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How effective is your marketing program?

October 4, 2010

As firms struggle to increase their profitability in a time of reduced revenue, having an effective marketing and business development function is more important than ever. But how do you know whether your firm’s marketing program is doing everything it could — and should — to support your business development efforts?

Five key roles

Assuming that you have the right people in the right place to do what the job requires, here are five roles your marketing staff should be playing to boost your firm’s bottom line:

1. Lead generation and pursuit management. One of marketing’s main job should be to generate leads and keep your business development pipeline full of prospects and suspects. To this end, your firm will need to engage in market research, data mining and direct marketing, conduct seminars, participate in associations, and more. You’ll also need to network and communicate regularly with clients, prospects and referral sources to keep your firm top of mind and show how you can be of service.  

To maximize ROI, have your marketing staff measure the effectiveness of various marketing and business development efforts, as well as track and report on follow-up activities. Also, hold partners and others responsible for making calls, sending e-mails and doing whatever it takes to convert a lead into a client.

2. Leveraging technology. Social media — blogs, networking sites and photo/video sharing sites — offer powerful new ways to communicate quickly and effectively with other participants, so you can increase awareness of your firm and build relationships that generate referrals, turn suspects into prospects, and result in new business. If you don’t yet have a social media marketing plan, you’re missing out.

Because these media can easily drive people to your Website, it’s also important to have a site that’s brand-enhancing, easy to navigate and effective at making the case for doing business with you. (To find out how well your firm is leveraging the latest technology, contact Sarah Johnson,, for a copy of her “Top 10 Social Media Marketing Strategies.”)

3. Cross-selling. To increase client wallet-share, you’ll need to train your people in how to identify needs and propose services to meet them. You’ll also find it helpful to use newsletters, tax guides, and other communications to educate clients about ways you can help them increase their success. (For a helpful “Cross-selling Checklist,” contact Art Kuesel at

4. Client retention. The key to retaining clients is making sure that you’re meeting their needs. To this end, you’ll want to use such vehicles as client satisfaction surveys, client interviews and client advisory boards to facilitate feedback. You’ll also want to rank your client list to make sure you pay especially close attention to your top 50 or 100 most important clients.

5. Business development training. In today’s tug-o-war of professional services, you can’t rely on a few rainmakers to bring in all the business your firm will need to thrive. Everyone in your firm has to be pulling on the rope, or you’ll lose out to others.

To this end, your marketing staff will have to provide training in how to work a room, give an elevator speech, build a referral network, recognize an opportunity, and ask for business. Don’t ever let a lack of business development training keep your firm from realizing its full profit potential.

Art Kuesel is a director of consulting services for PDI Global, Inc. and works exclusively with CPA, law, and financial services firms across the country meeting their most significant marketing and business development challenges. He currently works one-on one with more than 30 CPA firm partners in a coaching capacity helping them build, sustain, and enhance their personal marketing and sales pursuit efforts. He also enjoys gourmet cooking and travel with his wife, Colleen. Art can be reached at  or 312-245-1745.

Comments (1)
As a long time B2B marketer, I think that this is a very good "primer" of good marketing practices for any business services practitioner, accountants included. I'll pass it along on my twitter account @bizcompare.

Geoff Vincent
Posted by Geoff | Monday, October 04 2010 at 1:39PM ET
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