Professional to Business (P2B) Marketing and Business Development
07/13/2015Welcome to PunchList, a blog dedicated to helping professional services firms grow their revenues. We will provide you with ideas, tips and case studies that will stimulate your thinking about the possibilities for marketing at your firm. My motivation for creating Punch List is a result of my more than 30 years working with lawyers, accountants and consultants. I have found that even the largest and most sophisticated of firms are still struggling with marketing and business development. In my posts and those of my guests, we will break marketing and business development down to the basics. I hope you will send me questions that I can address in future posts.
As competition increases and business contracts, professionals have to do more than be good at their technical area. It is no longer a case of “If I do good work, more will come.” Professionals need to be visible and well known to their clients and potential clients so there is no question about whom they are going to call when the need for services arises.
Marketing professional services is not like other B2B sales and the same techniques do not apply. Copy machines are sold on the basis of features and benefits, while “professional to business (P2B)” sales come as a result of building strong relationships.
The end game of professional services marketing and business development is:
To develop strong relationships with prospects, clients and referral sources who will reach out to the professional service providers when the need for services arises. The best result is when professional services provider know their prospective clients well enough that they can anticipate their needs.
I am often asked what the difference is between marketing and business development. The differences are not always so clear-cut.
Marketing activities are those that enhance visibility and name recognition, build reputations and maintain contact with target audiences. These activities are often carried out by staff or outsourced service providers in close coordination with the professional services providers. Examples of marketing activities include media relations, branding, websites, social media, client communications and events.
Business development is another word for sales. Since selling in professional services firms is focused on relationship development, business development activities are those that develop and nurture potential clients in the sales pipeline. Examples of business development activities include direct marketing, trade shows, social and educational events, meetings, phone calls, speeches at trade and participation in professional organizations. Many firms use a database system, called a client relationship management (CRM) to track the progress of relationships and manage firm communications and mailings. Often times, professionals need training and coaching in order to develop and execute plans for building their own books of business.
Since it can take at least eighteen months to turn a prospect into a client, firms use other metrics to assess the progress of their marketing programs. For example, an increase in the number of:
- Targeted media placements.
- Lawyers ranked and awards received.
- Firm publications and online communications.
- Prospects in the professionals’ contact lists.
- Meetings with prospects, clients and referral sources.
- Speeches to targeted organizations.
- Professionals who have personal marketing and business development plans.
- Conferences and networking events attended.
Please follow PunchList to learn how to build sustainable marketing and business development programs.