I recently had the pleasure attending the 2022 Boomer Marketing and Business Development Circle, a two-day conference where marketing and business development leaders in the accounting profession came together to learn about industry trends, develop strong growth strategies, and build valuable long-term relationships.
During the event, we explored how leaders can prepare their accounting firms for a successful digital transformation journey, and how firms can leverage technology to promote growth and improve client relationships. Here are my top takeaways.
Remove online barriers to improve the customer journey
Historically, most accounting firms have gated high-value website content — like whitepapers and case studies — behind lead-generation forms. The only way outside parties could access this content was by providing their contact information.
Although this method helps generate new leads, firms have discovered that it hurts their sites’ SEO rankings, since gated content isn’t indexable. Many site visitors also resent filling out a contact information form to access content. Forcing your firm’s clients or prospects through this tedious, time-consuming process can damage your relationships and hurt the overall client experience. It’s also difficult for outside parties to share your gated content with their networks and on social media channels — another missed opportunity to grow your business.
Review the high-value content on your website and determine whether it truly needs to be gated, or if you can repurpose it for SEO value. Keep your existing client relationships strong by informing your clients whenever you post new, relevant content. You should also consider publicizing your content as easily sharable social media posts to help attract new business.
Leverage machine learning and AI for marketing success
Machine learning and AI-based tools help firms create successful, high-ranking SEO content creation. These tools can help your marketing professionals quickly produce content that a search engine’s algorithm will more likely promote. Your firm’s marketers can also leverage AI and machine learning technology to determine what information will be most relevant to their intended audience, and create content based on those topics.
Machine learning and AI can’t replace marketing talent; they’re simply tools your marketers must master and leverage to enhance your firm’s performance. By embracing these technologies, your marketers can find and identify client opportunities quicker than ever before, freeing their time and helping them focus on more strategic tasks, like key-account planning.
Optimize your accounting firm for the future: Consider adding machine learning as a desired skill in your marketing job descriptions, and ensure your new hires understand how other modern companies are leveraging AI. Check out this short course on machine learning to learn more.
Build partnerships between growth and marketing leaders
As your firm proceeds along its M&A and private equity journey, your chief growth and marketing leaders should work together to create training initiatives to align sales and marketing culture. Teach your partners basic skills for increasing sales, using a CRM, and setting up and utilizing a LinkedIn profile, and explain how these skills will help your professionals from both a sales and marketing perspective.
Sales, growth, and marketing leaders should set a cadence to meet as often and quickly as possible to ensure touchpoints and alignment between their teams. Keep these meetings informal and encourage everyone to openly share their ideas and thoughts. By bringing your departments together, you can ensure that everyone understands and aligns with your firm’s overall goals.
Know your targets to fuel future growth
Accounting firms are quickly learning that the surest path to success isn’t bringing in as many new clients as possible, but rather identifying new and existing clients that align with the firm’s culture and growth strategies.
Advanced CRM systems offer dashboards and data-driven reports that can help you determine which clients best align with your firm’s goals and strengths. Your partners and practice group leaders can then focus their efforts on finding innovative ways to strengthen those client relationships and improve the client experience, helping your firm not only retain more clients, but also generate word-of-mouth referrals from happy clients.