With the constantly-changing marketing landscape, companies need knowledgeable professionals who can provide effective solutions to drive revenue growth. When it comes to growing your business, one crucial step is knowing how to choose the right B2B marketing consultant for your business.
After you have defined your goal and budget, set a deadline, and come up with a list of potential candidates, schedule a consultation call or meeting with each one of them. Choose a professional with experience in digital marketing who has worked with similar businesses and is ready to develop a unique marketing strategy for your specific case.
Hiring a skilled B2B marketing consultant could be the key to unlocking new sales opportunities and boosting the performance of your organization.
However, finding the right consultant that understands your operations while providing a return on investment can be daunting. Searching for someone with deep domain expertise in B2B marketing strategies and tactics is essential if you want to make an informed decision.
In this blog post, we’ll look at how you can determine if a potential consultant is the right fit for your business.
How to Choose the Right B2B Marketing Consultant for Your Business
Determine Your Goal
First, you need to set a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) goal. If you have a clear benchmark from the beginning, it will be easier for you to select the right candidate.
Identifying your areas of weakness can help with the goal-setting process. Keep the reason why you started looking for the marketing consultant in mind.
For example, you might already have an in-house creative who is great at generating and executing ideas but needs help with the marketing strategy.
Also, make sure that you have an answer to the question “How will the partnership between you and the marketing consultant be considered successful?”.
Define Your Budget
B2B companies typically spend anywhere between 2% and 15% of their revenue on marketing. This includes the cost of software, the salaries of the experts, and the cost of content creation and advertising.
When choosing your budget, make sure to take the main goal into consideration. If the reward that you’re going to gain is substantial, then you might want to direct a slightly bigger chunk of the budget toward B2B marketing.
Come Up with a Decision-Making Hierarchy
Though this step is especially important for organizations with multiple stakeholders and departments, smaller businesses that have quite a few staff members should take it into consideration as well.
You have to decide who will ultimately own the decision-making process and who should stay informed about how the process is going.
Create a Brief with Scope-of-Work Requirements
Make sure that you have a documented brief in the form of a Request for Proposal or a Request for Information.
This will help show the teammates what you have agreed on. Such a document would also benefit the potential marketing consultants as they will be able to understand your requirements from the very beginning.
Set a Deadline
Have a clear deadline for every stage of the process. This will help avoid wasting your time, effort, and money.
Where to Look for a B2B Marketing Consultant?
Now that you have prepared yourself and your team, the person responsible for this part of the project can start looking for potential candidates using one of the following resources:
- Referrals – ask for recommendations from other business owners.
- Online directories – for example, Clutch.
- LinkedIn – find a marketing consultant based on location, industry, or expertise.
- Industry associations – the American Marketing Association and the Business Marketing Association can help you find specialists in your area.
- Google search – though a simple Google search can assist you in finding the right consultant, you would have to spend additional time on vetting the candidates.
What Factors to Consider When Choosing a B2B Marketing Consultant?
- Budget – look for a specialist who can generate a good ROI and provide value for your investment. Don’t forget to ask the consultant about the billing protocol (is there a fixed hourly rate or would you have to pay for the whole project?).
- Expertise – the potential candidate has to have expertise in the specific areas where you need help (SEO, website development, social media, PPC advertising, etc.). By the way, the marketing consultant that is right for you doesn’t have to have a traditional MBA degree (only 11% of marketing leaders have an MBA). Instead, look for someone with experience in digital marketing and data analytics.
- Experience – ideally, you would want to find a professional who has already worked with businesses that are similar to yours in terms of industry, marketing goals, and size. Ask for client samples and proof of efficacy through metrics or KPIs achieved through their work.
- Communication – the consultant should be communicating both clearly and regularly. The expert should also be able to explain complex strategies in an easy-to-understand manner and listen to feedback attentively.
- Compatibility – finally, you should feel comfortable working with the expert that you have chosen. If the consultant is not a great fit for your company culture, then you might want to find another professional.
How to choose the right B2B marketing consultant for your business? If you have a clearly defined goal and budget, finding the perfect expert with relevant experience will become a lot easier.
Remember that, ultimately, hiring a successful B2B marketing consultant is about investing in a strong internal marketing team. So, even though you might have short-term goals, always consider how such an addition to the team can help in the long term.
Rich Carango is president of Schubert b2b. Starting at Schubert in 1994, Rich now heads the agency in creating effective IMC campaigns, PR campaigns, advertising, brochures, direct mail, logos, websites, multimedia and content. Rich holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in design from American University. When Rich is not in the office he enjoys spending time with his wife and children and is a huge history buff.