Business Dev/Sales, Marketing

Business Development: Empowering Business Developers with Marketing Fuel

Author: David Toth, Winding River Consulting

In today’s dynamic business landscape, sales and marketing are no longer siloed departments operating independently. Instead, they are two sides of the same coin, working in tandem to drive revenue growth and achieve business objectives. This is especially true in accounting firms, where complex solutions and consultative selling require a deep understanding of customer needs and a personalized approach to building relationships.

According to a recent study by Forrester Research, 70% of B2B buyers now prefer to engage with sellers digitally through online channels. This highlights the increasing importance of marketing in the sales process, as it is often the first point of contact with potential customers.

The Human Connection in the Accounting Profession

Despite the growing emphasis on digital engagement, it is important to remember that the professional services industry is still very much a people-driven business. People buy from people and fire firms.

Buyers are making significant investments in these relationships, and they want to feel confident that they are working with experienced and knowledgeable individuals who understand their needs.

What Business Developers Should Be Getting from Marketing

Given the complex and relationship-oriented nature of the accounting services sales cycle, business developers should expect a variety of support from marketing to be successful. Marketing can help with:

  • Qualified leads: Generating a pipeline of qualified leads by creating targeted campaigns, nurturing prospects and using lead scoring to prioritize sales efforts. This information will help you identify what leads may be a bit warmer so you can be more strategic and targeted in your pursuits.
  • Prospect insights: Valuable insights into prospect behavior and preferences through tools such as website tracking, marketing automation, news sources, data intelligence platforms and social media monitoring. Use these insights to accelerate the relationship building process and targeted conversations that are top of mind.
  • Content marketing: Creating and distributing high-quality content that educates and engages prospects, establishing thought leadership and positioning the firm as a trusted advisor. Every stage of the buyers journey requires various types of content that is maximized when a team effort is taken for marketing to execute on.
  • Sales enablement: Supporting the sales teams with the tools and resources they need to be successful and close more deals, such as product brochures, case studies, content, webinars and sales training. Work with marketing to make sure you have the tools you need to move your sales efforts forward at every stage of the relationship building process.
  • Knowledge building: Marketing can help educate your leads and prospects before a salesperson even picks up the phone to reach out. Allowing prospects to explore your offerings on their own and educate themselves on your service offerings in advance of a personal touch will deeply benefit the conversations you have when a call is made OR weed out those who are not qualified.

Any business developer who has not talked with the firm’s marketer about any of these areas should do so, regularly. Ask about what’s available and what marketing needs from you to improve what they are doing. It’s these ongoing, consistent conversations that spur ways you can help one another, as well as increase leads and revenue for the firm in a targeted and meaningful way knowing.

How Marketing Technology Can Help Business Developers

Marketing technology can play a vital role in helping business developers achieve their goals. Some of the most valuable tools include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems: CRM systems help business developers track customer interactions, manage sales pipelines and collaborate with marketing teams.
  • Marketing automation platforms: Marketing automation platforms help marketing teams nurture leads, personalize campaigns and track the results of their efforts. These platforms contain a wealth of intelligence at an individual level that you will find handy in your pursuits.
  • Sales intelligence tools: Sales intelligence tools provide business developers with real-time insights into their prospects, such as company news, social media activity and purchase history.
  • Content marketing platforms: Content marketing platforms help marketing teams create, manage and distribute content across multiple channels, driving inbound leads into your pipeline. Tying into any platform your firm uses will put these valuable tools at your fingertip.

This is a great opportunity for you to gain a better understanding of what your firm has, how to maximize their use and understand the roadmap going into 2024 that may be added or enhanced.

Use your marketing and tech teams to help you evaluate a piece of technology in one of the categories above if you don’t have it. Tech can’t be a silo and your biggest benefit will be in finding something that integrates with other technologies you are using.

Aligning Marketing and Sales for Success

To maximize the impact of marketing on sales success, it is essential for the two teams to be aligned and collaborate closely. This includes sharing goals and objectives, establishing clear communication channels and working together to develop a comprehensive marketing and sales strategy – preferably by niche or segment. By aligning these two key functions, you can optimize resource allocation and foster a unified approach toward achieving your business objectives.

The role of marketing in the accounting industry is only going to become more important in the years to come. As buyers continue to move their research and buying processes online, marketing will be the key to capturing attention, building relationships and driving qualified leads to the sales team. As a savvy business developer, working closely with your marketing team today is going to give you the fuel to do more now and in the future.

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