The accounting profession is evolving and many firms continue to expand their service offerings to more and more strategic-level services. As this shift happens, many aren’t sure where to start when it comes to their marketing and business development efforts.
Often, marketing and business development is an unorganized effort with several people working on several different services at the same time. They feel they need to target every service at all times. This thought process leads to frustration, high-stress days and ultimately burnout.
Below I have outlined how to set up a map for your marketing and business development efforts and what your team should focus on once it’s created.
Setting Up Your Map
First, your team should set-up a simple table that lists your services in the left-most column and the months of the year across the top. Each service should have a line for marketing efforts and a line for business development efforts.
Then, take time to really think through each of your services, which months you should be marketing that service and which months you should focus on business development for those services. The goal is that your marketing should feed into your business development so there will be some months of overlap between the two, but marketing will typically start two to three months prior to your business development efforts.
As you work through this table, really think about each service independently so you don’t allow the timeline of the other services to overwhelm you and dictate the wrong months of focus in other areas. Once your table is complete, you should have a holistic picture of when your marketing and business development efforts should happen for each of your services throughout the year.
Once you have completed your table, it may be a little overwhelming to see all your services and all the months that overlap. I suggest the following steps to get focused:
1. Three areas of focus. Start by determining, as a team, which three services you are going to intentionally focus on this month. You most likely can’t start fully concentrate on every single service that is outlined for the month you are in, but you can look at your strategic plan and determine which services will really help set your initiatives up for success.
2. Assign a quarterback. Once you determine your three areas of focus, you should then identify someone on your team who will be the quarterback for each of the services. This can be one person for all three, or three people each owning one. The quarterback’s role is to help orchestrate all marketing and business development efforts, from helping set up ideas for marketing to ensuring the business development conversations are effective, and the appropriate follow-up is happening.
3. Determine your top 50. Figure out your top 50 targets for each of these areas. These could be current clients who need the service or prospects that you’ve been wanting to work with for a while. This helps you to continue in your focused efforts and not get overwhelmed with too many conversations happening all at once.
4. Have successful business development conversations. Lastly, once you have current clients or prospects who are interested in the service(s), you need to make sure that those conversations are productive. Here are the top six questions to help you have a great initial kick-off call and set the stage for future conversations:
- What about this service caught your eye?
- Have you done anything to meet these needs before?
- Why do you think this is the best time to focus on this area?
- How much has not focusing on this area cost your company?
- How has this directly affected you?
- Is there anything else that I should know that might be helpful?
While these tips will help get your firm started in the right direction to determine your marketing and business development map and get focused on targeted services, your ultimate goal is to have the right personnel in the right positions and the technology to really support these targeted efforts. You need individuals who can allocate the appropriate amount of time to target the right prospects and have effect conversations throughout the year.
You’ll also need technology to help you automate marketing and a CRM system that can be used by all areas of your firm to ensure conversations aren’t being overlapped and confusing your messaging for various services. Creating a marketing and business development map takes work, but once your plan is complete, it will be worth it. You’ll see the difference in your bottom line.
The original article appeared on the Boomer Bulletin blog.