The B2B agency-model is broken – ep 14

How B2B consultancies and agencies should work with your tech company

So, this episode of the Electric B2B Show emerged out of this conversation on Linkedin, but it’s actually rooted in a previous discussion we had with a client.

The harsh reality is, most B2B agencies are not rowing in the same direction, as you – their client. That’s because most agencies’ revenue model makes it necessary for them to sell more and more work and projects to you, and deliver them in a standardized way. This goal will sometimes align with your revenue operations’ or marketing’s actual needs, but the more mature your marketing grows, the less adequate it will be. Let me explain.

When you don’t yet have things figured out in a certain area of marketing, it makes sense to outsource it to experts. For example: you need SEO results, but lack the expertise in-house to create strategy, test and develop processes. It totally makes sense to bring on consultants or an agency.

However, as your company starts to see results, your agency/consultancy may drift into this slightly schizophrenic state, where they want to help you, but at the same time, they want you to be dependent on them. They want to keep selling you fish, but not teach you how to fish.

If you want a more dramatic but accurate analogy: think of those evil doctors who are looking to put people on treatments, but never actually want to heal them, so as to force them to keep coming back. In medicine, this is considered malpractice and people have been jailed (rightly so) for choosing this route.

In business, it seems to be an accepted norm. This, we believe, is morally wrong and Klear is here to change it. Your consultant/agency should be invested in your long-term success.

A much better scenario for the above SEO example is this:

  1. the SEO agency does strategy and execution for you
  2. as you scale they help you create SEO processes in your department
  3. they then help you hire SEO people and train them
  4. if needed, they stick around and consult with you on strategy in the long run

When you’re on the market, looking for marketing or business development help – or for that matter, most any professional service – make sure you get clear on your potential partner’s willingness to help you insource their activities. You want to specifically have them share their processes with you and help you hire for the work they are doing.

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