All tagged marketing

How communication lapses can destroy the reputation of a small professional services firm

A significant portion of new business for small professional services firms comes through referrals. How many times have you as an individual consultant or professional services manager let an email sit in your inbox for a day or two, from a frustrated client? Alternatively, chose to let their phone call ring through to voicemail rather than answering? Or they gave up in a convoluted IVR system that your operations manager recommended as a 'cost savings measure'? Moreover, what is the reputational risk to your business when that disaffected client becomes a 'Detractor' on the Net Promoter Score spectrum?

A recruiter can ruin your Professional Services firm’s reputation with a single email

Very few firms audit the outbound communications of their recruiters. Similarly, very few recruiters offer to allow their clients access to those outbound communications. This has greater potential for reputational damage than an errant sales person harassing a single customer, as that would affect just a single client relationship. In this case, a recruiter that makes your firm look incompetent can dissuade an entire category of skilled professionals from ever wanting to work there, or to recommend that company to a colleague. 

Social Marketing for Professional Services on YouTube

Just under a year ago, we started a web series at work for our senior consultants to work directly with clients in front of a live audience on YouTube. I’ve learned some things along the way that might help similar Professional Services organizations in their social media marketing efforts. Called, “the show,” the intent was to do something more ambitious than a dull vendor teleconference.

Strategic Client Portfolio Management for the Professional Services Firm

Strategic client portfolio management is a challenge for most Professional Services firms. As a result, professional services managers at a significant number of firms are just avoiding the topic. This is unfortunate, as it means sales teams and senior partners are pursuing potential and existing clients based solely on their own intuition rather than a systematic assessment. Firms that strategically decide on which clients are the most important for their limited sales and marketing resources have a competitive advantage when compared to spreading these resources too thin.

Traditionally, Professional Services Key Progress Indicators (KPIs) focus on the financials of the embedded Professional Services Organization or firm. KPIs are useful as a dashboard for understanding and communicating the health of the business, and for decision-making. However, those decisions primarily concern the Professional Services Organization and are of limited interest to the rest of the firm. Bookings, billings, backlog, revenue per region, utilization – these are not top of mind for a sales team.

Outside of the disciplines of advertising and public relations, professional services firms historically have struggled with marketing activities. Unless there’s a Request For Proposal out in the vertical market served by a given firm, there’s not a lot of effort to differentiate the value of a services firm to potential clients. At external professional services firms, a senior partner might have a personal book of business that they manage and that could generate opportunities for the firm. The buyer’s side of the equation is similar. Clients primarily hear about new services firms from their existing network, or indirect sources of advertising about the value and capabilities of a firm.

I thought about our old customer survey process in the course of preparing for upcoming staff reviews. The old process consisted of sending a customer a short email and a link to a five question survey. If the customer hadn't replied within a week, we sent them a reminder about the survey. The email addressed the customer by name and included my phone number in case the customer wanted to speak to me. The customer survey used the Netflix rating system, which is a five point rating scale ranging from "I hated it," to "I loved it." This isn't a unique process. We recently chose to replace it with a process we feel will be more effective.

The team I support deals in matters of regulatory and security compliance. We have specific competencies in privilege management and auditing of privileged users. It's an honor to be the trusted advisors to Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies.