New Year’s Resolutions

By Rachael Higginbotham

New year resolutions

I’m a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. There’s just something about a clean slate, a blank chapter, and the prospect of taking a foundation I’ve worked to build for 40 years and making it a little bit better.

I’ve had enough New Years that I have no illusions that my resolutions are going to completely change my life. And that’s fine; life change is not necessary or appealing for me right now. But there are things I want to accomplish, and setting resolutions helps me establish goals and a path to move the needle in a few specific areas that are important to me.

I also believe strongly in the power of focus.

Making one or two important resolutions is much more impactful than making a bunch of smaller ones.

For example, one of my two resolutions this year is to make my health and fitness a priority. For me, this means upping my gym attendance by one time a week, adding a weekly flexibility class, and focusing on my nutrition. I have a foundation and the tools I need (a gym membership and a yoga mat), but I’ve had these things for a while and I’m still struggling. So what will be different this year? The tools are the exact same; the difference is the way I use them, and that’s completely on me. I can’t make more time in the day, and no one else can make better nutritional decisions for me. The delta is focus and consistency. I have to remove things that are taking my attention to make room for additional workouts. I have to consistently remove peanut M&Ms from my daily diet. Something has to go to make room for the things I want most.

I believe the concept of New Year’s resolutions can also be beneficial in the workplace. Instead of focusing on new personal resolutions, marketing departments can focus on new business solutions. What are your firm’s goals? How can your team help? How can you be more strategic with your time? These are the types of questions that make a marketer’s brain hum. Just like my fitness and nutrition goals, marketing departments must focus on their highest priorities, or the needle will get stuck in the noise and not move. What are you spending time on that doesn’t necessarily need to be done by you, or isn’t necessary to do at all?

For everything your team can (and should) take on, something has to go.

Sometimes, what has to go (up) is your payroll budget, meaning that your firm makes a strategic investment in additional marketing resources. Oftentimes, though, this is not the case. The best thing for many firms is to maintain the size of marketing departments, but to do that the team must become more efficient and effective in their roles. Some ideas for this include improving processes, training, leveraging, and of course technology.

At P&N, our marketing technology stack includes several off-the-shelf and customized tools. A core component of our process is POUNCE. With this tool, we have seen response time for marketing materials go from hours (sometimes days), to minutes, with little to no involvement from marketing resources. We have seen the accuracy and consistency of our professionals’ resumes (in both proposals and our website) improve through no additional effort of the marketing department. And we have seen increased usage of marketing materials simply by having them available 24/7 to our doer-sellers.

Why was this important to our firm? Before we could start being more strategic, we had to stop being as administrative. There is simply not time to do both.

What is your team going to focus on doing this year? And what are you going to stop doing in order to make it happen?

 

HeadshotCropped_Rachael_HigginbothamRachael Higginbotham is the Marketing Director for Postlethwaite & Netterville. With over 15 years of marketing and consulting experience—including a decade in the world of accounting marketing—her strengths include marketing strategy, business development coaching and support, ROI development, brand management and strategic corporate projects.

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Dear Santa…

Dear Santa,

We’ve worked really hard this year. We launched an updated brand, developed a new website, and helped grow our sales pipeline. So if you deem us worthy of a spot on your nice list, here is what we would like:

  • A marketing team member who is highly creative, super organized, a great writer, presenter, and graphic designer, and knows all the latest technology
  • Or maybe a unicorn
  • A dress code policy change to allow sweats if the temperature drops below 60° (that’s cold to us in south Louisiana!)
  • Even more qualified opportunities in our pipeline
  • Wine (of course)
  • An office puppy named “The Boss” (“Sorry I’m late for the meeting, I needed to take The Boss for a quick walk.”)

Also, we know you have a lot on your plate right at year-end so if you need any help understanding the latest pending and enacted tax law changes and how they might affect you and Mrs. Claus, we’d be happy to help you out.

Merry Christmas,

P&N’s Marketing Team

The Power of Professional Resumes in Professional Services

A professional resume is something that every professional needs, but not everyone bothers to write. Or they write one once, and then never update it. Or they wait until it’s needed for a proposal and just jot down the first few things that come to mind without putting much thought into it.

That’s a huge missed opportunity. Your professional resume is a strategic marketing tool, and should be given the effort and attention it deserves. A professional resume should be a concise overview of your skills, experience and achievements as they relate to specific services being offered or market segments being targeted.

Consider the following when developing your professional resume:

Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes.

Focus your professional resume on how you help your clients.

Keep in mind that even though your resume is ABOUT you, it is not FOR you.

Of course, there should be a focus on your achievements and experience, but it is important to show prospects how you use that experience to help them. Explain the significance of your achievements.

Once you have drafted your resume, try the “so what?” test. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes, and for each item on your resume, ask yourself “why do I care?” Does this help instill confidence in the person reading your resume that you are competent and trustworthy? If not, edit.

Use language prospects understand.

You may be an expert in state sales tax legislation, but that doesn’t mean your prospects are. Be mindful of using industry jargon and providing too much detail. It’s important to strike a balance between detailed descriptions that demonstrate your knowledge, and big picture thinking that shows you understand your clients’ overall goals and challenges.

Try to adapt to your prospects’ vocabulary. Use key words and phrases that will resonate with them. Remember, it’s about them, not you.

And while we’re at it, not everything in your resume needs an acronym. Sometimes, “project management” experience > “PM” experience.

Ensure consistency with your firm’s style and brand.

One of the most common problems with professional resumes is a lack of consistency. You want to present your professionals as a cohesive team. The style in which your resume is written should reflect your firm’s brand.

Keep it concise.

People have very short attention spans. Your professional resume is intended to be a snapshot of your knowledge, skills and experience—just enough to demonstrate how you help your clients and why you are qualified.

Your professional resume is not intended to be a complete autobiographic chronicle of your life, to be bound in leather and passed down to your great-grandchildren. That’s a different story for another time.

UPDATE IT!

Your professional resume is not—I repeat, is NOT—a “one-and-done” exercise.

You don’t want your resume to seem frozen in time. It is important to update your resume with recent experience and achievements on a regular basis, at least annually.

Spend the most resume real estate on what your focus is now, with exceptions for outstanding honors or experiences that have had a significant impact on how you got to your current position.

Conclusion

As a professional, your clients are seeking your knowledge and experience, and the best way to capture this information is in the form of a resume.

A good professional resume can help clients feel confident in hiring your firm, and can put them at ease knowing that your team is ready and capable of helping them to achieve their goals. As a marketing tool, your resume should make it clear why someone should trust and work with you.

Now that you’ve crafted an effective professional resume, contact us to learn how POUNCE can help your firm manage resumes and marketing materials for business development.

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Announcing Our New POUNCE Blog

Today is an exciting day. We are taking a new step in our crusade to help empower marketing and technical professionals alike in the accounting, legal and A/E/C industries in business development and firm growth.

As a lean marketing department supporting a professional services firm of 450+ team members, we understand firsthand many of the obstacles to growth encountered by firms today. Technology changes faster than marketers can keep up, the needs of our doer-sellers continue to increase, and our own roles continue to evolve.

Regardless of how fast things change, we love the people we work with, the work we do, and the challenge of it all, and we are passionate about sharing our lessons learned with others in similar positions.

Here’s what you can look forward to in the POUNCE blog:

  • Firsthand insights from our own successes (and not so-successes) in helping create and support a growth culture
  • Ideas and best practices on how to maximize your impact as marketing and business development professionals
  • Resources you can pass along to your doer-sellers to encourage participation in the sales process
  • Ways we’ve been able to leverage technology to support and streamline business development efforts

If you are responsible for marketing or business development efforts in a professional services firm, this blog is meant for you. We invite you to join the conversation. We welcome your thoughts, comments, suggestions and questions.

Thank you for reading!

Sincerely,

The POUNCE Team

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