Top 3 Ways to Maximize Your Search for a B2B Agency

For more than 25 years, The Bedford Group has managed agency searches across categories, disciplines and geographies in both B2B and B2C. The following are our top 3 tips for B2B search:

Build consensus from the start
Since many B2B organizations are highly matrixed enterprises with diverse product lines, and specific audience demographics, it’s important to involve key business unit leaders from the start of the search.  The process should be a consensus-building exercise for all stakeholders, those who take a leadership role, and those who guide product  communications..  Waiting until the final agency presentation for executive involvement can derail the search and/or create dissenting pockets within the organization going forward.   

(For thought: How is building consensus from the start any different from a B2C agency search? Should we leave, or replace with a more B2B specific tip?)

Expand criteria beyond direct category experience
When establishing agency search parameters, clients oftentimes place too much emphasis on direct category experience.  While the agencies  ideally should have a thorough understanding of the category, more important is their intellectual bandwidth to communicate with multiple segments across complicated lines of business.

Filter out the “fakers”
Throughout the search, plant a few “filters” to validate whether or not the agency truly grasps the target groups and “speaks their language.”  With a recent financial services client, we executed this by having the candidates complete a business banking questionnaire which revealed whether or not they were using the necessary “tribal code” (e.g. using “financing” rather than “loan” when speaking to a CFO-level target).

Hiring a new agency is not an easy process, particularly in the B2B space.  But by removing the guesswork and establishing the right metrics to guide the review, you can build a foundation for a productive, long lasting agency relationship.

 

About The Bedford Group

The Bedford Group is an Atlanta based Marketing Management Consulting firm that has been in operation since 1986. It has built its reputation on marketing organization supportagency search and relationship management and strategic marketing consulting.  Unlike traditional advertising consultants, The Bedford Group looks beyond traditional marketing disciplines to solve complex, enterprise-wide issues for efficient resource management and improving marketing ROI. For more information about our services, please contact Kerry Kielb at 404.237.4565 or kkielb@bedfordgroupconsulting.com.