Whether you call yourself consultant, project manager, attorney, advisor or account executive, and the services you provide are accounting, HR, IT, logistics, legal or marketing, if you and your employer sell your knowledge and expertise to other businesses you should be seriously considering making inbound marketing a key part of your business development plans.
Do I sound pretty convinced in this assertion? Well, I am, and here are some of the reasons why I feel so strongly about this.
Start with the idea that the majority of professional service firms are hired because a business has a problem that has become too distracting, complicated or dangerous to continue ignoring, and senior management has become convinced they don't have the internal expertise to resolve the issue.
So who they gonna call? That's easy, and you know the answer. They're going to call a short list of the firms and people they've become aware of while their problem slowly grew and they gradually became aware of the need to bring in help. Firms that seem to dominate the search terms that have been most productive, and who have on their websites the most relevant and current content that seems to speak directly to their issues, and the reason they're there.
If you're reading this because you manage or work for a professional service firm, take a minute to answer a few questions about your own online preparedness to attract prospects at their moment of need. Because if you're not prepared you're potentially missing out on what could be both the largest and fastest growing source of business development leads.
Do you understand your best prospects pain points well enough to articulate in their own words? So your content reflects your intimate understanding of their situation and needs?
Have you developed prospect personas so you can create content that speaks to their values, fears and beliefs? Since bringing in a consultant involves some personal risk, empathy is critical.
Do you have a disciplined content strategy that has defined goals, editorial strategies, roles and protocols?
Have you created a social media plan to distribute and promote content and serve as a vital source of prospect web traffic? Do you know where your best prospects are online?
Have you formulated a focused SEO strategy that recognizes the nuanced complexity of SEO today and provides appropriate care to optimize all influencers?
Have you integrated sales and marketing processes to ensure effective conversion of leads to clients? Since qualified leads are valuable and perishable, you don't want to waste 'em!
Inbound marketing makes it an incredibly exciting time to be selling professional services, bounded only by the reach of our ambition. It's never been easier for the world to find the most brilliant people and firms, regardless of their size, as long as those firms are doing what's possible to be found when they're needed. If you know today that your firm would instantly have a more robust sale pipeline if only more people could find you, what are you going to do about it tomorrow?
Posted by Greg Linnemanstons With 18+ years in senior management roles at Fortune 500® and medium-sized companies, Greg has deep marketing and sales experience with CPGs and manufacturing. He leads strategic initiatives with clients and is involved in developing client inbound marketing plans. Greg holds an M.B.A. from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management and a B.A. in Economics from Lawrence University.