Top Characteristics of Great B2B Marketing Consultants
What are the top characteristics of a great B2B marketing consultant, and how can they help a company’s marketing efforts? We’ll explain the characteristics and reasons in this blog post, part 1 of a 2 part blog series.
B2B product companies hire outside marketing consultants at 2X the rate of other sectors. And they look to hire these outside marketing consultants to not only fill the gaps but also be a seamless part of their team.
Effective and trustworthy outside B2B marketing consultants and marketing agencies are important and valuable assets for any marketing executive. These consultants allow for quick expansion and for reducing marketing capabilities as well as providing access to high-level and unique marketing talent on a short-term and relatively cost-effective basis.
Since launching Aventi Group in 2008, we’ve worked with over 200 B2B marketing consultants and have found a clear set of characteristics that set apart the best marketing consultants from the rest. In this Part I of II, we do a deep dive on these 3 points:
The most effective B2B marketing consultants are client focused. Great B2B marketing consultants are more concerned with the project objective or outcome and not on the number of hours they work.
The approach to a project the best marketing consultants take is very much about efficiency. They:
- Come with a game plan and hit the ground running.
- Outline how much time they expect the work to take and what they need from the client to be successful.
- Give guidance to the client upfront as to what might cause the project to go longer or finish sooner.
- Ask questions right away if they get stuck, rather than spin their wheels.
B2B marketing consultants with this sort of approach differentiate themselves by getting more work done in the same amount of time compared to their peers.
Tip for consultants: Keep the client’s budget top of mind, too, and act as if you were spending your own money.
Consultants who present themselves as a specialist in one or two areas of marketing make it much easier for companies to hire them for a project, and also for a client to understand the value they provide.
For example, we have consultants who position themselves as social media experts, marketing communications managers, or marketing campaign specialists. Though they could in fact be an expert in all three (and more), selecting one is key.
Many B2B marketing consultants are hesitant to do this because they feel they are limiting their opportunities or that an agency or client will think they do not have skills in other areas. In fact, our experience is often the opposite. It helps us to place B2B marketing talent into projects where consultants are very likely to be successful when they come to us with a specific expertise.
In addition, B2B marketing consultants can make themselves more sought after by investing in ways to stay current and deepen their expertise. Examples include writing blogs and articles for publication, taking courses, teaching courses, or acquiring new credentials and certifications.
Tip for consultants: Even if you have a huge range of marketing specialties, pick one as your “lead” and build your personal messaging around that expertise.
Building on the point above, clients hire marketing consultants to fill a specific need and to bring focus to a priority project.
The most effective B2B marketing consultants are aware of this; they know they are hired guns, and they keep themselves very focused on the work they were hired to complete.
A big challenge for any B2B marketing consultant is learning how to say no when they are asked by a client to help with work that is outside of their defined scope.
It is critical for consultants to always remember who is paying for their work. If a request comes from someone other than that person (for example, someone in the client company that is on another team), a consultant’s response has to be “Please talk to ____, my contract is with them.”
This may seem obvious, but we run into this challenge all the time, especially in projects that are going well and where the consultant is getting a reputation across a company for doing good work.
It can be awkward to say no to a request, but it can also turn into an opportunity. Clients will always appreciate consultants staying on task.
Tip for consultants: If you bring these sorts of requests to the paying client first, they will often be a supporter and help you to get a new or expanded contract that funds this additional work without impacting your existing project.
- Responsiveness: fast response to emails and phone calls, availability for meetings.
- Timeliness: on-time for meetings, create status reports, invoice as agreed upon.
- Attention to detail: catch and fix typos and errors before sending work (even drafts) to client for reviews.
- Preparedness: research the client’s business, learn the apps and tools that the client uses, use correct product names, acronyms, etc.
These are some of the characteristics that make a top B2B marketing consultant. They’re what we look for when we hire B2B marketing consultants at Aventi Group, and what our clients have come to depend on.
Follow this link for Part II of this blog series.
Whether you are a manager looking to hire a B2B marketing consultant, or a B2B marketing consultant interested in working with Aventi, please Contact Us anytime.