Accounting marketing is transitioning from a geographically small, relationship-driven profession to a multidimensional, expertise-based strategy that leverages technology and scientific techniques to target specific audiences across a broad range of industries. This new approach has the potential to significantly impact a firm's reputation, visibility, new client acquisition, new services, pricing, client retention, and recruiting.
Marketing is frequently mixed up with sales and business development. Understanding a specific prospect's needs, offering a particular set of services to address them, and persuading the prospect to purchase the services is the process of sales. On the other hand, marketing is the process of understanding a market's needs, customizing your offerings to those needs, raising awareness of a firm's services, and encouraging talented candidates to contact you for more information.
To put it another way, marketing is the process of generating qualified opportunities. The goal of sales is to convert those opportunities into clients.
According to sales and marketing leaders from a variety of industries, account-based marketing (ABM) programs are critical for engaging and retaining key customers. Unfortunately, many forms of CPA marketing fall far short of their full potential. In this guide, we will focus on the top reasons why marketing fails for accounts.
The top reasons why account-based marketing fails are as follows.
Unfortunately, most accounting firms perform a crap job of marketing. According to a recent study, more than 70% of businesses have made business development a top priority. However, in our work with accounting firms, we frequently come across some common patterns that work against their success.
1- Absence of Ownership
You won't get very far if your account-based marketing program doesn't have a pilot. It is not enough to simply assign accounts to salespeople, provide them with some account information, and expect them to know what to do with it.
Account-based marketing necessarily requires the presence of a cheerleader, someone who can connect the dots between sales and marketing and mobilize the team around time-sensitive opportunities to engage with the customer, such as a VIP event. Your best opportunities will be lost along the way if you do not have a program owner.
Executive sponsorship is also important for having a "face" of the program for both account teams and clients.
2- A Faulty Strategy
Most CPA firms get their marketing strategy completely wrong.
This is how it usually goes. Late in the year, the firm gathers a group of partners and senior executives (the larger the group, the better) in a large conference room to brainstorm marketing ideas, share experiences, and attempt to agree on a strategy for the coming year. In larger companies, a marketing director may be asked to present a marketing strategy to the team.
So, what's the issue? For one thing, reaching a consensus among a large group of people is extremely difficult. There are simply too many points of view. Also, because large groups are resistant to change, next year's plan will resemble this year's. Even a seasoned marketing director will have difficulty turning this ship around. And, because most accounting firms are run by accountants, they tend to be careful with their spending, avoiding new, unfamiliar marketing investments.
The resulting strategies are typically a mash-up of gut instinct, political compromise, and sales tactics. Even more of the same.
There is an alternative. Delegate your company's marketing strategy to a small team with the authority to make group decisions. Conduct research to learn what your target audience is looking for right now (needs and preferences change). Create a distinct brand that gives buyers a reason to remember you. And use tactics that have been shown to produce real results.
3- Incompetent Team
In other areas of your CPA practice, you recognize the importance of having the right skill sets in place to provide high-quality services. However, many firms overlook this fact when it comes to marketing accounting services.
Marketing today generally requires a diverse set of skills, ranging from writing and search engine optimization to social media and web analytics. However, when it comes to hiring, many businesses prefer to cut costs rather than maximize the impact of their marketing.
They may hire good people, but they are given so many tasks that they are unable to complete them. On the other hand, firms frequently do not understand what skill sets are required to execute a modern marketing strategy.
4- Making it Too Difficult
Account-based marketing does not have to be difficult to implement. Keeping things simple—and starting low frequently is the only way to succeed. Companies that implement ABM across hundreds of accounts at the same time may become overwhelmed and find the task too large to handle.
Or they bog down the process by requiring excessive documentation; you don't need a 100-page account plan to develop an account-based sales strategy. A clear and precise account brief that summarises company strategy, key initiatives/challenges, and key players can keep account teams from becoming overburdened with information.
When you understand the company's motivations and the people who run it, you can begin delivering relevant offers and expertise that will resonate with them. Keep it as simple as possible, and gradually build momentum with a series of small victories.
5 - A Wrecked Funnel
Every sale funnel is made up of three major components:
The top, where prospective clients learn about your company for the first time
In the middle, you develop prospects and earn their trust
The bottom, where prospects become paying customers
The problem is that some businesses do not connect all of the dots or leave out a critical component. Prospects are unable to move through the funnel efficiently when this occurs. They either become stuck along the way or lose interest and exit the funnel entirely.
For example, a company may focus on tactics that attract new prospects but make no offers to advance the relationship. A company may publish blog posts that attract new readers. They do not, however, include a mechanism to strengthen engagement in the blog post — no offers for additional content or relevant services. The prospective new client is left to ponder what to do next.
Every marketing strategy should have a place in the funnel, and each one should have a clear next step that takes the prospect a little deeper.
6- Lack of Insight
CRM systems that are extremely powerful have tricked us into a false sense of security. CRMs typically contain internal information (pipeline, products purchased, etc.). While this is important information, understanding the company strategy and the executives behind it is a critical component of account-based marketing.
Ascertain that everyone on the team is aware of where the company stands about its goals and objectives. Your sales goals and processes are meaningless to them, but if you understand their goals, strategies, and challenges, you can position your company as a more credible and valuable partner than the competition.
7- Lack of Accurate and Sustained Effort
Account-based marketing is similar to everything else in life in that if you want to succeed, you must be consistent and practice the right moves over and over again. Relationship building is a critical success factor in account-based marketing, and relationships take time to develop through multiple touchpoints such as phone conversations, face-to-face meetings, and electronic communications. Each touch should add value to the relationship, thereby strengthening it in the long run.
If your company is experiencing one or more of these warning signs, do the obvious and address the problems head-on. These are common reasons why businesses fail or fail to reach their full potential. All of these problems are fixable, though some will take several years to complete. The good news is that others were wise enough to recognize a problem and take action. Are you that company, or will you keep going to bury your head in the sand?
“If you are facing any of these issues and you are confused about the solutions. Do contact us. Our experts are available to drag you out of these problems!”