Successful marketing – like accounting – is all about numbers as it takes X number of leads to become Y number of prospects that can be turned into Z number of sales.
Human nature, being what it is, encourages sales professionals to grab the easiest leads entering the sales funnel first and nurture them through the sales journey to get their numbers up. But sooner or later, the odds turn against them and it becomes harder and harder to find easy-to-convert leads.
Desperate to keep the funnel full, marketing teams often turn to techniques of last resort and least efficiency, such as cold-calling. As marketing falters, so do sales and revenue.
What’s missing is a go-to-market (GTM) strategy – a strategic roadmap that lays out a route to more successful sales. A GTM strategy is NOT a business plan. Think of as a more tactical supplement that focuses specifically on prospects, your services, and how you’re going to sell them.
An effective GTM spells out what you’re selling and to whom. It defines your competitive advantage and how you’re going to set your brand apart from the rest of the pack.
Developing a successful GTM strategy for an accounting firm doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, there are just four core elements that form its foundation:
1. Determine Your Target Market
I know this sounds backwards, but before you try to figure out what services you’ll be selling, it’s important to first establish your target market. Why? Because only by knowing who you’re selling to and what they really need will you be able to determine what it is you need to sell.
Of course, having a particular skill set and market experience can be major determining factors. For example, if you do corporate accounting and have a lot of experience in, say, the manufacturing industry, it doesn’t make much sense to go after healthcare services. Likewise, if there’s a specific manufacturing industry niche that’s underserved by accounting firms with similar attributes to yours, you may want to target that niche.
2. Establish Your Target Client Profile
For example, with your manufacturing industry experience does that mean that every manufacturing company is fair game for your firm? No. It’s important to distill down your target audience to establish the ideal client profile that fits your firm’s ability to provide efficient and effective service.
Perhaps you’ve found that your sweet spot is small-to-medium-size manufacturers with $20-$50 million in annual sales and multiple big-ticket commercial product lines in highly competitive markets. Bingo! You’ve just identified your perfect target client and an industry sector on which to focus.
3. Narrow Your Target Client Focus
Here’s an interesting fact: the more you narrow your target client focus, the faster your firm will grow. Our research has revealed that high-growth, high-profit firms target prospects possessing a very specific set of characteristics, attributes, or business structures. The more diverse and unfocused your target audience, the more unfocused and diluted your sales and marketing efforts will be.
4. Research Your Target Client’s Wants and Needs
Do you actually know what your idea target client is looking for from an accounting firm? If your marketing efforts are based on assumptions and “best guesses” you may be surprised at what prospects really want from you. Objective research will reveal the “pains” your prospects experience and help you uncover the “cures” you can offer to make your firm more attractive to prospects and build greater brand value for you.
There you have it – the four core elements that can help your firm develop a powerful GTM strategy and create a unique, more valuable brand that sets you apart from your competitors. With the right target audience, client profile, and research you can supercharge your marketing efforts to attract the perfect prospects and grow your business faster and more efficiently.
Lee W. Frederiksen, PhD, is managing partner at Hinge, a marketing firm that specializes in branding and marketing for professional services. Hinge conducts groundbreaking research into high-growth firms and offers a complete suite of services for firms that want to...