don’t just take our word for it…survey respondents said their “dream” agency would be a company:
- with a vast knowledge of SaaS and our prospect/customer industries
- who gets our industry and can assist with messaging and generating conversions
- already knows our business, our market and exactly what we need to do to expand our business
- who could get up-to-speed quickly and who doesn't need supervision
That’s why you need to choose an agency who has extensive experience working with companies who are similar to yours. They’ll be able to create content quickly, produce work with fewer revisions and understand which marketing tactics are best to try first. After all, advertising a bottle of vitamin water is much different than selling a SaaS product to a Fortune 500 company.
Don’t be afraid that a specialized agency is going to blab your company secrets to a competitor…we’re used to signing NDAs. And honestly, even if tech companies are pretty similar on the surface, there are so many differences in goals and strategies behind-the-scenes that their marketing plans would actually look quite different.
How experienced are you with my tech stack?
Any agency can come up with a smart strategy and design a pretty mock-up…but who’s responsible for making it actually “work” behind-the-scenes? Tech marketers like you are definitely NOT developers, so you need an agency who’s got your back when you need help troubleshooting a bug or integrating an outside platform.
If you’re a HubSpot user, for example, make sure the agency you use has a dedicated technologist on staff to be that power resource. It’s a bonus if there are other people at the agency who can do “light” work—like publishing blog posts or sending emails—but there should be at least one person who is WAY more advanced than you are in your technology platforms.
Self-promo alert: here’s more info about our mad HubSpot skills.
What specialists do you have on staff?
Is the agency you choose going to be responsible for every part of your marketing plan? Odds are not. In fact, according to our recent survey tech companies only outsource about 20% of all marketing work to an agency.
If you’re like most of the marketers who answered this survey, you’re probably keeping stuff like strategy, reporting and social media in-house, but need help with more specialized tactics, like PPC, design and writing.
Take stock of what skill sets you have in-house (including your own!) and see where there are gaps. Your agency needs to have these experts on staff or you’re going to be supplementing with another resource.
Self-promo alert: meet the team of experts behind our full-service agency.
How do you communicate with clients?
We may be biased because one of our agency’s core values is “communicate with clarity,” but a good Account Manager can make or break the client/agency relationship. In fact, most of the clients we onboard have worked with another agency in the past…and were majorly burned by a lack of communication and transparency.
Here are some things you should ask to make sure everyone is on the same page with their communication style:
- Will we have an Account Manager as our main point of contact? Will we still be allowed to talk directly with specialists as needed?
- Do you use an online project management system?
- Will we have regularly scheduled meetings?
- When do we review campaign performance?
- If I have a quick question, how long will it take for you to respond with an answer?
- How can we see what we’re being charged for during our retainer?