B2B Inbound Marketing: Hiring In-House vs an Inbound Agency

B2B Inbound Marketing: Hiring In-House vs an Inbound Agency

Over the course of the life of your company, you’ve hired sales staff, account managers, administrative personnel and even a janitorial company to keep your office space spotless. You’ve developed the job description along with educational and experience requirements. You know the type of person who thrives in your work environment and the red flags of people who won’t work out.b2b inbound marketing--hiring in house vs agency

Hiring a B2B inbound marketing or social media strategist for your company will follow similar guidelines, but if you haven’t hired for this position yet, be prepared to create some new guidelines.

Are you ready?

Maybe you’ve been handling social media, blog writing, and video production yourself or maybe you’ve been working with an outside consultant or have delegated the tasks to someone else inside the company. When the job grows beyond what you or another staff member can handle while continuing your regular work, it’s time to look at options. Your first consideration is whether you have the income and space to hire another administrative person. This person’s work will eventually pay for itself through increased leads and customers from your website.

Be prepared to shoulder the cost of this new employee for at least 6 months before you start to see results. The right inbound marketing director will require you to up your game on inbound marketing and social media marketing. You should expect this position to be creating new, exciting content that includes various media not just social media or blogs. Give your new employee a full range of options, a reasonable budget and the time to succeed. Social media and inbound marketing isn’t “free” B2B advertising anymore. You’ll be spending money on video production, graphic design, photo shoots, and the necessary software.

What are the educational requirements?

Because inbound marketing and social media marketing change so quickly, few college classes or degrees can train a person for this position. A college degree in English, journalism, business, graphic design or technology may be a good place to start. If you can find someone who managed social media, blogs, B2B emails or other inbound marketing for another company, a non profit or a college organization, you’ll have someone at least familiar with the strategies. When we hire an inbound marketing specialist for our company, we usually look at new college graduates who have high energy and are willing to learn the strategies behind inbound marketing.

One of the reasons many companies choose to hire an outside agency to handle social media and inbound marketing is because these agencies offer experience that’s hard to find in individual employees. Onboarding an inbound marketer takes time you may save by working with a company already familiar with the strategies of B2B inbound marketing. On the flip side, the benefits of having an in-house staff person means you can oversee their work directly day to day.

What questions should I ask?

In addition to asking the typical questions you use with other employees, we suggest you ask a variety of these questions as well:

  • Tell me what you know about inbound marketing.

  • What ideas do you have to promote our company online?

  • How would you come up with ideas for blog posts?

  • What’s the best social media campaign you’ve seen from a company?

  • Which social media sites are most familiar with?

  • What changes would you suggest for our social media presence?

  • How would you help us increase business from our current customers?

  • How would you use social media and our website to develop leads for our sales team?

  • Which metrics would you use to determine success?

  • What software do you prefer to use to develop graphics, measure social engagement, choose keywords, etc?

Most of your applicants will not have answers to all these questions. Don’t let that discourage you. These questions will weed out people with few creative ideas and they will allow the applicants who have taken time to study your social media sites and your website an opportunity to shine. (If you’re looking for additional questions to ask, HubSpot has another great list.)

How do we get started?

Your company is experienced at selling widgets or servicing widgets. Someone in your company has been handling your email marketing campaigns, social strategy and blog writing until now. Make sure your in-house inbound marketer has plenty of time to spend with that staff understanding what has been happening until now. Require your inbound marketer to spend time with the sales team and/or account managers understanding their process, what information would be helpful to them and what your customers problems are. Provide online training like HubSpot’s inbound marketing training or another resource your industry may provide. Include your inbound marketer in meetings where he or she may learn more about your company’s mission, customer service commitments, sales strategy and products.

A staff member can spend all week working a project with little to show for it. Create benchmarks that may be less tangible now like creating blog post ideas, writing out a schedule of orientation emails for new clients or outlining quarterly campaigns. Work to make sure each of these goals are headed in the direction you want and then set benchmarks for implementation. Eventually, you’ll want this staff member like all others to be able to work with less supervision, but with a new position and a new hire it’s easy to not know what’s happening without some initial goals set.

We go through phases of growth and hiring new inbound copywriters ourselves. We understand the struggle to find the right person with the right experience and ability to learn new media. We’ve developed a process of learning that speeds up the onboarding process and allows inbound marketers to make progress more quickly. 

Ready to find out what it would take to hire a digital agency to manage your social media marketing? Reserve your free 30 minute consultation now.