With all the chaos in the news cycle, clients, prospects, and even firm leaders all seem a little distracted. Here’s how to lead your firm’s marketing through client indecision.
Now, more than ever, we’re noticing a lot of distractions in the business cycle. Predictions about all the jobs and industries to be laid asunder by Chat GPT and other generative AI technologies appear hourly in the news feed. Interest rates, instead of revenue, keep going up and to the right. On-again, off-again, and temporarily resolved debt ceiling talks. An expanding “culture war.” A real war. And let’s not forget the recession that’s been months away for over 18 months. Oh, also, did I mention that the kids are out of school?
The net effect of all this noise? Clients pulled in too many directions. Project sponsors lose buy-in. Indecision rules. And deals drag out.
With so much going on, it’s easy for marketers to get distracted and slip into inaction too. Basic tasks get overlooked. Content review deadlines slip. And everything falls off plan.
Focus on What Really Matters
Start by setting aside all the things you can’t control. Will the Fed keep raising interest rates? Probably. Regardless of what they do, will it drastically change your firm’s trajectory? Probably not. Will the economy slip into recession? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean your firm has to participate.
Don’t fixate much, if at all, on all the noise around you. Instead, focus on what really matters:
- What do you want your firm to be known for come 2025?
- What types of clients and what type of work would you like to be doing?
- What client challenges do you really need to “own” now to make that happen?
- What is your point of view on those challenges?
- Is it meaningful? Is it compelling? Is it differentiated? Is it memorable?
- How, exactly, are we going to bring that all to life?
To start, invest your thought leadership budget and marketing energy right there. In those questions. Don’t waver. Double-down on your future vision. It’s marketing’s job to lead the firm into its desired future state. Sequester and protect the resources you need to do that as best as you possibly can.
Adjust the current year marketing Plan
What were your client acquisition targets for the year? Are you on-track or off-track? If you’re off-track, here are four things you can do right now to make up ground in the next 4 months.
1. GET CLOSER TO CLIENTS
Start, by helping your firm’s partners get as close to your existing clients as you possibly can. Start with what’s blocking them, and focus on helping them overcome their own client indecision. What are they struggling with right now? How can your firm help? What could you be doing differently to help create value for their organizations in the next 6-12 months? How can you extend what you learned into your outward prospect marketing efforts?
2. GET CLOSER TO BUSINESS PARTNERS
Do the same thing with your business partners. If yours is a technology services firm, dig deep into your software relationships. What are your partnership managers struggling with? How can you help them close more business? Commit yourself to being the partner they really turn to over the next 6 months.
3. GET CLOSER TO YOUR TEAMS
Make sure you’re doing everything you can to enable the success of everyone in your marketing and business development teams. Document important processes to make things more efficient and more effective. Build a regular cadence of meetings and communication between those pursuing new client relationships and the marketers enabling them. Getting and keeping everyone on the same page is critical to success.
4. EMBRACE TARGETED ACCOUNT MARKETING
Hitting your 2023 revenue target will likely require a dedicated, coordinated push over the next 4 months. Work closely with practice leaders and business development managers to identify a targeted list of high priority prospects you think could be nudged out of indecision and into a new client relationship.
Provide them with useful, timely intelligence about those individuals and client organizations they can use to support their targeted outreach over the next 90 days. Identify key changes in the client organization from news releases, competitive intelligence, and key snippets from quarterly income statements.
Support those practice leaders however you can. Don’t be afraid to get into the weeds a bit. Offer help with email nurtures and LinkedIn messages. Get a little help from ChatGPT, if you need it. 😉
Finally, wrap those prospects with marketing cover. Invest in targeted LinkedIn ad campaigns and Google SEM campaigns to create “always on” exposure for your firm with those buyers. Directly target the sources of client indecision with your ad copy and lead generation assets.
Stay the Course TO OVERCOME CLIENT INDECISION
In the chaos of a growing list of daily tasks and the “always on” news cycle, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. It’s easy to get distracted and chase any new, shiny object that bursts on the scenes. Now, more than ever, is an ideal time to master the art of saying “no” with a few guard rails.
Stay focused on your long-term marketing plan. That’s your first, and greatest responsibility. But don’t be afraid to bend a little bit to help the leaders of your firm find success in this revenue cycle. They’ll love you for it. And you’ll be glad you did.