As a B2B marketer, you likely have a lot on your plate with everything from strategy creation to measuring analytics to reporting the ROI of your campaigns. You probably have best practices and processes in place to handle all of these tasks.
But what happens when you are tasked with being the point person for your company’s upcoming B2B web design project? Even if you’ve managed a project of this scale before, it’s likely been a few years.
We’ve managed hundreds of website projects and continue working on new website concepts, designs, copy, and launches every day. As the Creative Principal and the Web Content Director at our B2B web design agency, we’ve teamed up to share our tips on managing a website project.
Our tips for successfully overseeing a B2B web design project include:
Determine the requirements for your B2B website prior to hiring an agency. Keep in mind that if requirements change during the project, this will add more costs and time. Alternatively, you can leave a buffer of time and budget, if you are aware your organization changes direction frequently.
Communicate Target Dates
Make sure to communicate any critical dates to your web design agency. For example, if you absolutely need the website up before a tradeshow or speaking event, let them know that as soon as possible (preferably before the project commences). Doing so ensures the design, copy and development teams are able to meet this deadline. They may alter the schedule or build in a contingency plan, ensuring you have what you need for your event. Not mentioning critical dates at the beginning of the project could mean your site doesn’t launch when you need it to.
Assign a Main Agency Contact
Assign one person to “own” and manage the project and liaise with the web design agency. Make it someone who isn’t afraid to be stern with your team and can urge people to get stuff done. Get the support of your CEO to empower this person to make decisions. Ideally, this person is in a higher-level marketing position and understands the role of the website and how it’s supporting the organization’s business, marketing, and sales goals. (In some cases this may be you, your boss or your bosses’ boss).
Limit the Cooks
Limit decision-makers on the project to a maximum of 4 people. If multiple departments need to have their say over the website, ask them to appoint one person to speak on their behalf. If there are too many “cooks” on a web design project, the opinions will vary widely, and the result is often watered-down or unclear messaging. It’s important to understand that you can’t make everyone happy and trying to do so will make the project continue on indefinitely. Remember the website is a marketing tool with a specific objective of attracting prospective clients – it’s not fodder for an internal political battle.
Follow All Deadlines
Adhere to all workflow deadlines. If you have a deadline for your B2B website launch, stick to the feedback deadlines given by your agency. Failing to meet any of the deadlines on a web design project will cause your website launch to get pushed out. This is a critical role for the main point of contact to hold internal stakeholders to. Clearly communicating deadlines to your internal team (and the consequences of missing deadlines) helps to ensure the website project is given priority.
Be Ready to Work
Prepare to do some work. The design agency does the majority of the heavy lifting, but your company will need to supply a lot of information. This information cannot be supplied by the agency and may include rough content for products, technical specifications, case studies, team biographies, professional pictures of employees, photos of your facility, etc. Be sure to allow time in your schedule for the time it takes to gather feedback, gain consensus and general communication time with the web agency.
If your team traditionally takes a long time to move on things, determine if you’ll be able to stick to the timelines given by the agency to get your site launched on time. Many B2B organizations can move fast when needed but some encounter copious amounts of internal red tape or a key stakeholder doesn’t have the bandwidth to review and provide approvals. You know your company, team, and internal stakeholders best. If you need more time or buffers built into the schedule, let your design agency know.
Strategize Before the Project
Make business strategy decisions before starting a B2B website project. If you’re shifting major business initiatives, it’s best to figure that out before starting your web design project. If the major strategic decisions aren’t made in advance of starting the project, the website progress will stall as you make those decisions. Things like shifting from service-based to product-based, launching new products/services, and figuring out your product/service offerings if you’re a startup are examples of strategic decisions that should be finalized before heading into a website project.
Partner with Your Agency
When you work with an experienced B2B web design agency, they want your website project to be a success. If you work with them as a partner and communicate openly with them, the chances of your website project going smoothly are pretty high.
Authored by Robin Maylone and Kara Jensen