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professional services marketing | motarme

Value Propositions – what you do, why it’s important, how you do it

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What are you good at? What can you do better than your competitors? Why should I buy something from you? Many companies think they know the answers to these questions but often they don’t or cannot communicate them clearly. Technology companies in particular often emphasise a list of unique product features without clearly tying these back to a business problem they solve for their customers. According to the Forrester Research paper “Six essential elements of an effective technology marketing pitch”, only 34% of business professionals indicate that their best IT providers are able to articulate the business value of their solutions.

Another common problem is lack of a single definition within a company – if you ask two different sales people you get two different answers as to what they do and why they’re the best. Is this a big problem? Well, yes if you want to sell anything. From the outside, a lot of companies look the same to their potential customers. The more complex the product or service, the harder it is for buyers to understand how to differentiate between the available options. You have to make it easy for buyers to quickly understand how you can help them and why you are better than your competitors. You do this by defining a clear and compelling Value Proposition. Read More

Lead generation for Professional Services

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One vital question for anyone establishing or trying to grow a consultancy  is ‘how do we generate a regular stream of new business?’ – you can’t simply rely on good luck and a sunny disposition.  One of the best guides I’ve read on this topic is “Making Lead Generation Work for Professional Services” (registration required for download), by Mike Schultz of the Wellesley Hills Group.  He makes a lot of good points – for example, define what your objectives are; provide value to prospective clients before they become your clients; use a range of integrated marketing tactics.  The message is that if you adopt a systematic and repeatable approach to generating new business,  and execute it correctly, you’ll benefit from the results.

Mike Schultz also has his own blog, and I found a recent post thought-provoking.  He has been asked to prepare the curriculum for a possible new MBA course on marketing professional services.  He has begun developing a reading list and has asked readers to contribute their own suggestions.    Showing admirable business acumen, the first recommended title is his own, but he goes on to list a range of further reading that I find very interesting.  For example, he recommends the Harvard Business Review case study “McKinsey and Company (A): 1956″.  This made me think – how many recently established consultancies or professional services firms are thinking in terms of becoming the new McKinsey?  What’s required to create that kind of organization, to enable it to grow while transmitting a recognisable corporate ethos to all new employees? I think I’ll start working my way through the reading list to see if I can find out.

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