If you have decided to take the inbound marketing approach to build your business, then congratulations. You have taken the right step towards growing your business which many organizations today are taking up or have already implemented.

The next step for you is to identify whether you have the necessary inhouse capabilities to do it yourself or if you would like to approach a consultancy who could help you do it in a fast, efficient and cost effective way. If the latter is your choice, then hiring the right partner could be tricky, with so many agencies and consultancies claiming expertise.

However, let us make it is easier for you to choose your marketing partner. We have listed here five things you should check before selecting the right inbound marketing partner for your organization.

1. The ability to understand your business

It goes without saying that you cannot hire someone who does not understand your industry and business. A good partner is one who will try to understand your business requirements by asking the right questions during the assessment process. A good consulting firm or agency will understand your pain points and offer solutions accordingly. It should also help you understand more about your business and identify your blind spots.

2. Full service or specialized offerings

There are several types of consultancies and agencies available in the market today. While there are companies who offer the full range of inbound marketing services from buyer persona research, regular blogging and SEO to lead scoring, analysis and reporting, there are other organizations which offer only certain aspects of inbound marketing. There are also companies that offer only advisory services while the actual work will have to be done by your organization in-house.

Hence, it is better to first ask yourself what in-house capabilities you have and what you would require or if you need a complete solution. You should also check what aspects of inbound marketing the agency you are considering specializes in.

3. Practicing what they preach

While so many agencies and consultancies claim to be experts in inbound marketing, very few actually practice what they preach. Log onto their website and spend some time on it checking how they define their user personas, how many landing pages they have, how they come up with content, how consistent their blog posts are and so on. It should become apparent to you if the organization is practicing inbound for their own business or not. A company which is not practicing what they preach can hardly do a good job executing it for you.

4. Organization’s capabilities and certifications

Your inbound marketing strategy is only as good as the people who implement it. A great inbound marketing company has top shelf talent including content creators, marketers, SEO professionals, web designers and, developers. Certifications from market leaders such as Hubspot provide additional credibility to the professionals as well as the marketing agency.

The reputation of the marketing automation platforms these organizations use such as Marketo, Infusionsoft and Hubspot can also help you in identifying the potential partners you would like to work with. If you already have an automation software, see if the consultancy is able to work with it.

5. The ability to understand the sales process

The ultimate goal of executing an inbound strategy is not to establish a robust marketing process but to generate more sales in a faster and efficient way at a lower cost of acquisition. To achieve this, it is necessary to have an alignment between the marketing and sales functions. The marketing partner you are looking for should have a deep understanding of your sales without which, there will be no alignment between these two important functions. The company’s sales knowledge is crucial for your organization’s success.

Inbound marketing is a relatively new approach that is gaining rapid popularity in the recent years. Hence, it is critical that you hire the right partner who understands the in and out of this marketing strategy and can help you achieve your sales goals.

At 7EDGE, we work with our clients to understand their business and sales goals, and help them achieve the desired results through our deep knowledge and hands-on experience of implementing the inbound marketing strategies and techniques.

Originally published , updated March 15 2018