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Strategy & Planning Updated on: May 13, 2024

How to choose the best outsourced B2B SaaS marketing agency

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For a growing business, plotting when and how to build your marketing function is as aggravating as it is important. Good marketers don’t come cheap, and getting set up with an in-house team is both time-consuming and a major commitment. That’s why many SaaS businesses turn to outsourced marketing agencies instead.

We’ve built this guide to help you answer whether outsourcing your marketing function is a good fit for your business model and how to select the right agency that’s equipped to amplify your reach and give a big boost to your lead funnel.

Key takeaways

  • Outsourcing marketing tasks allows you to focus on core business functions while leveraging specialized agency expertise.

  • Key steps in choosing an outsourced SaaS marketing agency include identifying marketing needs, setting clear goals with SMART objectives, evaluating current efforts, and understanding service offerings and industry expertise of potential agencies.

  • Successful collaboration with a marketing agency involves clear communication, setting and tracking KPIs, and ensuring consistency in brand messaging, with the final agency selection considering quality, reputation, and alignment with company goals.

The role of outsourced marketing agencies

Outsourced marketing agencies, offering outsourced marketing services, can be a game-changer for SaaS companies. They provide:

1. Cost savings

Partnering with an outsourced marketing agency can be a great way to cover all your marketing needs without spending extra on bandwidth you don’t need. Especially if you are only beginning your growth journey, you may not need a complete, full-time team of marketing experts.

2. Specialized industry expertise

Marketing expertise is not universal—industry experience is necessary, especially with the unique challenges that come with B2B SaaS. Partnering with an agency that has experience not only in SaaS but in your industry niche is crucial for building an efficient overall marketing strategy.

3. Speed

Hiring an internal team costs more than their salaries; it costs the time and resources it takes to find and hire the right team members. Marketing agencies instead give you as big or as small of a marketing team as you need as soon as you need it.

4. Flexibility

As your business grows, your marketing needs will also change. An outsourced marketing agency can easily adapt the level and type of support they offer you to make sure you’re using the most efficient type and amount of marketing resources you can.

When you are first ramping up marketing, you may need a lot of design and web dev support to put together your branding and website, but later may not have 40 hours of work each week for these team members. With an outsourced team, you can turn up and down support for functions like these as you need so you’re only paying for the work you need.

5. Bandwidth for everything else

This allows your internal teams to focus on core business functions. Instead of needing to do marketing on the side while still managing the rest of your business, outsourcing your marketing gives you instant bandwidth.

Identifying your marketing needs

Before you can choose an outsourced marketing agency, you need to:

  1. Set your marketing budget

  2. Identify your specific marketing needs and set objectives

  3. Review your marketing program and decide which functions could benefit from outsourcing

Set your marketing budget

Creating your marketing budget requires considering what you can pay and what you need to pay to hit your growth goals. Your overall budget can be broken down into two categories: one-time foundational expenses, such as building a website, and continuous expenses, such as your team’s salary or the monthly cost of an agency. The cost of an outsourced marketing department will depend on the scope and complexity of the services, the size of the outsourced team, and the hours worked.

Setting clear objectives

Setting clear objectives is the foundation of a successful partnership with a marketing agency. Utilizing the SMART goal framework can help you set detailed goals that aid in the agency evaluation process. When sharing goals with the agency, it’s important to ensure they are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Actionable

  • Relevant

  • Time-bound

Once you’ve partnered with an agency, it’s also important to establish a marketing service agreement. This agreement clarifies the responsibilities and expectations between your SaaS company and the marketing agency, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

Evaluating current marketing efforts

To identify where you have room for improvement and what kind of support you’ll benefit from the most, you’ll first need to evaluate the sum of your current marketing. This involves identifying strategies such as lead generation tactics, email workflows, and attention to the buyer’s journey, along with setting up conversion points for free trials and customer signups.

Analyzing channel-specific metrics can also help you fine-tune your marketing spend, redirecting resources towards channels that effectively convert trial users into paying customers. An internal review of existing marketing tactics and comparing them with future marketing goals can help establish a clear baseline for improvement and further action.

What to look for in an outsourced SaaS marketing agency

When selecting an outsourced SaaS marketing agency, it’s important to prioritize agencies with substantial industry experience and the right expertise to tackle the unique challenges of the SaaS marketplace. An effective agency should offer tailored solutions and develop campaigns that begin with listening to your needs and crafting personalized strategies for sustainable growth.

You also need to consider whether a generalist agency with a broader range of services or a specialist agency focused on specific marketing tactics aligns better with your specific marketing needs. This decision will depend on your marketing goals, budget, and the complexity of your marketing efforts.

Industry experience and expertise

Agencies with industry experience and expertise can provide valuable insights and strategies for sustainable growth. For instance, agencies like Kalungi, Directive Consulting, and Refine Labs, offer tailored services specifically designed for the needs of B2B tech companies to make the marketing services they offer as efficient and effective as possible. A strong track record in dominating search visibility, increasing web traffic, and generating qualified leads is a good indicator of an agency’s capabilities.

Focus on results

A great Saas marketing agency team will always care more about the results they’re providing than the deliverables they generate. Their business model should reflect this too. When researching and meeting with potential agencies, note whether they come in offering leads, MQLs, customers, and ROI or simply deliverables like a website, brand guide, and so on. These deliverables are the core to building your marketing function but if they are the agency’s focus, they may not be focused on creating quality materials as well as testing and refining their approach in increase growth and ROI.

To guarantee that our team is as focused on the outcomes of your marketing efforts as you are Kalungi works under a unique pay-for-performance model as a part of all our full-service engagements. Learn more about how that works here.

Comprehensive service offerings vs. specialty support

Depending on why you’re looking for a marketing agency, there might be some that are more fit to meet your needs than others. If you’re looking for a few skilled digital marketers to improve your search rankings, you might consider reaching out to a few agencies or freelance professionals within that arena of work. 

On the other hand, if your B2B SaaS company needs more than just one or two marketing professionals to take you to the next step, you should consider a full-service marketing firm with the right people to get the job done.  A full-service SaaS marketing agency should offer everything from outbound sales to inbound and digital marketing, from ABM to organic SEO. If you’re doing this, you might as well do it right! 

Comprehensive digital marketing services from a digital marketing agency can reduce complexity and improve the efficiency and consistency of your marketing efforts. SaaS marketing agencies like Kalungi, NinjaPromo, Victorious SEO, Thrive Agency, Straight North, SmartSites, and Ignite Visibility offer a wide selection of services including:

  • Go-to-marketing workshops

  • Social media management

  • Content marketing

  • SEO

  • Paid media

  • Web and graphic design

  • Email marketing

  • Account-based marketing

  • Conversion-rate optimization

  • Influencer marketing

  • PR

  • Video

Every company’s needs are different so don’t settle for a standardized offering or bundle of services. An effective marketing agency will help build the right suite of services for your business so that you’re only paying for the ones you need.

Client testimonials and case studies

Client testimonials and case studies can provide valuable insights into an agency’s reliability and results. Success stories and customer testimonials can build trust and credibility. They also are a good indicator of the size and industry of companies that an agency has worked with in the past. If they’ve mostly worked with enterprise clients in the past, for example, then they may not have the right services offerings or approach for a younger, rapidly-expanding SaaS company.

How to evaluate potential SaaS marketing agencies

Evaluating potential SaaS marketing agencies involves the following steps:

  1. Initial research

  2. Shortlisting

  3. Requesting proposals

  4. Assessing fit

Limit your shortlist to between three and five marketing agencies, then look at each contender in detail to ensure a thorough evaluation.

You can request samples of reports, previous work, and case studies from the agencies. This will help you evaluate their expertise and capabilities. An RFP can help manage proposals and ensure necessary information is provided. It’s also crucial to inquire about their unique offerings and reporting practices.

Initial research and shortlisting

To start the selection process, look to both curated lists of top performing agencies and your own research (Pro tip: our competitor research template can easily be repurposed for collecting your research on agencies).

Remember to consider factors such as experience, expertise, and cost when creating your shortlist. It’s important to identify agencies that can effectively meet your marketing needs within your budget.

Requesting proposals and assessing fit

Once you’ve shortlisted potential agencies, it’s time to contact them and detail your specific needs. This allows the agency to prepare a tailored proposal.

Before formalizing a partnership, scrutinize the contract to ensure all terms are understood and acceptable. Opting for a short-term contract can serve as a trial period to evaluate the efficacy of the agency partnership before committing to a longer-term arrangement.

Making the final decision

The final step once you’ve done the groundwork, met with agency teams, and heard their proposals, is to choose which SaaS marketing agency to work with. Trust your instincts at this stage and also consider who seems like you would actually enjoy working with on a personal level - you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them!

Tips for a successful partnership with your outsourced SaaS marketing agency

A successful partnership with an outsourced SaaS marketing agency and their marketing team requires:

  • Effective communication

  • Setting expectations

  • Measuring progress

  • Collaborating on strategy and execution

Using technology platforms such as Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and email can significantly enhance the flow of communication between you and the agency.

For a successful partnership, it is essential to set clear expectations from the start, clearly define roles and responsibilities, and schedule regular progress updates.

Effective communication

Clear and effective communication is key to a successful partnership with an outsourced marketing agency. To maintain this, follow these steps:

  1. Define communication protocols.

  2. Establish a schedule for regular progress updates and status meetings.

  3. Conduct regular meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Transparency and feedback are also fundamental for successful collaboration. Sharing industry trends, customer feedback, and internal changes that may affect marketing strategies can help the agency tailor their services to fit your needs.

Setting expectations and measuring progress

Setting specific goals and KPIs that align with your business objectives is crucial when working with a marketing agency. These could include website traffic, lead generation, and customer retention rates.

Regular tracking and evaluation of KPIs allow for ongoing adjustments to marketing strategies. Adjustments ensure that marketing strategies stay aligned with your business objectives, driving your business towards growth.

Collaborating on strategy and execution

To effectively collaborate with an agency on strategy and execution, you need to share insights and data. This will help create a marketing strategy that is specific to your SaaS product’s unique value proposition and objectives.

Consistency in branding and messaging must be ensured across all marketing channels and campaigns when working with an outsourced agency to protect your brand identity. To achieve this, you can:

  1. Provide clear goals and guidelines to the agency.

  2. Share access details for your brand assets and platforms.

  3. Actively review data and performance through marketing dashboards.

By following these steps, you can retain some level of control over your brand’s identity and messaging.

Feel good about your decision

With the right agency, you can navigate the unique challenges of SaaS marketing, maximize your marketing efforts, and drive your business towards growth. Remember, it’s not just about choosing an agency with the right skills and experience. It’s about finding a marketing partner that understands your business and shares your vision for success.

Ready to see how Kalungi's B2B SaaS marketing services can help your business?

Partner with our team of SaaS marketing specialists, led by an experienced fractional CMO, to build and execute on a tailored go-to-market strategy designed for sustainable growth.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is SaaS marketing important?

SaaS marketing is important because it drives business growth, customer acquisition, and retention while effectively marketing products and services.

What are the unique challenges in SaaS marketing?

The unique challenges in SaaS marketing include differentiation in a competitive market, understanding specific metrics, and navigating complex sales cycles. These are key areas that SaaS companies need to focus on to succeed.

What should I look for in an outsourced marketing agency?

When choosing an outsourced SaaS marketing agency, prioritize industry experience, tailored solutions, comprehensive services, and positive client testimonials and case studies to ensure a reliable and effective partnership.

How do I evaluate potential SaaS marketing agencies?

When evaluating potential SaaS marketing agencies, start by conducting initial research, shortlist the agencies, request proposals, assess their fit with your business needs, and then make your final decision.

What are some tips for a successful partnership with an outsourced marketing agency?

To have a successful partnership with an outsourced marketing agency, it is crucial to maintain effective communication, set clear expectations, measure progress regularly, and collaborate on strategy and execution. These elements are key in ensuring a productive and impactful relationship.

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