- Make yourself known: Outbound and Inbound Marketing
- Exhibit and develop your expertise
- Focus on the customer experience
At the heart of a complex and constantly changing economy, consulting firms are characterized by their very different profiles in resonance with a highly competitive market. Indeed, each year, the sector’s activities grow significantly, peaking at 12% in 2018 after 6 years of consecutive increases. When the Big Four (Deloitte, PwC, Ey and KPMG) alone account for 37.4% of the global market and the top 10 consulting firms possess up to 56.6% of the total market, the smaller firms have to show responsiveness and intelligence in order to make a place for themselves and remain competitive. Therefore, the growth of a consulting firm depends on sales and marketing strategies, the adoption of which is crucial.
A consulting firm, after having identified its market target, its niche and a perfect customer profile, must take the lead in order to boost its performance.
1. Make yourself known: Outbound and Inbound Marketing
Peter Drucker, the “pope of management”, a professor of management and an Austro-American consultant, considers that “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.”. Thus, when well advertised, a product sells itself: it has become essential in the eyes of the customer.
If a consulting firm is aware of its target audience, it will be able to refine its communication to adapt to its needs and present a truly tailor-made message to its clients.
Outbound Marketing: reaching out to prospects
If professional associations and federations but also various events likely to bring together the appropriate audience such as seminars, trade shows, workshops or round tables remain multiple opportunities for meetings and exchanges, to be known and exposed to circles of potential customers first pass through a regular and relevant presence on the web and social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn …). Acting proactively, the consulting firm is thus omnipresent when its audience explores the net in search of a solution to one of its problems and finds itself exposed to a wide range of choices and options. Indeed, the Internet, unlike face-to-face networking, has multiplied the alternatives while offering more and more optimized comparisons, consequently making the competition tougher and based more on the company’s services than on its employees’ network.
Once the contact is made, the trick is to stay in the customer’s mind. This involves, in addition to constant activity on the Internet, adjusted emailing (newsletters, invitations, publication of articles…). The exchange must not be broken once it is launched. Thus, the firm’s website must directly expose a way to maintain this contact: subscribe to the newsletter or to social networks.
Paid advertising on the net or offline is also a possible marketing strategy to develop your consulting firm.
Inbound Marketing: making prospects come forward naturally
Creating quality content, demonstrating the company’s expertise in a specific niche and responding to the issues and developments in its field, acutely illustrates the capabilities of a consulting firm. Much more than popularization, these articles are a discussion between experts.
Most of this content takes the form of blog articles published in the blog/articles section of the firm’s commercial site and hosted on a platform such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace or Posterous. These articles illustrate a permanent updating and questioning of the consulting firm’s expertise in addition to increasing the activity, and therefore the traffic, on the website.
With an adapted SEO, this content becomes a real indirect commercial strategy. Indeed, customers click on the article, attracted by its purpose, land on the consulting firm’s website, exposing themselves to the relevance and expertise of a company with appropriate answers to their questions as well as to a way to continue the dialogue via the blog, the newsletter or even social networks, as explained above. The visibility of the site grows, thus increasing potential prospects.
2. Exhibit and develop your expertise
Once a consulting firm has become aware of the type of clients and subjects to prioritize, it is able to write a white paper outlining its skills and expertise in its field of activity. A white paper, often in e-book format, answers a specific question and, in the form of professional advice, offers various answers and solutions. In this way, a white paper can serve as a practical guide to the services of consultants, positioning them as experts in their field. Mainly used in a B2B context, the white paper allows a particular company to stand out from its competitors, through technical capabilities on the one hand and communication capabilities on the other.
Process communication with the target customer must also be developed and deepened. More than a brief overview, it is a question of providing an in-depth description of the work cycle from start to finish and the services offered by the consulting company. The audience can thus be reassured and better understand why and how their money will be invested.
These business strategies, in addition to testifying to the consulting firm’s expertise, also make it possible to explain the exact role of the firm in dealing with the various issues that clients face. Why is this precise consulting firm a relevant answer to such and such a question? The justification lies in targeted expertise and effective communication.
3. Focusing on the client experience
A consulting firm, like any other company, needs to improve itself to its very core in order to reach its full potential. Indeed, it is fundamental for any consulting firm to equip itself with the appropriate tools in order to be prepared to respond as efficiently as possible to each of its client projects and to offer the most successful client experience possible. The reputation of the company is at stake, and can be spread by its clients spontaneously or in the form of comments on comparison sites, recommendations, etc. The client becomes an ambassador for the consulting firm, constituting its first network of acquaintances and acquaintances.
Moreover, in addition to having a proven track record in marketing and serving as information-rich indicators for prospects when they are exposed, testimonials from past clients are also crucial for the consulting firm to be able to evolve and calibrate its services even more precisely. They inform the company about the needs, criteria and requirements of its audience and enable it to continue to improve its communication and marketing.
Facing an economy in transition, consulting firms must react and adapt accordingly. The development of the Internet and of connected markets multiplies the potential of choice for each client. A consulting firm must therefore stand out from the crowd through steady, if not constant, quality communication, suitable for the most widely used media, through an up-to-date and challenging expertise and through a particularly qualitative customer experience.