Raise your hand if you are unsatisfied by your current marketing efforts!
Well, you are not alone. Time and time again I meet partners at professional services firms who just do marketing for the sake of doing marketing, but none of them actually see many leads coming through from their efforts, or struggle to actually convert these leads into customers.
We have previously seen why inbound sales and marketing is the future for professional services firms, but even if you are not ready to take the leap just yet and make the shift towards this new philosophy, let's look at 9 lead generation mistakes that you should stop doing right now.
1. Spending money on marketing that doesn't produce ROI
Many professional services firms try a bit of everything, sacrificing their precious time to go to dozens of networking meetings, buying expensive unsegmented lists and starting spamming the contacts, or spending lots of money on big ads, with no idea on the return that these will generate, and no actual way to measure it.
If you start spending money left and right, on things that you are just doing because they are what you have been doing for the pas 50 years, without ever measuring their success, how can you expect to grow?
There is a lot of wastage in the marketing world.
The smarter way of doing this is to devise a solid strategic strategy before doing anything else, with clear sales goals and a way to measure them, so that you can actually start proving your return on the investment and you know that your marketing strategy is working.
2. Using your website just like an online brochure
Your website shouldn't just be a list of your service, with some stock images plastered here and there, but a real lead-generation machine. If optimised, it can be a great way of attracting potential new prospects to you, converting them into leads and nurturing the relationship with them.
In order to do this, you should have landing pages with downloadable content offers, start a blog and have contact information or forms on every single page, so to make it very easy and painless for users to actually convert into leads.
3. Not having a clearly defined strategy
This was mentioned also in point 1, but it's so important that it deserves a point of its own.
Most businesses heavily rely on a series of disjointed tactics rather than having a clearly defined strategy in place, with a 5-years sales goal.
As a result of this, measurement proves to be even harder and all the sales and marketing activity that goes on inside your firm is disjointed rather than all work together in a cohesive, solid way.
4. Not nurturing leads
According to a research report by BPM Forum, over 80% of generated leads are never followed up on, are dropped, or are mishandled.
Professional services firms are particularly good at just chasing up all the short-term leads that come through, which only account for about 25% of all leads, and forgetting about all the other ones.
You need to have a lead nurturing system in place for those that may be longer term opportunities, even if it's an automated content workflow that you send them, interactions on social media or invitation to join in events you are holding that might be of interest to them. In that way, when they are ready to convert, you are still at the top of their mind.
5. Not demonstrating your uniqueness
In professional services, everyone says the same sort of things. "Reliable," "competitive", "trust-worthy," "experienced," "specialist" are all words that have been used time and time again. However, if everyone is using them, how can you stand out from the competition?
The best way to do it is through facts, not words. Before a lead actually becomes a client, go out of your way to help them, actually demonstrating your trust-worthiness and expertise, so that they can be reassured that when they do become a customer they can expect to receive the same level of service/knowledge/help.
6. Not planning ahead
What usually happens is that if one month you realise you don't have enough work to make up your monthly revenue goal, you suddenly think, "Quick, we need to do something! Let's sign up for all these networking meetings and call all these people we have last spoken to months ago and see if we catch something along the way".
Not ideal. What would be great would be to always have a healthy, rich pipeline in front of you, knowing exactly what is coming in the future months and having a strategy in place to make sure there is a constant stream of leads coming in.
7. Not leveraging social media
And more specifically, not leveraging LinkedIn, which is THE social network for professionals, where you are able to find your target market all in one place.
Share content, build your brand, interact with leads and customers alike. Be seen as proactive and people will start coming (or rather, connecting) to you.
If you want an early boost, you can also consider using sponsored updates.
8. Not having a live chat
People want information not next week, not tomorrow... bu now! Having a way to communicate with them in a quick and easy way, like having a live chat on your website, can put you miles ahead of the competition.
If you are able to solve someone's probem quickly and efficiently, in a simple live chat that appears on every page of your website, they might stick with you rather than start shopping around.
9. Being too slow at making decisions
This is a very common problem, and the reason for this is the way in which professional services firms are structured. There are have a series of associates, then partners, then the MD, and everyone needs to agree in order to get anything done. In the meantime, a smaller, more agile firm comes along, makes decision much quicker, takes advantage of your inertia and scoops up all your clients and prospects.
Try and simplify your decision-making process and educate people in your firm about what you are trying to push forward so that they convince themselves about the solution you are proposing.
Do you make the same lead generation mistakes? Is marketing for professional services firms generating enough leads for you?