You have spent countless hours developing your firm’s marketing materials, meticulously reviewing content and design to ensure consistent branding and flawless copy that speaks to your firm’s knowledge, experience and value.
But are your professionals using these materials? Do they know where to find them? Do they even know you have them?
Empowering client-facing team members to succeed in business development is an ongoing effort and topic of discussion for many professional services firms. As marketers, part of our job is to provide the sales training and tools our professionals need.
Creating effective materials is half the battle. But the other half is ensuring your professionals can easily access the materials and are trained on how to effectively and appropriately use them.
In an increasingly competitive professional services marketplace, we are always looking for ways to further empower our professionals in their business development efforts. Your marketing materials are only valuable if your sales force (for most of us, our doer-sellers) can access them when they need to.
If you have marketing materials developed, but your doer-sellers don’t have easy, immediate access to them, you may find yourself with one of the following situations:
- Your doer-sellers assume your firm does not have these materials, and just move on (using “we don’t have the materials we need” as an excuse not to fully participate in the business development process).
- Your doer-sellers assume your firm does not have these materials, so they make up sales content and summaries on their own (without your knowledge or review).
- Your doer-sellers actually ask you for the materials, which you are happy to provide, but your productivity takes a hit as you respond to these types of administrative requests. And sometimes, you simply may not have the time to respond to every request immediately.
If any of these situations sound familiar, your firm may find it beneficial to keep these resources all in one place accessible by everyone, whether it’s a shared folder on your network, your firm intranet, or a tool such as POUNCE (shamelessly promotional, I know—but this is the POUNCE blog after all).
To arm your doer-sellers for success, you must also train them how to access and appropriately use your materials. Of course, best practices in marketing materials will vary from firm to firm, but here are some of the guidelines we share with our professionals at P&N for providing our marketing materials to a prospect:
- A prospect or client is probably not going to read a packet of marketing materials that is 30 pages long. Keep it concise.
- If the prospect is a new relationship for the firm, consider providing a piece of general “About the Firm” information to give them an introduction to our organization and help to establish our credibility.
- If you already have a good indication of the services the prospect is interested in (for example, they told you they are looking for a new external auditor), you should definitely send them the marketing materials we have directly related to that service.
- If you do NOT have a solid indication of the services the prospect is interested in, resist the urge to send them service-specific marketing materials for everything they may possibly need. A better approach is to first have an open dialogue with them about their challenges and follow up with the appropriate service materials based on the conversation. Focus on their needs first.
- If there are industry summaries, case studies, etc., that demonstrate to the prospect that the firm is familiar with their industry and serve similar clients, this could be very valuable to provide. Just be sure you don’t overwhelm them with case studies of EVERY similar client.
- Make sure you are using updated materials. If you’re not sure, ask us. DO NOT SAVE MATERIALS TO YOUR DESKTOP AND USE THEM FOR THE NEXT 9 YEARS.
Business development is already a process that makes “non-sales” people uncomfortable. In order to continue to nurture a business development culture, it is critical to make the simple stuff (such as finding materials) as easy as possible.