What To Look For When Hiring A B2B Website Design Agency?

Author
Updated on
January 2, 2024

POV: You are part of a fast-paced growing B2B SaaS company that recently raised a multi-million dollar, Series A funding. Its time to gear up for full-fledged sales cycles, laying a strong marketing team with KPIs for the next quarter. One of those KPIs — A website Redesign, now you are bombarded with questions and concerns of how to hire a website design agency?

Say you have even progressed further from this stage and started looking for agencies on good ol’ trusty Google and maybe also LinkedIn. But, what now?

With the help of a recent client testimonial Everything.Design recorded, let’s look at all the factors and parameters that will help you in narrowing down and deciding to hire a website design agency.

Investing in design

"A lot of customers started coming in. So that's when we decided, we need a more professional looking, much better website that conveys the idea on what we are building out. It's a fairly technical product, so it requires a lot of explanation on what needs to be conveyed to the customer across different stakeholders. From the business teams to the technical teams. It needs a complete thought process of how to build content before even going through the design process." -Varun Khare, Founder, NimbleEdge

The importance and value of design has been felt in industries across the board, with a rise in building internal design teams. A design team, whether internal or external, will help steer the business’s goals with added value in terms of engagement levels, communication, overall brand perception, to list a few. Depending on your objectives, the involvement of the design team will vary. Here are some reasons for investing in design

Quality makes the difference

When it comes to website design, you and your team would have put down the KPI’s. For these KPI’s and the overall website’s success quality becomes a pivotal aspect.

  • Without a quality regulation, the website may fail to communicate to your ICP or fail to do so completely.
  • The communication and visual design may not be aligned creating a cluttered, unclear, inconsistent brand perception. (This means your ICPs don't know who you are or don't know what you do)
  • Pages across the website may look detached, resulting in confused users, increasing bounce rates, no conversions.
"We work primarily with very large customers, and if it looks like something that more B2C website would be looking, it would really not go well with the direction. So I think on that end, the website's design elements are pretty, clean." - Varun Khare, Founder, NimbleEdge

Expertise drives better outcomes

Driving a website design project with clear goals and objectives becomes easier by ten-folds when delegated to experts. B2B design professionals with a consistent track record of both successful and quality delivery, make an effort to keep themselves up to date on trends, news and updates in the landscape. They ensure to bring a nuanced and insightful perspective to the table.

  • A differentiated, outsider perspective will produce fresh, out of the box ideas to help the brand stand apart.
  • A concept driven approach will bring relatability and context to the website for the users.
  • Multiple levels of vetting happens even before the design comes to you for approvals, so rest assured the best version has been brought to you.
  • Details, nuances and smaller components are taken care of without you having to worry about those, leaving you time to focus where you are needed most.

Complete, end-to-end management of design expectations and requirements

An agency that is equipped to handle and also maintain the lifecycle of a project will be prepared to carry through your project end-to-end seamlessly.

They may even be able to fine tune this management based on — of course your requirements but also the level of engagement you wish to have on the project, the time you can invest in the process and more.

  • Based on the level of time you can invest in the process, the agency can provide as deep or high level overview. This doesn’t mean they will leave out information, but the communication channels can be altered. This will allow for your subordinate or a dedicated team member to know all details leaving you to have all highlights of the ongoings. For example, at Everything.Design the project manager sends out a Weekly Update each week with What happened this week, Whats scheduled for the upcoming week, Any pending items the team requires. This ensures the teams have clarity whats happening on a weekly basis.
  • Internally for the design teams, it leaves them more time to work on the project upping the quality while a dedicated Project Manager takes care of the rest.
  • Ease of maintaining communication with a dedicated project manager when the stages of the project change. Although designers at everything.design see a project through even after it is handed over to development, but it proves to be easier for a project manager to be the go to POC.

Narrowing down your web design requirements

Now that we have seen how investing in hiring an agency for website design can be beneficial, lets look at how you can efficiently communicate your requirements for the website.

For a successful design project and ensuring this collaboration can become a long term relationship, laying down all your requirements with level of importance and priority is essential. This will help the team prioritise the objectives and pay attention to the most important details.

For example, on projects that have a deadline with respect to an event, launch or campaign, our team prioritises the most important deliverable — getting the best version designed, developed and published. Once the website has gone live, the team continues to work on finessing, fine tuning and  focusing on the tiny details. Since websites are rarely ever held off to be published only after getting the perfect output, it best to work in phases and iterate.

  • Objectives and goals (sales, marketing, lead gen, brand presence) that are dependent on design
  • Time span or longevity of the requirement
  • A collective list curated with important decision makers & stakeholders
  • The list of requirements

Objectives and goals (sales, marketing, lead generation, brand presence, etc.) that are dependent on design

This most important factor that will make or break finding the right agency for you. Having a list ready will not only provide clarity when you get on calls but will also help you assess whether an agency is ready to take on the objectives.

An experienced team will, at this stage, be able to recommend if you require all the items at all. They will be able to give you the right idea of what they think you should rather focus, albeit, the first impressions, but this is an indicator of how insightful they are given the high level overview of the requirement you have provided.

  • Making a list of the requirements along with the motivation behind each. For example, a website redesign motivation could be - Doesn’t fulfil sales cycle step; The company has progressed in its maturity level, hence communication is outdated; Product has progressed many fold and website needs to reflect that.
  • The core outcome you ad your team need the project to fulfil
  • The internal motions that stand to be directly affected by it.
  • Product launch or a major revamp of products bringing attention and traffic in to showcase the capabilities. This will tend to last longer till the product reaches a maturity level. However, the website can be updated even as the product is being iterated, taking an effect on the communication of the website.

Time span or longevity of the requirement

Many times a website is approached with a sense of long term application whereas, for startups, websites need to be constantly updated to match the speed of growth and/or to iterate and refine it to reach the ICPs effectively.

The time longevity of the website will help the agency navigate the best fit solution and produce a long term plan that incorporates iterations, plan it out in phases giving better visibility and costing.

This will also work in tandem with your objectives.

  • If the requirement of the website is for a sales rep to use it during sales calls, the iteration process will be multiple and quicker, incorporating feedback from the calls the reps have collected.
  • If the requirement is for a launch, the communication may revolve around introducing the brand & offerings, then the next iteration will shift into service / product / value propositions.
  • If the company is going for IPO to look the part journey, traffic, navigation, timelessness, look at thought leader ship and expertise future plans. info arch will be crucial
  • If the company has identified a new ICP that is worth targeting, the website will be the best way to acquire their attention and provide relevant information they would be interested in.

A collective list curated with important decision makers & stakeholders

Understanding the requirements is the first part of the equation, but the second part is to curate a list that is agreed upon by the key stakeholders and decision makers. The perspective, both the buyer and the users of your company's offerings, bring to the table when (re)designing a website can be insightful for the team to base their questions, vision, thought processes on.

The list of requirements

Derived from the objectives, these should ideally be tangible outputs, i.e. A website that can generate leads. It should be able to onboard customers with minimal human intervention, so on and so forth.

If in case, creating a list of tangible outputs is not possible or if there are too many goals, you should still list those goals. What are the outcomes you aim to achieve with the help of a design team & agency’s collaboration.

By communicating this to the agency’s rep, they should be able to provide insight on what best solutions can fit your requirements. However, it is ideal you have a list, which can be edited, but very essential to start off with.

Matching your requirements to a Web Design Agency’s Capabilities

With your requirement list in hand, your key decision-makers aligned, and a clear motivation for the website, you are now ready to assess which agency can best fit your not only your needs but also working style, similar thought process etc.

A check mark next to each line item is a must but the match between thought processes, working style, communication, timezones, and of course budgets are also essential.

Here are pointers that will direct you to make the right choice:

Effort in understanding your organisation’s offerings in depth

Be it presence, lead generation, educating customers, showcasing value propositions, your organisation’s website needs:

To make sense

Fulfil objectives

Ensure Prospective Clients are getting relevant information

Able to make a decision by the end of going through the website

Motivate the customer to take specific actions

With all these and more, it is essential that the team responsible for designing the website have understood the offerings, the differentiating factors, the current trends in the space.

Without a basic understanding of what your company does and what its services or products are and do, the website will barely scratch the surface, lacking depth, and the convincing power to successfully educate the customer of what your company does.

💡 If the agency who's working on this is not able to understand this, how the flow should happen, how everything should happen, Then it becomes a fragmented piece. Every page is talking about something which is independent of the others. You don't get a meaningful customer journey in that. - Varun Khare, Founder, NimbleEdge

Recent works that have gone live

What are recent works that the agency has shown on their social media, the kind of projects that have gone up on their website. More often than not, the work put on the social media is updated faster and most recently, this will give you an estimate of what type and calibre of work they have been producing.

Apart from these, the works that team take you and your team through will help build a concrete understanding. The team will be able to show you the latest works with an in depth explanation of the process, the objectives, the requisites and maybe the constraints they had to adhere to.

Capability of understanding corresponding business goals and objectives

A good question to ask a prospective agency is what they do to understand the corresponding business goals and objectives associated with your website. What are the expectations the various team members have voiced and are crucial for the success of the project?

Ability to constantly update or match required longevity

A part of the requirement list is what type of engagement your organisation is considering with the design agency. Is it a one milestone, phase-wise publish, phase-wise update etc.

A singular milestone with a deliverable of ‘x’ number of pages being published may not require long-term association. The project will be closed and any future requirements will be treated as a separate project.

A phase-wise milestone will look at ‘x’ number of pages with varying priorities and objectives will go live in phases. The whole project is considered as one and may result tentative timelines if your organisation is simultaneously making internal changes.This type of association requires a long-term engagement, wherein the team has to stick with the project for longer with continuous deliverables, updates, changes.

A phase-wise update is when one or two pages are published with high priority deliverables pertaining to an event, unveil, etc. After this stage the website would get a complete re-haul starting from a deeper process approach.

Ability to strategically narrow down most important objectives and goals

“I think they definitely got the context on what we want, as in what hyper personalization means. One thing that was impressive was they actually understood the product on what is getting built out. The other agencies that we have worked with, they didn't even dive into understanding what's happening over here.” - Varun Khare, Founder, NimbleEdge

With a constant growth of the start-up landscape, and exceedingly tough competition, it is imperative that the success of the project is defined in the beginning, internally with your team and the same is communicated to the design team.

This should enable the design team to narrow down and strategically focus on the objectives and goals the website must achieve. Majority of this comes from research, understanding trends, competitors, the offerings and value proposition.

Therefore, be sure to narrow down your goals & objectives but also communicate this with the design team.

Matching the list of requirements

Having a list ready on hand before you contact agencies can be beneficial to assess their way of approaching your requirements. How do they process the information you have laid out for them, the follow-up questions they will ask to understand deeper. how they put down the conclusion of your discussion, their expert opinion on additions or deletions

  • How do they process the list and the requirements listed. Do you have specific needs that have to be considered before they draw up a proposal? These could be number of updates you expect to receive as part of an organizational protocol or a website build specifically on Webflow.
  • The follow-up questions they have for you based on the list. Are they asking you exactly why you have something on the list, or something that’s on the list which may not immediately align with the beginning of the conversation. An agency rep will want to have clarity regarding all the items, so that…
  • …They can, in their expert opinion and the information in the discussion suggest additions or deletions to your list. A Project Manager, or a representative, from having handled multiple projects of varying scales, types, scopes have a good understanding if there are certain things that will benefit your website design project or even line items that may not be relevant for you at that given point in time.

The list will give you clarity in not only ruling our agencies that arent a right match immediately but also provide you insight on how an agency that is a potential fit approaches yours & your team’s requirements and aspirations associated with the website. To achieve good results, providing the most important and relevant information in a clear manner will help you decide who is a good fit.

Are employees encouraged to upskill individually and as teams

Another great marker of a good agency is to look at the upskill activities the employees at the agency are being encouraged to do. An importance given to upskilling results in a team that is up to date with trends, constantly update their knowledge, learn new skills.

All these aspects factor into how creatively the team tackles the challenges and refreshing ideas they bring to the table.

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