On May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary reached the top of Mount Everest, but he wouldn’t have succeeded without his fellow climber, the Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Sherpas had long been known for their positive spirit, strength and mountain skills, and Hillary’s choice of partner was critical to his ability to literally reach new heights.

I’ve actually heard B2B marketers liken their Web site initiatives to climbing Mount Everest. Very few have all the necessary skills to navigate the journey, so they seek to partner with external agencies specializing in Web technology. With the rapid pace of innovation in Web technologies and Internet marketing, hundreds of Web design and Web development companies are ready and willing to assist, but selecting the right partner can be a daunting task.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a Web partner:

  • Experience and expertise. A Web site design company with experience in B2B marketing knows what the customer wants and designs relevant solutions. Its services should complement your organization’s skills and expertise, so identify the areas where the agency can supplement your skills.
  • Depth of solutions. With so many vendors offering a multitude of digital marketing services, companies often end up partnering with multiple companies to address their Web site needs. Check out the services that each vendor offers. At a minimum, a Web site partner should possess skills that encompass design, content, search engine optimization and analytics.
  • Breadth of solutions. Make sure the Web site partner has the skills to support the design of your Web site, including knowledge of your content management system (CMS), open-source CMS (Joomla, Drupal), Flash animations and how all of these technologies interact. If you need a mobile-enabled Web site, does this partner have the skills?
  • Client references and portfolio. Ask for the agency’s references and portfolio. These resources provide firsthand information about capabilities and level of expertise.

Above all, outline clear objectives in order to evaluate vendors’ capabilities against your needs, then choose the “Web Sherpa” with the right skills to help you reach the summit.