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  • Writer's pictureBen Paul

How to Create Successful BD and Marketing Plans for Professional Services – Round-Up

How to Create Successful BD and Marketing Plans for Professional Services

The start of the year, or the start of your financial year, is the time most people look at their BD and Marketing plans. It is essential to have these plans both at the firm level, and also either at the practice or service line level. Also, for many practitioners, it pays to have an individual BD and marketing plan.

However, what is the best way to do this? How do you create a plan that is actionable, rather than one that says the right things… but ultimately no-one looks to or refers to once completed? While it’s essential to have a vision and a focus for the firm, this needs to then filter down into activities and actions that fee-earners, practitioners, BD & Marketing teams, and in fact all other service areas can follow. That is the part that isn’t always so easy.

Therefore, what are the best ways to create a BD and marketing plan for your professional services firm? Below is a round-up of the best advice from the articles we’ve researched.

The BD and Marketing Plans for Professional Services Round-Up

Creating a Marketing Plan: A Guide for Professional Services Firms, Lee Frederiksen, PH.D. Managing Partner, Hinge

As Lee notes, in the current world, a good BD and marketing plan for professional services is a lot more than just noting down which conferences or events people will be attending or sponsoring. He also touches on a really interesting concept of ‘legacy budget planning’, which is very common. It does mean you are unlikely to see any result markedly different form the previous year!

There’s not much more for me to add other than you should read this, it shares starts on average marketing budgets for legal, accounting, and other sectors and gives details of how to create your marketing plan from start to finish.

The Core Of A Professional Services Marketing Plan, Deborah Farone, Forbes Council Member, Forbes

Does your firm’s current BD and marketing plan feel a bit like you’ve been handed ‘War and Peace’ to browse through? If so, it really isn’t hitting the mark. As Deborah points out, “plans should be brief and easy to articulate to others in the firm.” That one sentence encapsulates it entirely for me. This article is full of practical advice, which I urge you to read and follow.

“Increasing your marketing doesn’t have to mean higher budgets or greater head count.” What a statement and it is very true. It is now easier than ever to utilise your existing resources and digital channels to effectively get your message out to your target audience. When done well, BD and marketing plans for professional services firms utilise existing resources and help to drive growth, within the parameters of the set budget.

Effective Marketing for Professional Services, Paul Bloom, Harvard Business Review – 1984

It’s often been said to me, that BD and marketing plans for professional services firms don’t change much at all. That’s why, I thought we should have a look at what was being recommended back in everyone’s favourite era – the 80’s. So, I hopped in my DeLorean, after checking the flux capacitor of course, and found this article by Paul Bloom.

Unsurprisingly, much of the findings and challenges faced then, are still true today. It is a very competitive market. Firms do need to be perceived has having experience and there is limited differentiability. Finding time for BD and marketing is still an issue for fee-earners too.

Of course some things have changed, it is easier to measure the impacts of online advertising campaigns, assuming you have the right tracking and data analytics in place. Firms are now focusing a lot more on informative or educational content. Yet, I’d still urge you to dig out those leg warmers, make yourself a pop-tart and read this excellent article. There is still a lot to learn here that is applicable today.

“Traditional marketing techniques are no longer enough to succeed in today’s world.” And just like that we’re back in the 2020’s… Maria is 100% correct with this assertion and online and offline marketing channels means that the marketing mix has never been more important to understand and utilise.

I love the idea of ‘niching down’, as it plays to my BD instincts of targeting. A focus on a smaller client market or a niche service offering usually brings great rewards. Just one gem amongst many in this great article.

I included this article I wrote as it focuses on a very different aspect. That is, the angle of a BD and marketing plan at the individual level. There are 7 tips for you to follow in this article to help you create an actionable BD plan.

The BD and Marketing Plans for Professional Services Conclusion

No doubt the advice above is invaluable. A solid and actionable BD and marketing plan for your firm is an essential building block in you maintaining and growing your brand’s presence and it should also enable you to grow your market share and revenue.

Remember to focus on having not only a robust plan but importantly one that is easy to communicate across the firm and is also easy to deliver.


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