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Kara Inglis January 18, 2018 3 min read

Partners vs. Clients: Why We Choose to Use the Term Partners to Describe the Wonderful Companies We Work With

business partners

In the world of marketing, it is fairly common to hear agencies refer to the companies they do work for as their clients. However, there is a very key word in this sentence: for. See, with inbound marketing, we view the work that is done for each company as a partnership. Both ourselves as the agency and them as the "client" have important tasks and responsibilities to carry out in order to see successful results. 

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Because of this, we found ourselves replacing the word client with partner. This is because we do not see the work we do as something we do for our clients, but rather as work we do with them. As a HubSpot Agency Partner, we have grown in the field of inbound marketing through education and hands on experience. As an agency partner we value our relationship with HubSpot and look to bring the same kind of educational and collaborative relationship to our own clients: our own partners.

Through collaborative processes we are able to create content that is unique and specific to each of our partners' industry. We are also able to continue to help them see further success in the most natural way. When you work with companies as your partner, you are in almost constant contact with them learning about the unique aspects of their business and the unique individuals they are trying to attract. This frequent communication fosters a positive relationship that makes creating new ideas, campaigns and content feel like no work at all!

Working on a partnership level also keeps everyone on a level playing field. As with most things, in inbound marketing it takes diligent work from two sides to see worthwhile results. These two sides are the agency (of course) as well as the client, acting as the agency's partner in success. As much as can be done on the agency's side as the experts in this relationship, the level of responsiveness and feedback of the client as their partner is what really determines success. An agency can create the most amazing inbound marketing strategy to help a company become more successful, but if they never get the client's piece of the equation, their problems will never be truly solved!

Marketing success is not the end of a successful partnership. Once all of the marketing content has been created through the work of both sides of the partnership, there is still much more to be done to test if you truly have an effective and productive partnership! After the marketing content is sent out and leads are generated, what's next? Just as an agency needed help from the client on creating the content, they also need help to track the success of this content! This process happens through a few different steps:


1. Nurturing Leads

After leads are delivered to the client from marketing efforts, it is up to them to contact those leads and further close them through their buyer's journey. In a partnership, the client will have a dedicated sales team waiting to reach out to these leads in a timely manner and start the conversion process!This process is not solely about the work of the client. The agency can lend a hand through marketing automation to help nurture leads and get them closer to the bottom of the marketing funnel.

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2. Closing the Customer

Once the lead is converted to a customer, the process is still not over! For the partnership to come full circle, an agency must know which leads were converted into customers to evaluate which marketing efforts were most effective. Their partnering client should be willing and excited to share this information with them in order to continue with future growth and success for both parties.

Having a close, working partnership with your clients is a worthwhile experience. Their growth feels like your growth and their success feels like your success. While technically it is your success, as you are the one working to drive their results, it will be more fulfilling than just numbers on a screen if you have a positive partnership with each client. You will be proud of the work you have done within your partnership. Whether your agency has 6 customers or 60, if you choose to work closely with them as your partners rather than work for them as your client, you will experience a whole new level of pride for the work you do as an inbound marketing professional.