The professional services sector is highly competitive, sometimes fragmented, and often dominated by national players formed through rollups. If you lead a middle market CPA, law, engineering, or other professional services firm, you know the challenges of competing in a field like this.
That’s why more professional services firms are turning to modern marketing to drive revenue growth.
Exactly what do leaders of professional services firms expect of their marketers—or, what should they expect? Our experience leading marketing for professional services firms shows there are key expectations you can’t overlook if you want marketing to drive a steady pipeline of leads that convert to sales.
You Expect Marketers to Understand What You Do
When I meet with prospective clients in professional services, I hear a common complaint: “Marketing doesn’t understand our business.” That manifests itself in lots of costly ways. Your marketers might create content that uses the wrong terminology in the wrong way or doesn’t convey what makes you different. So you end up doing a lot of rework—taking your time and attention from critical functions like meeting with prospects, closing deals, and doing billable work.
How can professional services marketers overcome this problem? By immersing themselves in your business.
They should be willing to take some of the same trainings an early-stage professional in your field takes, so they can walk in those shoes.
They should read your client deliverables, like an audit report for a CPA firm or an environmental assessment for an engineering firm.
They should talk to your customers to understand why they chose you and how they’re benefitting from your services.
They should get their hands dirty.
Of course, it helps if you choose a marketing partner that’s worked with clients in your industry and can avoid the learning curve. But at a minimum, they should have deep experience in professional services and a proven process for understanding your business.
(On the other hand, be wary of marketers that have ONLY worked in your industry. Their limited breadth of experience will limit their perspective—and that can limit your results.)
You Expect a Better Way to Staff Your Marketing
A mid-sized professional services firm needs to leverage all the disciplines of modern marketing but can’t afford to staff up like a big competitor. When professional services firms approach us, they’re in a quandary about how to solve that.
The right marketing partner can offer a fractional approach that allows you to tap exactly the resources you need, when you need them, without overinvesting in any one area. Rather than try to hire a full in-house team—which is financially out of reach for middle market firms—a fractional marketing model gives you access to all the A+ talent you need for marketing strategy, execution, and measurement. For a fraction of what it would cost to build a full in-house team, you gain the expertise of a fractional CMO, analytics expert, digital marketing director, marketing technologist, content strategist, and more!
Download this case study to learn how Marketri helped five professional services firms build awareness and grow.
You Expect Marketing to Help You Compete for Top Clients
Even if you haven’t been rolled up into a big firm, you still want to compete for bigger, better clients. Professional services firms that want to compete on a larger stage expect marketers to strengthen their brand recognition and credibility so they can go after the best business.
If you want to differentiate yourself in a consolidating market and go up against bigger players, you need marketers that understand how to develop and execute a thought leadership strategy that draws leads into the funnel and nurtures them throughout their buying journey. Whether it’s an educational blog on the hottest trend in your industry, a gated guide that delves deep into a topic that’s on your buyers’ minds, or a compelling case study that gets your client doing the talking for you, your marketers need the skills and experience to get it done.
You Expect Marketers to Be Strategic, Not Tactical
No company can afford to engage in scattershot “marketing things” that don’t align with their goals or generate warm leads that are sales-ready. But that’s what happens when different lines of business keep submitting marketing requests in a vacuum. When you lack the same budgets and other resources as your larger competitors, spinning your wheels with these random acts of marketing becomes incredibly costly.
That’s why professional services firms expect their marketers to lead with strategy, not an arbitrary list of tactics. They recognize the value of conducting due diligence, researching the market, assessing the competition, and creating an ideal customer profile. That groundwork sets the foundation for developing a strategic marketing plan that becomes the roadmap to executing, optimizing, and measuring results.
At the same time, professional services firms expect their marketing strategy to stay agile so they can pivot based on what’s happening in the business or the market. The right marketing partner keeps current on changing conditions, advises the firm’s partners, and adjusts the strategy and plan to keep you on track to achieve your goals.
You Expect Marketing to Attract Talent
Your professional services firm can only grow as fast you can add the right talent to your team. And in today’s tight labor market, that’s a major challenge.
What does that have to do with marketing? Everything.
Successful professional services firms expect their marketers to not only attract ideal buyers, but also attract ideal employees. They recognize that marketing can develop an employer brand that makes the company attractive to candidates and engaging for the current team.
Generating leads and attracting candidates are entirely different functions—one B2B, the other B2C—and most in-house teams aren’t equipped to do both equally well. If you want to leverage marketing for both objectives, the fractional marketing model can be a great solution.
You Expect Marketers to Measure and Report on Results
Marketing is a measurable discipline, thanks to all the analytics at our disposal. Successful professional services firms know this, so they expect their marketers to map out the key performance indicators (KPIs) their marketing plan will achieve and report on those KPIs often, by campaign. This powerful data gives them the flexibility to do more of what’s working well, tweak what’s underperforming, and optimize the marketing budget for better results.
For instance, is your marketing driving more traffic to your website? Are you bringing more marketing-generated leads into the pipeline, at a higher velocity? Are you converting more of those leads to sales? What’s your average cost to acquire a new customer?
Expect your marketing partner to provide not only strategy and execution, but the analytical tools to measure success against the metrics that matter to your business.
You Expect a Trusted Advisor to Guide You
Marketing isn’t your core business (just like accounting or engineering isn’t ours). That’s why most professional services firms don’t want a marketer that simply fills orders. They’re looking for a partner that will play an integral role in their growth journey, with marketing strategists and fractional CMOs who can come to the C-suite table as an advisor, set and prioritize budgets, and ensure you have the right talent, processes, and technologies to achieve your marketing goals. That’s especially critical if you’re in a high-growth mode, with aggressive goals to meet but limited resources to get you there.
Marketri is the trusted partner for professional services firms that want to turn marketing into a revenue-generating engine. Our professional services marketers help leading firms differentiate their offerings and generate a predictable pipeline of sales-ready leads.
If you’re ready to team up with a professional services marketing partner that can help you stand out and thrive in a competitive market, schedule a call with our CEO Deb Andrews.