Proteus B2B is a marketing consulting firm specializing in repositioning B2B companies and their brands through positioning strategy, content marketing, B2B social media, B2B SEO, and B2B email marketing

5 Questions

If you operate in a business-to-business environment and you’re considering retaining or changing marketing firms or ad agencies, it’s important that you select one that’s savvy about and almost exclusively focused on B2B marketing.

You’ll want to ask prospective candidates five questions. Ask them verbally; they’re easy questions that shouldn’t require time to frame a response.

How does B2B marketing differ from B2C marketing?

A B2B marketing specialist can clearly articulate what makes business-to-business marketing different than business-to-consumer marketing. Similarities between B2B and B2C are superficial and quickly end when you delve into complex B2B marketing challenges. Competent B2B specialists should be able to list about 10 differences off the top of their head. There are 15 easy ones here.

What percentage of your clients are B2B companies?

If their client list is not exclusively or heavily weighted toward B2B clients, chances are their experience with and understanding of B2B challenges is limited. The broader their client list, the more likely they’re generalists, lacking the specialization and experience to solve complex B2B marketing issues. How do you know if a firm specializes in B2B? At least 75 percent of their clients will be business-to-business clients. Firms with less than this are typically generalists seeking to serve anyone and everyone.

If they’ve set up a B2B “division,” you’ll want to know whether people in that division work exclusively in that division. If not, the “division” is likely just for marketing purposes.

What percentage of your annual revenue is derived to B2B clients?

This is a great question to ask. While the client mix may appear diverse or even predominantly business-to-business, one or two large, media-heavy, consumer clients may actually dominate the company, its resources, and its focus. Again, we’d recommend at least 75 percent of revenues come from B2B.

How are you compensated for your services?

Beware of complicated compensation formulas that include media placement commissions and mark-ups on outsourced services. If they offer lower fees and rely on media commissions and mark-ups to round out their compensation, their recommendations will favor initiatives that generate income for them. Complex compensation models like these are prevalent in media-heavy consumer agencies—and they’re a good indicator as to where their focus lies.

Who are your three newest clients, and why did they retain you?

First of all, if you’re looking for expert help in business-to-business marketing, you’d hope all three new clients would be B2B clients.

The reasons why these clients retained the firm don’t have to match the reasons for your search; every client situation is different. People’s answers, however, will give you some solid clues regarding their knowledge of and insights into B2B marketing issues.

B2B Marketing Resources

Image of Proteus B2Bs B2B Email Marketing Best Practices eBook, with more than 130 email marketing strategies for B2B marketers
HTML   Text

Proteus SEO specializes in B2B SEO, search engine optimization for B2B websites. Only B2B. Only SEO.

About Proteus B2B Marketing

Proteus B2B is a marketing consulting firm specializing in repositioning business-to-business companies and their brands. We help companies identify and migrate to positions of market leadership where their brands have few credible substitutes in the marketplace.