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3 Fierce Questions to Ask a B2B Marketing Consultant... Before Hiring


b2b marketing consultant requirements

See my tick list of 5 B2B marketing agency requirements »

What's a smart process for hiring a pro?

Say you’ve decided that you want a B2B marketing pro to guide your programs, and you need to look for a consultant to help. How formal does your selection process need to be? Do you need a formal request for proposals (RFP) to evaluate all the candidates?

While a well thought-out evaluation process is critical to uncovering the best solution for your individual company’s needs, don’t mistake effort for results. A formal RFP process means a ton of work for you - and, often, a long lead time and a ton of patience.

Rather than do a formal RFP, you may get better results more efficiently by doing this instead:

  1. Nail down the right evaluation criteria
  2. Quickly identify the best candidate
  3. Ask some fierce questions to make sure you've got a winner (three suggested questions below), and
  4. Carve out an initial scope of work
  5. Go

Is the waiting and work of an RFP ever warranted?

Yes. An RFP is usually drafted at the end of the requirements-gathering phase of a project. RFPs are typically most valuable in large, complex, or high-impact projects. My rule of thumb is that small projects -- with budgets under, say, $25,000 -- usually do not need to go through a formal RFP process unless the projected impact is anticipated to be substantial. And if the project you have is much smaller or simpler than that, steer clear of RFPs for sure.

Check out this chart TechSoup published on when all the work and waiting are warranted (note - their chart is from several years ago and has thresholds at $10,000; I updated them  to $25,000):

RFP process versus an informal process




Projected budget

Greater than $25,000

Less than $25,000

Projected timeframe

Several months

A few days or weeks

Impact on organization



Range of options

Broad range of options

Narrow range of options

Approx document length

20-plus pages

10 or fewer pages

Approx level of detail

Highly detailed


Ask these 3 cut-to-the-chase questions

When you're looking for a B2B marketing consultant, you don’t have to sacrifice search quality for speed. You can still ask tough questions about an agency’s approach, breadth of expertise, and results. For example:

  1. What business result should I expect, when?
  2. How do you test in the course of marketing?
  3. Who is responsible for ensuring my ROI?

With these questions you can gain a deeper understanding of the process and the expected results and how they will help you reach your business goals. But you don’t have to make a career out of the interview process. Just ask the right questions.

Bad answers

What answers to the above questions would be a dealbreaker for you -- meaning, what would lead you to send a consultant packing? Or are there other key questions to ask?


p.s. Yes it's been over year since I last blogged. And the break hasn't been half bad. But it's time to get back in the saddle. Miss me? ;-)

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Topics: Performance Fun Lead Generation