Happy New Year to all!
Sorry for the delay – I’ve had a lot of irons in the fire since the start of 2017. But a lot of exciting things on all fronts. Hopefully I can tell you about them soon!
In the meantime, I want to discuss something that is likely to become a hot topic in the finance/accounting worlds over the next few years. Actually, it’s two things meshed into one: practice management and marketing.
See, practice management is directly related to the strength and growth potential of any firm. If a firm is structured properly and effectively, it positions itself in the best possible way to succeed in the marketplace through outstanding client service and dedication. However, many partners and professionals may not understand how successful practice management strategies relate directly to the firm’s marketing efforts. In truth, there’s a direct correlation between the strength of a practice management system and the effectiveness of the firm’s marketing, and there are various strategies firm leaders can undertake that will, in turn, make a valid contribution to marketing their firms.
Let’s take a look at some of these strategies!
1. Leadership enforces the mission and core values, which trickle down through the firm and create a positive, growth-minded work environment. The mentality of any organization begins at the top and filters down to the rest of the team. If leadership embraces the mission and core values of the firm, everyone else will most likely do the same. In turn, this enables staff to do their best work, and partners to service their clients in the highest-quality, most proactive ways. Those are pretty great ideas to market to your publics: a firm with strong leadership that believes in the firm’s mission, a staff that wants to grow and do their best work, and a firm where people are happy.
2. Embrace technology to improve communications. Find a CRM system that’s accessible and documents activity and even manages email communications and event invitations. There are so many good ones out there – HubSpot, Practice CS, Microsoft Office 365, among others. You want a system that integrates inbound marketing with your practice management activities not just for consolidation purposes, but so you can keep on top of external client communications (email, newsletters, invitations, etc.) while you perform services for them. Many systems also help you to keep track of leads, and document reactions and response time for any marketing materials you send.
3. Allocate company resources to your niches. From a marketing standpoint, it would behoove a firm to emphasize its services in niche industries and develop expertises in those same areas. After all, it’s widely known that focusing on a niche is a sure-fire path to growth. So in order to facilitate that growth, bring the niche specialization mindset to your practice management activities. Dedicate time and staff to servicing A-clients and cross-selling in specific niche industries. This supplements your marketing campaigns in those categories because you’re carrying the dedication and expertise you market into the reality of your practice. Practice management and marketing integration – bam.
4. Use KPIs. Make sure you integrate Key Performance Indicators into your practice management activities that relate to marketing. These include billable/non-billable time, staff/partner time, and projected billings against marketing budget. This metrics quantify the implementation of the diligent, dedicated services you market, and integrate it into practice management in another fashion.
If managed properly and effectively, practice management synergizes with marketing on a variety of fronts. Demonstrating expertise and technical knowledge is certainly key when marketing a firm, but a strong management structure contributes to the efficiency, communication methods, and overall morale of the operation, which, in turn, puts the firm in a better position for long-term organic growth.