Last week, I hosted the first Ask Michael Anything (AMA) session for 2024. In case you are not aware, Ask Michael Anything is a monthly 30-minute session conducted on LinkedIn Audio. It is aimed at leaders of Small and Medium B2B Professional Service Firms such as Accounting, IT, Law and Project Management firms.
Each session commences by providing 3 tips or insights for growing your firm. The balance of the session is open to answering any questions participants have.
As I have been getting a number of inquiries from leaders of professional service firms about hiring or renewing contracts with B2B Marketing Agencies, I decided to make that the focus of this month’s tips. The buyers of professional services are different from other types of B2B customers in terms of their needs, expectations and buying behaviours.
Therefore, before hiring a B2B marketing agency to help grow your firm, make sure they have a focus on and regularly undertake the following 3 critical actions:
- The first step of any agency looking to work with you is to “listen” i.e. gain an in-depth understanding of the industries, markets, clients and BUYERS of those you currently serve as well as seek to serve in the future
- This is an important step EVERY agency must before they can develop any meaningful strategies, campaigns or initiatives that will need your clients’ needs and aligned to HOW THEY BUY!!
- Beware of Siloed Strategies and Tactics
- Any strategies or campaigns (e.g Content, Social Media, Events) should be aligned to and fit in with your firm’s overall Go to Market Strategy
- Warning: Marketing is key but only ONE of several components as to how you take your firm and its offerings to the market!
BE PROVIDING YOUR FIRM WITH “AIR” for your clients
- The agency should be help you to provide your clients and prospects with “AIR” i.e. Advice, Insights and Recommendations that Buyers seek
- Research indicates that EXPERTISE that is the Number 1 characteristic that buyers of professional services are looking for!!
- Bonus Tip:
- Agencies must also help you provide buyers Advice Insights and Recommendations “in the dark” (i.e. the trusted sources where your buyers where they go for such “AIR” which often cannot be tracked such as communities, group, forums and industry experts)
- Your B2B marketing agency must help you identify the appropriate “dark” channels” for your firm and help you gain visibility and reach within them