How to Ensure Alignment Between a B2B PPC Agency and You

Align efforts and outcomes with the B2B PPC Agency you hire for the best possible ROI.

Organizations outsource their PPC campaigning to an agency because they don’t have the in-house expertise needed to successfully launch and manage pay per click efforts on Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other similar platforms.  It’s logical, right?  “If we can’t do it internally, I should find someone who can.”

But, that lack of understanding on the client side can actually hurt sales/marketing outcomes and introduce friction into the agency relationship.

Here are my recommendations to ensure alignment between a B2B PPC agency and your organization.

How To Ensure Alignment with a B2B PPC Agency

Align efforts and outcomes with the B2B PPC Agency you hire for the best possible ROI.

Organizations outsource their PPC campaigning to an agency because they don’t have the in-house expertise needed to successfully launch and manage pay per click efforts on Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other similar platforms.  It’s logical, right?  “If we can’t do it internally, I should find someone who can.”

But, that lack of understanding on the client side can actually hurt sales/marketing outcomes and introduce friction into the agency relationship.

Here are my recommendations to ensure alignment between a B2B PPC agency and your organization.

1. Align payment structure with outcomes if possible.

Traditionally, clients of B2B PPC agencies pay a monthly retainer that is based on a percent of monthly ad spend.  Depending on the PPC agency and the complexity of your campaigning, this fee ranges anywhere from 10 – 20% of the monthly amount that you’re paying for actual advertising to Google, Facebook, etc. 

What you get from the PPC agency for this monthly fee will be spelled out in your contract.  Standard deliverables from an agency are things like reporting, landing page updates, and monthly calls to share the optimizations the agency made in the preceding period.

One deliverable that will be conspicuous in its absence are revenue-related outcomes created by the agency.  Whether those are leads, sales, or another metric; even the best B2B PPC agencies will be hesitant to include performance based language in their fee structures.

But, when you reach the stage of (re)negotiating your agreement, be sure to ask what type of performance based payment structures are available.  Your best case outcome will be some type of blended model with a relatively less expensive retainer plus an escalating ladder for performance.

2. Automation isn't a substitute for actual understanding.

Google’s Dynamic Search Ads are a prime example of this.  To paraphrase the Google documentation: “dynamic search ads use your website content for targeting and to build ad headlines and landing pages.”  I would imagine this would be useful in the B2C or direct to consumer world but, having seen an agency partner use this strategy and having trialed it myself, this type of tool doesn’t do as good of a job as an average PPC strategist!

The same is true for Google’s Responsive Search Ads.  Be sure that your organization has veto power over ad headlines and descriptions before they go into production.  Introducing this review stage into the process will help you avoid ads that are off brand, non-sensical, and waste your money

Even more important than reviewing all ad materials before they are live is ensuring that your B2B PPC agency partner is capable of creating copy and media about your offering, with your value proposition, and without involving you beyond a quick review and approval.  Otherwise, you’ll end up babysitting your agency until you can find a new one or hire the personnel you need to execute in-house.

3. B2B PPC strategy is your responsibility. Leave the tactics to your PPC Agency.

The client side of this relationship really shouldn’t set and forget the PPC component of their marketing mix.  In fact, the client should be informing strategy from the top down.  By providing insights like positioning, competitive landscape, and your ideal customer you’ll be able to shorten or eliminate the first couple of feedback loops that the agency would otherwise have to determine for themselves.  (You’re footing the bill for the learning by the way…)

That’s not to say that you, the client, should be creating media in photoshop or placing conversion tracking scripts on digital properties when you’re paying an agency for these things.  Somebody needs to be the captain of the PPC ship and it needs to be the client.  The key here is to let the parties play to their strengths.

How to ensure alignment with a B2B PPC Agency

Ensuring alignment with a B2B PPC Agency comes down to 3 things:

  1. Getting the incentive chain as aligned as possible as early as possible
  2. Creating the understanding that a human being is responsible for ads, media, and landing pages (not Google.)
  3. The client side needs to own the “broad strokes” when it comes to PPC campaigning.  There is no agency that will ever know your business and market as well you do.

Outside of the basics, my final recommendation is to do your homework and call plenty of references before committing to this kind of service.

Written by Erik Sunset

Written by Erik Sunset

Erik is the owner and operator of Sunset Marketing Works. Click to learn more about the author.

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