Integrated marketing can be a challenge. It can be especially difficult trying to integrate and co-ordinate various strategic marketing and business development initiatives in a professional services firm. Particularly as fee-earners can have short attention spans and quickly grow weary when presented with another new marketing programme.
Typically in a professional services firm there is a disconnect between marketing (lead generation by marketing staff) and selling (lead conversion by fee-earners and business development staff) which can be addressed through a pipeline management approach (see http://kimtasso.com/integrating-sales-pipeline-client-relationship-management/)
Connecting sector initiatives with KAM programmes is another way to integrate new and existing client development programmes, for large and small clients and thought leadership and selling. And as the client decision journey can be sector specific, there are opportunities to integrate CEM programmes within sector and KAM initiatives too.
To become more client facing, to create real differentiation and to overcome service line silos many firms have adopted a sector driven approach. A sector approach – fundamental to many segmentation strategies – means that fee-earners and marketers work together in multi-disciplinary teams to provide technical skills and deep experience that matches precisely the needs of clients and prospects in that sector.
A common requirement to support sectors in a heavy investment (both time and money) to provide research, knowledge management and briefing guides to keep everyone working in that sector up to speed with the latest developments which will be both a concern to clients in the sector and a source of opportunities for fee-earners.
This research effort may extend to thought leadership campaigns where original information and thinking on sector challenges is developed and used to fuel both marketing communications (with a content management plan) campaigns and insight selling initiatives within a sector framework.
There’s more information about sector approaches here:
http://kimtasso.com/back-basics-importance-segmentation-personas/ and http://kimtasso.com/marketing-planning-in-a-nutshell-selecting-a-strategy/ and http://kimtasso.com/faq/how-do-i-run-an-internal-marketing-focus-group-e-g-a-sector-group/
Key Account Management (KAM)
This sector approach then supports the key account or major client plans of clients in that sector. And KAM is a major facilitator of cross-selling programmes.
Research and information – and perhaps even new methodologies and innovative products and services – are generated by the sector team – with perhaps interaction and input from major clients in the sector. Many firms operate roundtable discussions where sector insights are uncovered. This provides extra impetus to the firm’s sector profile and also adds value to the clients served in that sector.
It is particularly valuable to align global sectors and global KAM programmes as this supports international internal communications and integration. This too has benefits for achieving consistency (as far as local market requirements and customs allow) across borders – supporting the brand service promise.
Justification for and guidance on KAM is here: http://kimtasso.com/reasons-to-invest-in-a-key-account-management-kam-programme/ and http://kimtasso.com/faq/establish-key-account-management-kam-programme/ but there are many other blogs on KAM.
Client Experience Management (CEM)
The relatively new kid on the block – both for those re-engineering physical and digital client experiences – is Client Experience Management (CEM).
CEM takes in a variety of new concepts including CX (Client Experience), User Experience (UX), CXA (Client Experience Analytics) and on-boarding.
A major part of this work is analysing the client decision and other journeys which are often sector as well as service related. So it makes sense to incorporate CEM programmes within the sector agenda and as part of the key account management process for ensuring critical clients – where there can be tailored service solutions – receive the best experience.
I have developed a new half day training course on CEM for Professional Marketing Forum members (http://www.pmforum.co.uk/training/) and already run training courses for lawyers on client service excellence (see, for example, http://kimtasso.com/seven-insights-into-client-care-and-service-excellence/) and surveyors (http://kimtasso.com/managing-client-service-surveying-property-partnerships/).
So. Separate teams in large firms can work together to bring these different strategic strands together for fee-earners and those in smaller firms can potentially tackle three strategic imperatives with one integrated programme. Another case of working smarter rather than harder. Another step towards integrated marketing and business development.