As discussed in Part I, B2B product companies engage external marketing resources at 2X the rate of other sectors. And they look to these marketing experts to not only fill the gaps but also be a seamless part of their team.
So what makes a great marketing consultant?
Since launching Aventi Group in 2008, we’ve worked with more than 200 marketing contractors and we’ve found a clear set of characteristics that set apart the best from the rest:
In Part I, we did a deep dive into Efficiency, Specialization, and Focus. In Part II we look into Deference and Professionalism:
The client is always right. Sometimes contractors need to be reminded of that.
Marketing contractors develop egos and strong opinions just like everyone else. The most effective contractors understand when to share those opinions and when to keep them quiet.
For example, it’s very easy and tempting to criticize a client company’s approach to messaging, marketing content, product launch or some other aspect of their operations.
It’s almost always okay for a contractor to make recommendations and suggestions but then they need to let it go.
This also applies to situations when a client is unhappy with progress or with a deliverable. The most effective contractors will always work to rectify the deliverable or situation without creating unnecessary tension or making it personal.
Even when a contractor views criticism as unfair or reflective of issues outside of their control, they need to accept the criticism and work to get the project or deliverable to the point where it meets client expectations.
Tip for contractors: It’s important to remember that what you don’t necessarily know is the context or history behind certain decisions or approaches, or the complexity involved in changing significant go-to market methods or processes. Keep that in mind when exercising deference.
This is a broad category, but in many ways it is also the most important. Professionalism is about doing the small things well and not making avoidable mistakes as a contractor.
Here are some example behaviors and business practices that the best contractors employ to set themselves up for success:
- 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.
Tip for contractors: Your reputation with clients is determined just as much by their experience working with you as it is by the quality of your work. So, make sure you are easy to work with and that their experience with you is a positive one.
These are some of the characteristics that make a top marketing contractor. They’re what we look for when we hire contractors at Aventi Group, and what our clients have come to depend on.