This evolution gave more credence to sales’ long-standing claim that customers’ specific needs were as critical as the offering itself and changed thinking about how to market professional services. As a result, marketing for professional services firms evolved to add more customer-centric insights into offering design.
Customer-Centric Marketing in a Connected World
No doubt about it: the Internet has brought a wealth of new ways for professional services firms to engage with their target audiences. Before the advent of online marketing, professional services marketers spent most of their energy on attracting new prospects. They used a wide swath of pricey outbound techniques—everything from television ads to trade-show booths to cultivate brand awareness when marketing professional services firms.
Today a top-quality professional services marketing plan creates inbound messages that draw customers in and help prospects find the services they need exactly when they need it. Old school “push” tactics like mass mailings to big lists and cold calling by salespeople are less relevant to marketing professional services firms in today’s connected world. Instead, selling professional services requires new inbound approaches—such as blogs, social media, and Web sites—to give firms visibility and let customers come to them. Marketing for professional services firms has taken on new dimensions.
Now, professional services business development teams in marketing and sales can join forces to guide prospects through the sales funnel and nurture lasting customer loyalty. As social communities blossom, your tech-savvy customers can readily engage with you online via two-way communication channels and offer you feedback to make your professional services marketing plan even stronger.
Marketing Practices in High-Growth Professional Services Firms
If you have to learn how to market professional services in today’s connected world, you need not worry. You’re not alone. Still, you have access to all the insights you need to show you how to sell professional services. A recent study of 500 firms shows a typical professional services marketing plan has significant room for improvement. While 77% of respondents generate some leads online, far too many professional services firms of every size and maturity level are still relying on costly, outdated “push” or “interrupt” marketing tactics. Nearly half of all respondents generated less than 20% of their sales leads online, with almost a quarter producing no online leads at all.
Better online marketing for professional services firms isn’t just a nice idea, it’s a must do. Consider these stats:
- Firms generating between 40% to 100% over their leads online grew four times faster than those generating no online leads
- The fastest growth occurred among firms generating between 40-59% of their leads online
- Firms that generate less than 20% of their leads online experience less profitability
Research also shows what fast-growing professional service firms are doing differently in online marketing. You can rely on their proven success to determine how to sell professional services in your organization. High-growth professional service firms place more focus on business development tactics such as blogging, SEO services, and email marketing than their average growth counterparts. Plus, fast growing firms put more emphasis on connecting through key social channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Other distinguishing features of marketing for professional services firms with high growth:
- More frequent website updates
- Much greater use of online contact forms
- More likely to increase online marketing spend at a greater rate
Take ActionThe result: high-growth professional service firms generate five times more leads online than those growing at an average rate. You can learn from the success of high-growth firms. With smart tactics, you can create a comprehensive online marketing plan and have better success in selling professional services.
Without a doubt, thinking about how to sell professional services has changed radically. Today, your professional services marketing plan should have a strong online component. When this occurs, your marketing and sales teams can play a part the full lifecycle of the customer relationship. A solid online strategy lets marketing and sales discard their long-standing sibling rivalry. This empowers both teams to focus on how to sell professional services which meet meet customers’ true needs.
Tell us what you are doing to boost your online marketing:
- Do you have innovative ideas about how to market professional services online?
- What are you doing to create a unite your marketing and sales teams to create a stronger professional services marketing plan?