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Written by Steve Dang on May 27 , 2020

In SaaS, goals and plans often change fast — you need a marketing agency that can keep up.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How marketing agencies can benefit SaaS brands
  • What questions to ask potential agencies
  • How to prepare before you start searching
  • What red flags to look out for

Whether you’re building your company from the ground up or are slated for a near-future IPO, there are tons of benefits for SaaS brands looking to partner with a digital marketing agency. After all, a strong marketing strategy is key to properly targeting your audience and expanding your reach.

Working with an agency is one way to focus on growing your business while knowing your initiatives are in good hands. But how can you determine which SaaS marketing agency is right for you? Let’s find out.

hawksem: saas marketing agency

Once you’ve decided to look into partnering with an agency, there are steps to take before you start scheduling consultations. (Image via Rawpixel)

Know when it’s time to partner with an agency

Whether you’ve been operating your marketing program in-house or were working with a consultant, there are some signs that’ll tell you it might be time to partner with an agency. SaaS companies are fast-growing by nature. If you’re looking to scale your business, working with an experienced agency just makes sense.

With an agency, you get the perks of having multiple people with years of experience working on your marketing efforts without having to put together a full-time team yourself, which can end up costing a lot of money and time. For SaaS companies in search of top marketing talent, agencies can serve as a one-stop shop for PPC, SEO, and everything in between.

Clearly define your marketing goals

Once you’ve decided to explore a partnership, there are steps to take before you start scheduling consultations. Namely, you need to have your digital marketing goals clearly defined. Knowing your company’s roadmap is also helpful during this process, but the nature of SaaS is that roadmaps can change quickly — and often. A good SaaS marketing agency will understand that.

Whether you want to focus on one aspect of digital marketing (like PPC) or experiment with a few, you’ll likely find the most success through partnering with a well-rounded agency.

That’s because agencies with multiple specialties will be able to offer you suggestions for new programs or campaign approaches that have worked well for them in the past, versus simply sticking to one SaaS marketing vertical.

hawksem blog: saas marketing agency

Lead scoring is crucial for a strong SaaS marketing strategy, so make sure the agency you work with is doing it. (Image via Rawpixel)

Look for a SaaS marketing agency with experience

This may seem obvious, but it can’t be overstated how beneficial (and time-saving) it’ll be to find an agency with experience in your industry. Digital marketing strategies aren’t one size fits all. 

When you find an agency with SaaS experience, there’s a good chance they already have insight into things like:

Pro tip: Lead scoring is crucial for a strong SaaS marketing strategy. Ideally, you want the agency you work with to do end-to-end attribution, which means optimizing for business outcomes (and signed deals and contracts) rather than just leads.

Ask them how they’d optimize your program

During your searching and vetting process, you may encounter SaaS marketing agencies that boast incredibly impressive results and make big promises. While they should be able to show you past successes, make sure that they don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well.

One effective way to discern which agencies can actually deliver on their projections is by getting them to check out your program (if you already have one in place). Ask them what they recommend doing differently to achieve better results. Even a mini-analysis should give you helpful insight into their process, how they communicate, and whether or not they truly know their stuff.

Pro tip: The agency you choose should have a deep understanding of the SaaS sales process, which often means longer sales cycles and more emphasis on demos

Look out for any red flags

Under-delivering isn’t the only red flag you should be on the lookout for. While different agencies operate in different ways and work with the resources they have, you want to feel like you’re in good hands. 

Knowing you’ll be working with an experienced account manager instead of a more junior-level specialist is a great start. Having more than one person working on your account is also beneficial. This means you get the benefit of more combined skills, and leaves you less vulnerable to issues or hiccups if someone goes on leave or exits the company.

Low cost with a high promised return can be another red flag. In digital marketing, as in most aspects of business, you generally get what you pay for. If a firm offers a surprisingly low cost, that may mean they’re outsourcing your account to more low-level analysts who rely too much on automation and not enough on a personalized approach.

hawksem: saas marketing agency blog

Even if an agency checks all the boxes, if something feels off to you, don’t ignore it. (Image via Rawpixel)

Follow your instincts

There’s only so much vetting you can do before choosing a SaaS marketing agency, and no crystal ball can predict if your partnership will work out. Along with all of the tips outlined above, it’s most important to go with your gut.

Pay attention to how these potential agencies communicate with you: Do they seem to have positive attitudes? Are they transparent and clear? Do they seem organized and in the loop when it comes to SaaS marketing trends?

Even if an agency checks all the boxes, if something feels off to you, don’t ignore it, or you may be kicking yourself months down the road.

Pro tip: Don’t fall for a company that touts itself based solely on a few top-tier clients or how long they’ve been in business. While these can be signs of a good agency, you still want to see if they’re a good fit by doing your homework and asking for actionable insights into your current program.

The takeaway

Working with a marketing agency that’s experienced in the SaaS space means less time spent onboarding and familiarizing, and more time pinpointing exactly what changes need to be made to improve your program.

By knowing what to look for in a potential agency, you can partner with a team of knowledgeable experts that can transform your digital marketing and help you stand out from the competition.

Wondering how HawkSEM has achieved success for SaaS brands? Let’s talk.

Steve Dang

Steve Dang

    Steve Dang is Director of Digital Marketing & Strategy at HawkSEM. He's got more than 10 years of experience leading digital teams and revenue growth, working with clients in SaaS, FinTech, E-commerce, higher education, financial services, and more. In his spare time, Steve enjoys long runs, long swims, and long books.

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