My response to these questions is ‘prof services marketers need to lead more on clients insights and relations. True client champions. Not back room’
I accept that most B2B marketers today are far from either being accepted or living up to the expectations of a client champion so I am sharing here some ideas on how any marketer can start to take practical steps in the right direction.
At a high level, I believe professional services marketers need to consider four things first:
1. Setting the agenda
2. Always providing client insight
3. Developing their network
4. Building personal credibility
For each of those four points, here are some practical steps any marketer can take today:
- Understand the business and your market – an obvious one, but you would be amazed how few professional services marketers have a great understanding of either.
- Set a clear framework, objectives, targets and timescales – be clear about what you’re trying to achieve and by when. Set the goals for yourself, but also share them with your peers.
- Be data-driven – marketers have a reputation for embracing everything and measuring nothing. Understand the metrics of your firm and set some hard targets of your own.
- Offer to lead and be accountable – don’t sit at the back of the pack. Stick your neck out!
- Be the ‘go-to’ on your clients – know them best. Collect and interpret data, trends, information etc. and become the person people turn to for factual insights.
- Be proactive – share client profiles and updates. Don’t sit on what you find out!
- Actively highlight potential client opportunities – if you’ve developed and shared the insights then you’ll generate new business ideas too.
- Be the practice area ‘glue’ – everyone wants to cross-sell in a firm but so few think and do anything about it. Make this happen.
- Connect with peers in client organisations – you may think this is hard to do, but if you establish the goal and develop insights and ideas, then others will want to make the connections for you.
- Actively network at client events – have an opinion, know your firm. Don’t sit back as ‘just a marketer’. Be an equal and valuable member of the team.
- Attend other events where clients are present – and not just clients but their other advisers and supply chain partners too.
- Join networking fora – meet and learn from others like you. Share tricks of the trade.
- Be professional – set the standard and live up to the expectations of a true professional.
- Be empathetic but robust – use all your ‘soft’ marketing skills (listening, understanding, insight etc.), but have some steel.
- Share priorities and successes – you’ve shared your goals, but make sure any successes reflect well on your team and firm, not just yourself.
- Influence your peers – you can do so much more through influence than you can do by acting alone.