8 Best Practices to Drive Investment Banking Marketing Results 

by Trisha Gallagher | June 26, 2024

Investment banking firms that are serious about growth realize they can’t rely solely on referrals to generate the revenue boost they seek. They know that the industry is more competitive than ever (thank you, Internet) and many owners believe they can sell the business themselves. They also understand that selling a company is a highly emotional event for their prospective clients. This is not just a transaction; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event for most owners. So, they need 100% assurance they’re placing their trust in the right investment banking partner.

All those facts make strategic marketing a must-have for growth-minded investment banking firms.

Marketri has helped many investment banking firms generate a more robust lead pipeline, accelerate deal flow, and achieve ambitious growth goals through strategic marketing, even in challenging economic times and competitive markets. We’re pulling the curtain back on our most successful investment banking marketing programs and sharing some of the best practices that have helped our clients achieve stellar results.  

1) Stay Relevant Throughout a Long Sales Cycle

When you’re selling a business, timing is everything. The owner has to feel ready to exit (or at least to sell a majority interest), and that can depend on many factors: Are they nearing retirement age and looking to wind down? Do they feel the business has outgrown their ability to take it further? Have they determined there’s no one internally who’s equipped (or willing) to succeed them?

Whatever the reason, it usually doesn’t spring up overnight. Business owners often spend years contemplating the idea…which means they might spend years in your marketing funnel before they make a move.

Staying relevant throughout this long sales cycle means staying top of mind with messaging that’s consistent over the long haul, across multiple channels and campaigns. A multi-channel approach can keep you in front of prospects throughout an extended decision journey, so they remember you when they’re finally ready to take their business to market.

2) Play the Numbers Game

At any given time, only a subset of the prospects you’re targeting will be ready to take the business to market. You’ve got to cast a net that’s wide enough to generate a sufficient number of leads to generate the number of deals you hope to close annually. Lead quality remains critical though, so avoid buying broad prospect lists that are wasteful and could run afoul of evolving data privacy laws. There are more effective ways to build a targeted-but-robust prospect list. (Ask us what and how we’re doing it!)

3) Make a Personal Connection

Demographics like your prospect’s industry, annual revenue, and years in business are nice to know. But you really want to understand why they’re selling and what challenges are driving the decision, so you can connect with them personally and authentically. The better you understand their motivations, the better you can connect with them through content and messaging that proves you’re the right partner to guide them through the highly emotional, complex process of selling the company that represents their life’s work.

4) Show Off Your Industry Expertise

When an owner is ready to sell, they want to work with a partner that understands the complexities and nuances of their industry and can apply that knowledge to achieve the best deal outcome. Your strategic marketing plan should include lots of ways to demonstrate your industry expertise.

Develop sector-specific webpages, blogs, and other content. Tag your tombstones by industry so they’re easy to spot. Become actively involved in the industry associations they participate in. And try to secure a speaking engagement at the conferences they attend.

Speaking engagements deliver a big bang for the buck because they boost your credibility, showcase your industry-specific expertise, and set the stage for networking with audience members later.

5) Leverage Referral Partners Strategically

Like many professional services firms, investment bankers seek referrals from partners whose offerings complement their own. But it’s often a passive effort: You refer me and I’ll refer you.

Actively engaging in collaborative marketing with selected partners can be much more powerful for two reasons: It’s a more effective way to gain visibility with a partner’s clients, and it elevates your credibility. Consider jointly hosting a webinar or speaking engagement, co-authoring articles in industry publications, co-creating educational videos, and developing joint client testimonials with trusted referral sources.

6) Get Out There and Meet Them

Post-COVID, the world seems to be craving more connection. And that’s playing out on the marketing front as more companies are spending more time and budget on connecting with prospects in person.

Find out where your prospects are gathering and add those events to your marketing plan. But be sure to avoid the common trap of simply showing up at every industry event. Evaluate each opportunity diligently, identify the events with the highest ROI potential, and maximize your involvement with a well-thought-out marketing plan.  

7) Give Direct Mail a Fresh Look

Many business professionals are back to the office. They’re inundated with emails. And if they’re at the point of selling a business, they’re likely Baby Boomers who grew up with traditional marketing methods. Add it all up and you see why digital marketing is making a comeback in general and in investment banking marketing plans specifically.

A strategically targeted, well-designed direct mailer might be just the way to get in front of your most desirable prospects.

How the Experts at Marketri Can Help

These are just a few of the marketing best practices that are helping growth-minded investment banking firms stand out among a sea of me-too messaging, differentiate their services, generate more leads, and convert more prospects to clients. But just like there’s no DIY playbook for taking a business to market, you shouldn’t try to go it alone when it comes to marketing.

Modern marketing marries strategy development, thoughtful planning, and flawless execution, leveraging technologies that allow you to generate leads at scale and continually fine-tune your approach for the best results. All of that requires specialized expertise that most investment banking firms can’t afford to hire on staff.

Marketri’s outsourced marketing model and Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) services enable you to gain all the marketing expertise and capabilities you need, without tying up a disproportionate portion of your budget on salaries. You get the exact slice of marketing you need to drive revenue growth and generate a measurable ROI.

Schedule a call with our CEO Deb Andrews to learn how our outsourced marketing model can power-up your investment banking firm’s marketing results.