How To Integrate Sales and Marketing for Consulting Firms

Posted by Frank Todaro on May 17, 2017 11:10:37 AM

 

Consulting firms are struggling to adapt to changes in the sales and marketing playing field. They have hired a marketing person, they’re writing a blog and they are on social media, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. They still are struggling to find leads and the leads they get are not of the quality they want. What is missing? What should they do next?

The first thing - the VERY first thing - is to reorganize the new client acquisition efforts into one organization. Despite changes in the digital marketing arena, consulting firms have largely left their organization in place. The primary sales people are “professionals” who manage the delivery of services while they look for new relationships, whereas the marketing people are “administrative” staff. In other words, the marketing people are second class citizens in the consulting world. While this is changing in many organizations, the underlying attitudes have not.

The people charged with marketing for consulting firms today need to be on an equal footing with the sales people. Not for equity reasons, but for effectiveness reasons. Neither marketing nor sales can be optimally effective unless they are cooperating as equals.

So, if you manage a consulting firm, what should you do if you really want to transform your marketing and sales effort and make it more effective? There are several tactics you should consider. Some you can implement immediately, but others will take some time depending on who you currently have in your organization.

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Topics: Marketing Strategy

10 PowerPoint Best Practices for Creating Better Presentations

Posted by Robert Cook on May 9, 2017 10:31:43 AM

Microsoft PowerPoint is the most relied upon software for making presentations. There are other applications, but PowerPoint is by far the most commonly used. Microsoft estimates that there are 500 million users worldwide, with an estimated 35 million presentations given each day. That means, there are 400 presentations being made every second of every day.

PowerPoint is a great tool in the right hands. Unfortunately, many users depend on the software as a crutch for giving presentations. If you rely too heavily on the template options, you risk appearing amateurish and may cause more harm than good for all the hard work. And presenting is hard work. When your efforts are well planned and professionally executed, you are more likely to accomplish the goal of your presentation.

Follow these 10 PowerPoint best practices and give great presentations:

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Topics: Branding | Visual Identity

3 Mistakes Consulting Firms Make in New Client Acquisition

Posted by Frank Todaro on Apr 26, 2017 4:16:02 PM

Consulting firms often suffer from their history. They are reluctant to admit that things have changed and that they must adapt. In their defense, unless they are in the IT field, the evolution of their actual consulting services has not transformed at the same speed as has the process by which prospects decide to buy those services. Strategic planning, for example, is still conducted much as it was years ago. It seems only rational to believe that marketing and sales activities have continued to evolve at a similar pace—but the fact is that they haven’t.

The smart phone and the internet have disrupted how prospects communicate and how they get information about consulting firms. This has made the traditional approach to marketing for consulting firms significantly less effective. When a salesperson must already have a relationship in place with someone before they will take their phone call, a radical and different approach is required. Further, when a salesperson finally gets to speak with a prospect, they discover that the prospect already knows their own needs, the desired approach to the engagement, and the likely costs - they are more than half way through with the buying decision! At this point, the consulting salesperson realizes that they are too late to the party and have a slim chance of winning the business.

The following are the 3 most common mistakes we see consulting firms make in new client acquisition as they attempt to adapt to a radically changed marketing environment.

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Topics: Consulting Firm Marketing

How the Consulting Sales Process Can Become Profitable

Posted by Frank Todaro on Apr 7, 2017 10:19:02 AM

Consulting firms have historically struggled with understanding the consulting sales process and constructing it in a way that maximizes results for them. There is the myth that the sales process for all consulting firms is the same, and that management just needs to find the right people (whether internally or externally) and hire them — and then everything will be OK.

Perhaps at one time this myth was closer to truth. Today, however, it couldn’t be more misguided to assume that everyone can sell. Sales is not necessarily a ‘gift’ that some people are born with, but rather a process - like any other consulting process - that needs to be designed, implemented and fully understood by those responsible for executing it.

By studying the consulting sales process, what has and hasn't changed, and how to adapt, consulting firms can develop and implement their own formula for success and profitability.

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Topics: B2B Marketing Strategy

3 Common Sales Models for Consulting Firms

Posted by Russ Waddill on Feb 22, 2017 11:16:00 AM

As outsourcing and technology have become rapidly integrated into virtually every industry over the last decade, the opportunity for consulting firms in a variety of different niches has increased. Now more than ever, small and mid-size companies hire consultants to help them keep up with swiftly evolving regulations, environments, competition and technology. This continues to be a great opportunity for your consulting firm. The question is, however, are you organized to take advantage of it?

For specialized consulting firms to reach prospects, get opportunities to present their solutions, and deliver their services, firms must employ sales and marketing strategies that match current persona buying behaviors and their own human and financial resources.

While every consulting firm can be unique, here are the three most common sales models for consulting firms to consider:

  1. Partner Sales model
  2. Outsourced Sales model
  3. Specialist Sales model
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Topics: B2B Marketing Strategy

How the Adoption of HubSpot has Changed Neos Marketing

Posted by Russ Waddill on Nov 18, 2016 11:29:53 AM

In January of 2016, our small marketing agency made a big decision. We adopted HubSpot as a strategic partner.

For 11 years, Neos Marketing has been providing B2B marketing strategy, branding, and creative consulting and execution to companies in Houston. We've had a steady flow of clients and have endured a couple of economic downturns (one global financial and one Houston oil & gas) because of our flexible, scalable business model. Since our founding in 2005, Twitter was launched a year later. The first iPhone sold in 2007. In 2008, the first WordPress theme directory was launched and today 4.5% of the internet is powered by WordPress. Apple launched the first iPad in 2010. By 2015, search activity on mobile platforms surpassed desktop.

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3 Big Reasons DIY Website Builders Don't Work for B2B Websites

Posted by Russ Waddill on Nov 18, 2016 11:29:10 AM

You may be hearing a lot about Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and other do-it-yourself website builders. If you are doing research online or listening to radio and podcasts, you've probably come across their names. It is likely no surprise, since Wix.com has over 88 million websites published. Just because they are popular, however, does not mean they are right for you. After all, what do you want a website for? Most likely it is to generate awareness of your company and become easily found by your prospects. The sheer fact that Wix alone has 88 million websites on the internet means that having a Wix-built website doesn't differentiate you!

It takes more than a functional, handsome site to get noticed on the web. Here are 3 big reasons why website builders like these don't work for B2B websites if you considering just doing it yourself:

1. They are not all responsive

2. They are not less expensive once you factor in your time

3. Simply getting online isn't what it used to be

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Topics: Marketing Strategy, Website Design

Top 3 Ways Google is Changing Prospect Marketing and Lead Generation

Posted by Russ Waddill on Oct 11, 2016 11:01:26 AM

 

For several years now, we have been talking to our clients about SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing), and the role they should play in marketing and lead generation strategy. Many of those conversations, however, have resulted in blank stares, unreturned phone calls, or decisions not to pursue based on old information and perspectives.

Until now.

It appears that a confluence of information and enlightenment, combined with the realization that the stuff they have been doing for the last decade doesn’t work anymore, has resulted in business owners experiencing a shift towards a new approach in prospect marketing and generating leads for their business. Some might call it a ‘tipping point’.

A simple question might be ‘Why’? Here are 3 reasons why.


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Topics: Marketing Strategy, Website Design

5 Clear Ways To Strengthen Your Visual Identity

Posted by Robert Cook on Sep 29, 2016 8:34:00 AM

 

Your visual identity includes all of the visible elements of your brand. Color palette, uniform and authorized imagery, form and shape convey the symbolism that cannot be expressed through words. In a business brand experience, beyond the obvious documents of communications, your brand identity system should include elements such as interior and exterior architecture, signage, uniforms and vehicles.

It is old-fashioned to merely apply your logo with a hardline, regimented management style of policing the logo, color, fonts and image restrictions. All great brands periodically evaluate these areas of brand management in search of inconsistencies and potential improvements with an eye toward competitive advantage. And with today’s rates of disruption in markets, innovation and advances in technology, flexibility is one of the most important characteristics your brand management process can embrace. Your visual identity guide should cover these areas:

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Topics: Branding | Visual Identity, Website Design

What is a Content Map and How to Get Started (Part 2)

Posted by Frank Todaro on Sep 27, 2016 11:03:49 AM

Once you get past the generalities around what a content map is and how it works, you come face to face with just how big the task can get if you are not careful. As I mentioned before, I think it is wise to begin modestly and let things evolve over time. Otherwise, you can get overwhelmed and accomplish little.

I suggest starting with a simple map with just three stages in the buyer journey. Now this obviously is simplification - most B2B marketing and sales professionals would acknowledge that there six or more discrete steps. Nonetheless, three stages will let me illustrate the concept and you can expand on it to for your particular needs.

The three stages we will start with are:

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Topics: B2B Marketing Strategy, Website Design, Inbound Marketing