Accountants are not very good at marketing – marketing people are. My definition of marketing is ‘salesmanship multiplied’. My definition of sales is ‘finding out what the other person needs and then transferring emotion’. These definitions mean that marketing is a ‘one to many’ strategy and sales is a ‘one on one’ strategy.
Marketing is a leveraged activity – such as seminars. Writing emails, letters and sales are typically not a leveraged activity. You can certainly ‘sell from stage’ in a leveraged way at a seminar but what you are typically doing is generating leads so you can speak with the prospects at a later date.
Every accounting firm that has serious growth plans needs to hire full-time marketing people. The job of the marketing team (or initially a singular person) is to enhance your company brand – make you look good – and to generate enquiries from your existing and future clients base. Branding and leads – that’s all. Make sure that your marketing person(s) are capable of doing this.
Your marketing team might start with a ‘Marketing Coordinator’ and you may end up with a full time ‘Marketing Manager’ and a small team that directs the marketing strategy of your business.
The role of your marketing team is to:
- Manage your prospect database – add to it and keep it up to date with all contact details.
- Manage your client database – see above.
- Liaise with outside branding people to keep the image fresh.
- Coordinate your regular newsletter.
- Manage your website – freshness, words etc.
- Liaise with your ‘centers of influence’ and referral sources.
- Edit and prepare your articles for distribution.
- Manage your social media presence – blog, Facebook, twitter etc.
- Send out press releases, email blasts, mailers etc.
- Organize and manage events – breakfast seminars, boardroom briefings, prospect luncheon meetings, cocktail receptions, seminars, webinars, teleseminars, conferences etc.
- Book & manage nurturing visits (with existing clients) for the partners to turn up to.
- Generate X number of leads per month using the above strategies.
The entire list above is leveraged activities. Outside of the administration aspects of marketing the best marketing people know how to sell. If your marketing people are good at selling then the words that they use (and how they use them) will have a great impact at generating leads.
Often an accounting practice will look around the team and see who has a flair for marketing – and put them in the role. NO! Accounting businesses will hire professionals who know what they are doing into the roles.
When hiring marketing people make sure their primary focus is on generating leads. Marketing people are great at spending money on ‘awareness’ and ‘image’ type campaigns that do not generate any leads at all. They need measurement metrics (just like everyone else in your business does) to go by and the best one (key performance indicator) is ‘number of leads generated’ each month.
The firms who follow our material are hiring marketing people who are using our position descriptions all the time with great results. Just like any position, you do not always get it right the first time. Persevere with the strategy, pay the right amount of money and find the best people you can to market your business – you’ll be glad you did.