Times are changing. In Australia today, we find ourselves at the crossroads of an evolving economy. Industries that traditionally formed the backbone of our growth – agriculture, mining, manufacturing – have all either slowed down or come to a steady halt. To quote the Reserve Bank of Australia: “Australians are producing more services, consuming more services and trading more services with other economies than ever before.” As disruption breaks ground and drives efficiency in more ‘tangible’ service lines such as transport and hospitality, we forecast an evolution in the marketing of Financial and Professional Services (FPS).
Green Hat was recently invited by Marketo, a world-leader in B2B Marketing Automation, to speak at their recent CMO roundtable on Services Marketing to discuss the “Services Revolution”, and the opportunities for success.
Opportunity 1: From Cost-centre to Revenue-generator
The challenge: Much to every marketer’s chagrin, investment in the growth of systems is too often seen as an almost burdensome responsibility by leadership teams. Requests for upgrades and approvals for team expansion are generally met with a, “Do we really need that?” or, “Can’t we manage that with what we’ve got?”
FPS firms are highly structured and run on a patch blanket of IT infrastructure. Graduates are trained from year one on legacy systems that have been in place for decades. Applications, such as APS in the Accounting sector, serve the purpose of connecting functional requirements, such as data management, time tracking and client invoicing, amongst others. Most importantly, these systems are aligned with legislation, and the move away from them is a difficult process in terms of change management.
The opportunity: Marketing programs, too, need to be a part of that firm-wide IT infrastructure. With the advanced CRM and Marketing Automation software available today, an automated and integrated lead generation system can truly shift the paradigm and enable the B2B marketers within these firms to deliver ‘marketing qualified leads’ (MQLs) to the business. MQL optimisation helps minimise funnel leakage, improve lead conversion and improve Sales team productivity.
Opportunity 2: From ‘personal touch’ to personalisation
The challenge: FPS firms in Australia are quite traditional in their demeanour. Built up as partnerships through years of rigorous consistency, business development is generally conducted through relationships where trust is fundamental to success. It’s only natural, then, that there is an inherent reluctance to embrace new programs and systems that automate communication. After all, industry titans take great pride in the ‘personal touch’ they have mastered in converting prospects into clients.
The opportunity: Think about the B2B decision-maker looking for an FPS partner – typically C-suite, time-poor and offering little margin for error. Having systems like your CRM and Marketing Automation aligned with your sales funnel ensure that messages are relevant, timely and elicit action. These systems are the foundation stones to implementing a strategy that addresses key areas for improvement such as Sales and Marketing Alignment, funnel attrition and considering the entire buyer journey.
Read more: Uncovering the ROI from B2B Sales & Marketing Alignment
Opportunity 3: Product homogeneity and the stakeholder experience
The challenge: There’s a traditional suite of solutions provided in the FPS industry, of which book-keeping, legal advice and risk management are to name a few. In particular, aligning with regulations offers little by way of enabling service providers to differentiate themselves in a crowd. In a typical scenario, a client is up/cross-sold partnering services. All too often, businesses look at rates and some evaluate ‘value’ as a parameter to select their preferred partner.
The opportunity: Educate unknowns and prospects alike about the range of services on offer. Consider every touchpoint and evaluate rates of attrition. At Green Hat, we deploy our strategic methodology – 3C3P – to produce a B2B Customer Lifecycle Blueprint that details everything we know about the customer, their problems, needs, buying process, and how we can optimise their experience with us (being our client). This blueprint forms the basis for mapping how systems need integration to personalise stakeholder experiences. This can include platforms to empower staff to find marketing collateral to support the personal touch, communication management tools and easier access to data.
Partnership structures are the backbone of the many services firms. These partners are seasoned professionals who have one key focus – the success of their clients: “In their success, we will find ours.” It is critical to understand how your ecosystem is viewing your brand and offerings. Questions like, “Is my value proposition readily felt through channels that my audience is using?” should echo in your planning. Take the risk, have the courage, and as the Marketo mantra says, “Be Fearless.”
*Photo by Etienne Steenkamp on Unsplash