Referrals and reputation have and always will be important, but in today’s competitive landscape where opposition has become more established, professional services firms need to keep up. The firms using marketing and business development tactics together to widen the scope of their offering see the most success with attracting new clients.
In this blog, we are going to walk you through why it’s time to start looking at marketing and business development as two sides of the same coin and how you can get them to work in harmony for your firm.
Firms often are not investing enough time and resources into making these processes work for them, and subsequently end up in the hamster wheel of something we call “random acts of marketing” — low-value, low-leverage activities that don’t actually grow your firm.
The aims of marketing and business development are very similar. Marketing is about knowing what your USPs (unique selling points) are, establishing your position in the market, and developing your message in order to generate interest in your services. B2B organisations that undertake marketing activities like posting 16 or more blog entries a month enjoy 3.5x more traffic than those who post four or fewer. (Source: Hubspot, April 2019).
Similarly, business development also focuses on getting new business over the line—but it goes one step further. Your efforts should bridge the gap between your marketing and your brand by acting as the physical representation of your firm. It’s about making connections and being present wherever your prospects are (i.e. at events, tradeshows, forums etc.). Your business development efforts should grow the firm and generate new business by pursuing new relationships and paying close attention to existing ones. This means forming partnerships with your peers and building associations, being seen as a leader in your industry, identifying new markets, and continually building on client relationships.
Marketing and business development are designed to work side by side, as they both seek to achieve the same goal of attracting right-fit leads to your offering. They do however tackle the task very differently, so it’s important not to conflate the two.
These findings from HubSpot demonstrate the importance of making sure that your marketing and business development strategies are aligned:
81% of people who think their business development and marketing are well aligned say that their marketing strategy is effective. Conversely, 73% of people who think their business development and marketing are not well aligned also think their marketing strategy is not effective. (Source: HubSpot, 2017).
How to make the best of both business development and marketing:
- Strategy development – From the very outset, marketing and business development teams should work together to work out the objectives and best strategy for communicating the firm’s message. This ensures there are no crossed wires and both teams are working towards a specific goal, meaning a higher rate of success.
- Content development – Business development needs to identify content topics by communicating with current clients and prospective clients. Their findings then need to be communicated to the marketing team. Making sure what you say and how you say it is relevant and interesting to your readership, is key to growing and developing your content offering. Firms that continually refresh their content strategies to attract new readers without alienating their current ones are the firms that see the most measurable growth. If you’re constantly churning out content that doesn’t play to your strengths, showcase your expertise, or seamlessly promotes your services, then you will either attract the wrong readership or worse, none at all.
- Campaign development – Invest some time into developing new ways to attract prospects to your services. This could be planning an event or sending a series of emails. Once you’ve generated responses off the back of this activity, you should then deploy your business development team to reach out to respondents and nurture them along the sales funnel. This ensures your initial marketing efforts aren’t wasted, and it increases the likelihood of converting prospects into clients.
Increasing the size of your marketing activities is integral to getting the most out of your business development plan. This includes:
- Carrying out research that produces valuable insights to understand your market
- Mapping out campaigns end-to-end, and implementing comprehensive nurturing processes to ensure prospects aren’t left to fall through the cracks, and
- Producing strong, relevant content regularly to attract right-fit leads and increase the number of clients on your books.
At Propero, we can help you combine your marketing and business development efforts so that they run like a well-oiled machine.
Get in touch via our website if you would like to start a conversation with us. But, if you’re not quite there, sign up for our newsletter instead. We’ll email you monthly with marketing and business development advice to ensure you’re making the most of the growth opportunities available to you in 2019.