Finding the right B2B web agency is one of the most significant decisions an  organization can make. Because many decisions are made based on long checklists of requirements and one-way directives that offer little to no opportunity for the right agency to shine. As a result, the chosen web agency is often selected without a marketer ever truly getting the sense of what it’s like to work with them. Findings from Gartner’s Follow Four Steps to Find the Right Agency provide great insight on how to create a successful and seamless process for finding your next agency to work with. We’ve expanded on their excellent points with insights from our own Business Development Team. Check it out below.

Align internally before starting your search

As a B2B web agency, we understand that your website will serve and benefit every level and department of your business. That’s why it is critical to get the key players together and discuss what each one wants or needs from the new website. It also helps to know the things that they currently enjoy about the site and don’t want to be taken away.

When friction evolves from the various internal stakeholders, it makes the project harder on everyone, including your future vendor choice. Investing the time to align the needs of your internal stakeholders prior to moving forward can reduce the friction and risk of conflict during the final stages of selection as well as throughout the duration of your B2B web project.

Get web agencies excited about working with you

As the report states, “good agencies turn away more pitches than they accept, but marketers often make the mistake of assuming their business is desirable and don’t put enough effort into getting agencies excited about working with them.” This is an issue that may also arise from not aligning your internal members needs and wants for the new website.

“I couldn’t agree more. Often times companies pull together very factual, emotionless RFP’s that have nothing but rules and regulations on how they’d like to receive the content of the RFP. As an agency and potential partner, get me excited about your project and let your corporate culture shine through your RFP and you will get the same in return!” – Lauren Hanson

Working with B2B websites day-in-and-out, we know one of the number rules is to never assume. We never assume any user is aware of what a B2B company offers or that they understand the terminology we use in our content. The same should go for your agency selection. Never assume a vendor wants to work with you just because you show interest.

Build an RFP around the business problem, not the solution

Gartner says that the biggest suggestion they hear from agencies and marketers is to keep the RFP focused on your business goals, while leaving the path to achieving those goals open to the agency’s interpretation and unique capabilities.

“Being in Business Development, I’ve had my fair share of completing Request for Proposals, or RFP’s. And if we’re being completely honest, RFP’s can sometimes, well…suck. Many times I find myself spending hours on responding, answering the impersonal nature of questions and perfecting the format, only to receive a response that provides no clear answer as to what went into their final decision or why they went with another vendor.” – Dawn Gadless

When conducting an RFP, some of the business problems you should consider are:

  • Pains with the current website
  • Your competitor’s websites
  • Target audience
  • Project timeline
  • Special functionality needed
  • Budget
  • Content Management System

Invest in a collaborative courtship

If you’re on the hunt for a B2B web agency, chances are the reason is because your company realizes they lack some sort of creative aspect to do the project in-house. Too often companies forget this and try to take the reigns on the project. This ‘design by committee’ approach often leads to a friction between the client and the web agency.

“We are creative! This is what we do. So please allow us to present the material in the way that allows us to best showcases our capabilities and how we can provide suggested solutions to the challenges you face. (Instead of dictating the size of the font we provide the proposal back in).” – Lauren Hanson

A good B2B web agency knows just as well as a good marketer whether or not a partnership is right for both parties. At emagine, we’ve turned down many clients who didn’t fit our mold or simply didn’t value the same things we did. If a vendor turns you down before you get the chance, don’t fret. Take it as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be and keep searching.

It’s just like dating where when you know…you just know!

Read 5 more tips for your digital marketing agency search.