I contacted a design team to redo my company’s website (small company, <100 employees, in the construction industry, been around for about 30 years). The graphic designer told me that I need to provide him with precisely what we need in terms of structure of the site, the content, and the general style.
That was a couple of weeks ago, and since then I’ve been breaking my head over what we want and where to put it. I don’t know how to design a website, and I don’t know what we want or where we want it. I know who we want to market to, and how we want to present our company, but I can’t design a B2B website.
Am I supposed to provide all of this to the graphic designer, or is he supposed to be doing all this as a design professional?
This completely depends on you and your designer. Most likely your designer is asking for the following things:
What you want on your website. This includes what the purpose of the website should be and any important information related to that purpose, such as your company information that you want people to have, information about the services that you offer, etc.
Some examples of similar sites that you liked and want your website to be similar to. This is very helpful for designers in terms of understanding what you want so that they can come up with designs that at least resemble what you have in your head. No matter what you think, you do have some expectations for how the website will look and will function. Knowing those in advance makes designers’ jobs a lot easier and the whole process shorter.
(if you have them) Other materials that you’ve had (and liked) in the past. As Scott said in a comment, any materials that your company has from the past and like would be helpful as well.
Based on your brief description, that is most likely what your designer is asking for. They are most likely not looking for you to design the website.
The question is: why are you asking us these questions and not them?
Now, you could find a designer who doesn’t ask for or need this information. They will just assume what your business needs are and what it should look like and then ask you if/when they come to an area that they need info for.
Most designers don’t work that way because it’s generally terrible for both parties involved. But if you really don’t care that much, you can make that clear when talking to a designer.