Here's the best way to work with a B2B influencer marketing agency

Here’s the best way to work with a B2B influencer marketing agency

How to Best Work with a B2BiInfluencer Marketing Agency - Three Marketers at Laptop Image

In the B2B world, influence is not determined by what you look like in a bathing suit or how many exotic locations you can post on Instagram. B2B influencers are subject matter experts, practitioners with a proven track record, and consultants who have their finger on the pulse of a specific industry.

Also, it is harder to find and engage influencers in the B2B world. It’s not about finding someone with a massive following and writing them a check — B2B influencer marketing is all about building relationships with these truly influential business titans.

In short, B2B influencer marketing is a specialty that requires knowledge and experience that may be outside of your team’s area of ​​expertise. With B2B influencer marketing becoming more popular and influencers becoming more selective about how to collaborate, it makes sense to enlist outside help.

In our B2B Influencer Marketing Report 2022More than half of enterprise-level respondents said working with an agency was effective in finding influencers, while only 27% had success using software tools alone.

Here’s how your team can prepare to work effectively with a B2B influencer marketing agency (e.g. TopRank Marketing!).

How to work optimally with a B2B influencer marketing agency

“Preparing” to work with an agency is both a mindset and a process. Some of your homework involves recalibrating your ideas about influencer marketing. Part of this is gathering information and making tentative decisions that will speed up your onboarding process.

Expand your definition of influence:

I’ve mentioned a few times on the blog that B2B influencer marketing isn’t just about follower count. And I intend to keep saying it while marketing teams are still scared of anyone with a four-digit follower count.

The most influential person for your niche audience might be someone with a small but highly specialized audience. For example, if you’re marketing to software developers, their thought leaders won’t have a large following on Instagram or Facebook. Instead, they will be releasing code on Github, participating in developer forums, and speaking at events like DrupalCon.

When your agency partner provides a list of influencers, be mentally prepared to look beyond network size and look for relevancy and resonance instead. Does this person speak to your specific target group? Is this audience taking action based on what they say? Then this is your most valuable influencer.

Identify your internal experts:

Your employees, managers and subject matter experts can themselves act as valuable brand ambassadors and influencers. These individuals will be critical for co-creating content with external influencers as well as promoting the content within their own networks.

An agency wants to leverage these in-house experts throughout the content creation and reinforcement process, so it helps to keep a few in mind first. Look for people in your organization who:

  • Already building a relevant business base
  • Feel comfortable representing the brand in public
  • Are creative, passionate and quotable
  • Are in managerial positions and willing to make their network available for the cause

Your agency can help these in-house experts refine their content and solidify their credibility as thought leaders.

Select your target group:

The clear definition of your target group is a fundamental step in every marketing project and particularly important for B2B influencer marketing. Software developers have different vulnerabilities, needs and desires than software analysts. Demand gene marketers need different messaging than social media marketers. The better you can identify your specific niche, the more relevant your influencer content can be.

Don’t be afraid to address your target group in detail. Compile a wish list with all the details of your most valuable customer profile. Your agency might help you narrow the list down to the most important components—but you need to give them a starting point.

Set a realistic budget:

Five or six years ago, most of our agency’s influencer marketing was unpaid. We made it easy for influencers to work with us, we worked together on cool content and the mutual benefit was sufficiently paid. But as influencer marketing tactics mature, most influencers expect financial compensation. In our survey, over half of respondents had made direct payments to influencers.

It’s important to start your agency partnership with the influencer’s budget range in mind (in addition to the agency’s service fees). From this starting point, your agency can help you navigate the complexities of pricing structures, negotiate fair deals, and ensure you’re getting the most of your budget.

Build your wish list (and dealbreaker list):

Before you go to your agency kickoff meeting, compile a list of influencers you admire and think would be a good match for you. But don’t stop at those names: think about the specific traits that make these people attractive, too.

This list will give your agency a good idea of ​​what type of influencer you are looking for, and they can target the people on your list while augmenting it with their own tools and expertise.

Similarly, make a list of attributes or people you don’t want associated with your brand. For example, you may not want an influencer who has worked with a competitor in the past — so listing your competitors for your agency is important. Or there are taboo topics that you don’t want to associate with your brand.

If you can arm your agency with this positive and negative information, they will be better equipped to source the perfect influencers for your project.

Who influences the influencers?

B2B influencer marketing has evolved from a random series of one-off collaborations into a specialty that requires strategy and experience to execute successfully.

As B2B influencer marketing has become more popular, influencers have become more selective about which brands they partner with and how they want to be compensated. Therefore, it makes sense to work with an agency that has a proven track record and an established network of sought-after influencers.

If you approach your first agency meeting with an open mind, with a clear picture of your target group and a good list of dos and don’ts, you are well prepared for a fruitful cooperation.

Speaking of which, if you’re looking for an agency with over a decade of B2B influencer marketing experience and some of the biggest brands in the world… TopRank Marketing is here to help.

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