When it comes to choosing a vendor partner for your B2B firm, you may be asking yourself this very question.
There is a lot that goes into choosing the right vendor partner and a lot rides on it, so you want to make sure you make the proper selection.
So what does make a web design company the right partner for your B2B firm?
There are a variety of web design agencies out there and each one has a unique culture and brand. The web design company’s culture is relevant to the selection process because the culture can end up improving or detracting from your overall experience with the web design project.
For example, at Bop Design our culture is driven by our values. Our values state that our San Diego web design agency is proactive, professional, innovative, client-focused, passionate, balanced, and solutions-oriented. We believe in these values so strongly, we created a giant display of them on our entrance wall for clients and employees to see.
Many clients enjoy working with us because, although we are a creative agency, our culture is professional. We aren’t skateboarding through our office in Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. For many agencies, creativity is their main and only value, so employees dress like they are at the beach, speak informally, and don’t have set schedules. We aren’t saying one culture is better than another, but we are saying that one may be a better fit for your B2B web design project.
Experience & Portfolio
We often turn away e-commerce web design projects. Why? Because it’s not our specialty. Have you heard the phrase, “jack of all trades, master of none”? There are firms that specialize in e-commerce websites, so we refer companies interested in an e-commerce website to those firms. We excel at creating B2B websites that create a strong brand presence, build credibility, and generate leads so we prefer to work with clients on those types of projects. Also, we want clients to work with a vendor that fits their needs so we are happy to refer them to the right vendor.
When researching and interviewing a B2B web design partner, check to see if they have the right experience. Also, peruse their portfolio to look at examples of similar projects. If a web design agency doesn’t have experience with the type of website you are looking to build, they probably aren’t the right fit.
Digital marketing and web design firms come in all shapes and sizes. During the selection process, learn more about the resources the firm has available. For example, the firm may only be two people: a web designer and marketer in which case, they may outsource the copywriting and the web development. There are certain advantages to working with a very small firm (mainly lower cost and only working with one person), but there are disadvantages as well (lack of technical expertise, control over the process, and turnaround times).
Before you select a web design firm for a partner, be sure they have the proper resources and that they aren’t outsourcing the bulk of the work. There is a quality aspect that can’t be controlled if much of the work is done by outsourced professionals.
Your B2B website says a lot about your firm, builds your credibility, and typically helps to generate leads. It’s an important component of your overall marketing strategy. It should be viewed as an investment and budgeted for accordingly. Often, the budget for your web design project plays a role in the type of vendor/partner you end up working with.
You are probably familiar with the common law of business balance, which states: “you get what you pay for.” Essentially, you cannot pay a little and get a lot.
Beware of web design companies who promise a lot and are charging significantly less. Typically, they are less qualified (or not qualified) and don’t understand how much work is actually involved. If you get quotes from 5 different web design agencies and one is significantly lower, it’s a sign that they didn’t understand what you are looking for or you won’t get the result you are expecting.
A good initial gauge of whether you have found the right partner is their responsiveness. How they respond to you as a potential client is a good indication of how responsive they will be when you are a client. If you contact them for a web design proposal and don’t hear back for a week, they are likely too busy or not committed to creating a great client experience. Now, there may be a special case (vacation, illness, etc), but multiple delays in responding indicate they might not be the right fit.
As a web design project is often a large undertaking and requires significant resources, it’s typically planned out in advance. If you need a website immediately, that will reduce the pool of partner vendors and may reduce the quality of potential vendors. However, if a potential vendor doesn’t have availability for 6 months, they may not be the right fit. A realistic expectation for a professionally designed and developed B2B website is to start a project within a month and wrap it up within 3 – 4 months.
This isn’t really a checklist to carry with you as you research and interview B2B web design firms. However, it is a guide to help you focus on the main areas to consider when evaluating website design partners.
The last bit of advice we can provide is to go with your “gut” feeling. If you are excited about a lower bid from a vendor but are suspicious that they don’t have the resources, get more information before you sign on the dotted line. If you think a company has a great portfolio but don’t see anything similar to what you are looking for, ask for specific examples.
There are a lot of web design companies that have great proposals and do wonderful pitches that make you want to partner up with them immediately. However, if something seems a little weird or “off,” be sure to go with your gut instinct and get more information.