As Australia experiences its most significant talent shortage in recent history and the great resignation causing fissures in marketing teams across the country, hundreds of scaling SaaS organisations just like yours are stepping into the ring to fight for in-house marketing guns.
Not surprisingly, on the wish list of all growing businesses is a left-brain/right-brain marketing genius who is experienced in your industry, available five days, and cheaper than an agency.
But is this still the cleverest route to scaling? With all digital marketing skills in short supply, and marketers - especially the good ones, in extremely high demand, many SaaS organisations are experiencing long hiring delays and are groaning under the weight of the increased salaries marketers now demand.
As a result, many SaaS leaders are turning to b2b marketing agency partnerships to sustain momentum. While this may not be your first choice, there are some surprising facts that may just make you feel better about pivoting your execution plan.
1. Hiring and onboarding a full-time inhouse marketer takes much longer than an agency
According to Majer Recruitment, the current time to hire a marketing person is 82 days. That’s nearly three months! And that doesn’t take into account the time required for onboarding and training a new staff member.
Conversely, a marketing agency like Brand chemistry can perform a complete marketing program handover in just 14 days. This can include the agency doing a brand immersion, as well as taking ownership of current and planned campaign execution, sales and marketing alignment and collaboration, data logic, technology, content, thought leadership, ABM, paid marketing and SEO.
Because an agency like ours typically houses an expert team, activities are not bottle-necked with a single learner, and are instead absorbed by several experts concurrently. This assists with speed and efficiency in the handover.
"The handover and onboarding process with Brand chemistry was logical and efficient. In the space of two short weeks, the Bc team was on top of our entire marketing program and we had a 6-month plan in place to maintain our momentum, keep the sales pipeline fuelled and launch some exciting new initiatives." Tim Brown, Head of Brand and Marketing, Outfit
68 days is the difference between a hot marketing hire and a quality agency handover. Its an eternity in a scaling SaaS’s world. If you, like many growth-focused leaders, find yourself either losing key marketing personnel, or unable to find key people, why not explore the speed, efficiency and continuity of working with a marketing agency instead?
2. The comparative cost of an inhouse marketer vs. a b2b marketing agency might surprise you
For the first time that we can remember, thanks to the skills shortage, the average annual salary for a digital marketer is more than Bc’s average 12-month retainer for a SaaS organisation.
Salaries for experienced digital marketers are averaging out at $119,000 per annum. When you add the typical 20% of employment costs, you’re looking at $142,800 for a single person.
Naturally, Brand chemistry’s retainer contracts vary according to the amounts of work that need to be delivered. But a typical SaaS retainer contract is around $120,000 + GST.
Of course, you don’t get as many hours for your budget as you would an inhouse person, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get just as much momentum. Your agency will not get sucked into politics or side-angle projects, and will be super focused on executing to deliver your MQLs - or whatever other metric you use to measure your pipeline. Plus, within that engagement, you’ll get strategy, production, execution, reporting, design and development! Not too shabby, and definitely more affordable than you thought, right?
3. The depth of knowledge an agency can grasp can be surprisingly valuable
You could be forgiven for thinking that an agency could never understand your industry, product or ecosystem like a full-time, inhouse marketer, and in many cases, you’d be right.
There are reams of tactical and execution-focused agencies that go deep on their specific talent e.g. SEO or SEM, but who are too siloed or who don’t take the time to strategically understand your business. This can lead to agencies falling short of performance and relationship expectations.
A strategic agency, however, is one that plans your marketing activity across a broad range of integrated activities. This kind of agency has processes and methodologies that are designed to understand your business and industry quickly as a prerequisite for strategic planning. As a result, integrated agencies can often identify some gaps in your current marketing plan, and make moves to fill them.
Additionally, a strategic b2b agency like Brand chemistry houses a team of innovative experts with deep and broad expertise in marketing a range of contexts. These people can bring some creative and breakthrough ideas to your business that may get you progressing towards your goals faster than expected.
4. Strategic growth agencies are built to be accountable
With analytics and marketing automation tools, your marketing agency will set up and track your performance metrics. Typically dependent on those results for their survival, an agency will make absolutely sure they deliver results, but also that they tell you all about them, so you’ll always know where your money is going and what your ROI looks like.
A potentially less-known benefit of this arrangement, is that strategic agencies are not order-takers. If something you’re doing - or not doing, is getting in the way of results, your agency will not be backwards in telling you what you need to do to move the needle.Your inhouse team will learn from your b2b agency
As the war for talent goes on, you’ll need to have a strong focus on retaining the people you have. A great agency can help with this, providing sought-after knowledge and skills to your inhouse team.
Some agencies do this simply by being transparent with their knowledge and process, which helps inhouse people to build skills just through everyday exposure. Other agencies offer on-the-job training, mentoring and coaching too - a hugely valuable addition to those looking to advance their skills.
5. Choosing the right b2b marketing agency
If you’re still excluding a b2b marketing agency from your marketing picture, chances are, you’ve not come across the right one yet. Here are a few things to look for:
- B2b specialists: this is a must, as b2c marketing is an entirely different beast to b2b, and you want an agency that is going to understand how your business operates and deliver fast, effective solutions.
- Transparent, long-term relationships: Check out the case studies on their site, and check they’ve grown, expanded and also downsized according to client needs. Are they flexible, transparent and easy to work with? The agency should also not hesitate to share video testimonials from existing clients or put you in touch with them directly to provide references.
- What have they done for their clients? Have they worked with clients in your industry, or with challenges similar to yours? What kind of results were they able to deliver? Again, the agency’s case study page is a good place to start.
If you’re keen to sustain momentum in your marketing program this year, give us a shout.
Brand chemistry is a b2b marketing agency winning your customers' hearts and minds through inbound, brand, content, lead generation and digital strategy. Our marketing specialists achieve stellar results with the latest lead generation techniques.