Accountancy firm marketing success is directly tied to the understanding your entire team have about content marketing.
Yes, the owner or director of an accountancy firm must have the right marketing mindset for your marketing to be effective.
But if you’re the only one whose mindset has changed, your new effective marketing won’t last.
Something I’ve had my eyes opened to recently is the impact your team must have on your marketing efforts. This isn’t an optional extra, and here’s why.
Your team are the ones who talk directly to the clients.
They know your clients by name. They know – right down to the detail of the business owner’s son’s name and the school play he’s in – what your clients care about.
They also know what they’re struggling with – worries about payroll, concerns about a new product, excitement about a new opportunity.
This is marketing gold dust, people. What your clients care about and worry about and lose sleep over and do everything they do for, is the core of your content marketing.
One of the best things you can do – and have your team do, too – is to write down, literally word for word, some of the things your clients say.
As an example, here are a few direct quotes from the clients of one of our firms, Maverick Accountants in South Africa.
This is word for word what the clients have said – not something that was crafted to make people buy something.
“Xero is an amazing platform that allows us full visibility and access to our business financials. I would not use another system or ever go back to a normal bookkeeper.”
“Before we employed the services of Maverick, we had no real handle on our financial affairs. It made us feel anxious.”
“Our previous accounting program was a headache. I could never find what I was looking for and the terminology used was only for professional accountants, not your everyday user. I was frustrated and everything I did took me forever.”
“Accounting and business admin was a pain. It made me anxious and I wasn’t convinced that it was being done right. It was this burden that just wouldn’t go away and definitely the worst part of running a business.”
Naturally there are more amazing things that these clients said about this firm, because Maverick was directly involved in turning around these situations.
The phrases above lead you to a marketing statements such as…
- Are your accounts taking you forever?
- Turn your accounting system from a headache to a joy
- Business admin: the burden that won’t go away
Do you see the direct connection?
This is why having your team involved makes marketing easy. When they’re tapped into what the clients say, and are sharing this regularly, your accountancy firm marketing has a more specific impact.
Marketing leads to services delivered by your team.
You can have the greatest marketing in the world that delivers leads on a drip feed to your firm: but what happens when the prospect signs the proposal?
They start working with your team.
And if your team aren’t on board with the entire process, from lead to sale to delivery to referrals, your prospect is in essence dealing with two completely separate businesses. One that is modern and fresh and cares about their needs and links those directly to their accounts….and another that is traditional and 9 to 5 and uses Excel spreadsheets.
The firms we’re working with who involve their team directly with their marketing have a higher average monthly fee, because it’s not just about the first sale.
It’s the second sale, and the third, and the fourth, and the ongoing services that are provided to the client – by your team – which form part of your marketing, too.
If your team don’t care about marketing, they don’t care about your firm’s success.
The high performing firms share the success of the firm with the team:
- Key numbers and financial success
- Bonuses and profit shares
- Updates on client numbers and profit margins
- Opportunities to contribute to the firm’s success
Because of this, the team members actually care about their contribution to that success. They know that the more successful the firm is, the better their role and salary and quality of life will be.
There will, of course, always be people who don’t want to be directly involved in marketing.
They just want to show up at 8.55am, make a cup of tea, sit down at their desk, work quietly all day, and go home at the stroke of 5pm. (Not a minute earlier, of course, because they know someone would notice and they’d get in trouble, so they shuffle their mouse around and reorganise folders on their desktop for a few minutes before leaving.)
Is that the kind of team member you want?
More importantly, is that the kind of team member that will deliver the impressive level of services your clients need?
Is it what will help your firm stand out in a massive way from the (seriously intense) competition facing accountancy firms today?
Think about it.
Involving your team in your marketing will make them stay with your firm longer.
Here’s a scary fact for you: if you have a traditional, old-school accountancy firm, your best team members will leave you for another more modern firm.
It likely won’t happen all at once, and you may even find someone to replace them. But the most progressive, interested, enthusiastic accountants are not going to stay with you if they see another firm giving them opportunities you are not.
As an example, My Accountancy Place in Manchester recently released this recruiting video.
Here’s my question: are any of your team members feeling like Rachel or Charlie?
“I was in an old school accountancy practice – working with pen and paper, quill, chalk, blackboards, that kind of thing. You had a sort of dread coming in on the Monday, because you didn’t know the questions your clients were going to ask, and the information wasn’t real-time.”
“A bit undervalued, like a machine, just going through the same processes every day, just smashing out as many accounts and tax returns and anything else that you can really.”
Here’s an idea: show this video to your team members and ask them – one on one – if any of these things sound familiar to them.
Does that idea terrify you?
Are you scared that your team member might watch this video and want to go work for this other firm?
If so, it’s time to bring your team on board with your marketing, and your entire firm.
Here’s how to involve your team in your marketing
Getting your team involved is not as simple as announcing on Monday morning, “Okay team – each of you are going to have a marketing responsibility. Who wants the newsletter? Who’s going to write a blog?”
I’m confident that approach will fail miserably. (This is based on my experiences of firms attempting it.)
You’ll either get a keen accountant wanting to try but having no clue how to do it, or a miserable accountant feeling pressured into something they really hate.
Remember it’s a long process: you can’t invest in your team and expect to see a direct connection to the number of clients they “bring to the firm” as a result. It’s part of the whole picture, the two-bucket rule of marketing ROI.
Here’s how to start getting them involved.
- Be absolutely, 100% committed to letting them try things. There is no point whatsoever in doing any of the following things if you are just going to shoot down their great new marketing idea.
- Invest actual money (cash) in training your team on marketing. It makes me so sad when an accountant comes to me saying “I really wish I could join your Content Marketer programme, but my firm would never allow it.” (Absolute true story – happened at Xerocon last year.) Or, “I asked my firm if they would send me on a marketing workshop that cost £1k and they refused.” (Again a true story – one of our Content Marketer members who brought in £35k for the firm, and they wouldn’t spend any more on his training. He had to beg and plead to be put on the Content Marketer.)
- Ask them what they would love to learn about. It may be something related to marketing, or it may not be. But how much more committed will they be to your firm if they know that you are investing in what they care about? And not just treating them like an accounts and tax machine?
- Put them through the Profitable Firm’s Content Marketer programme. We’ve distilled into 12 sessions what content marketing is, and why it matters. Putting them through this education opportunity will help them get excited and come up with new marketing ideas. Here’s the handy link.
- Let them learn about social media, and practice it for the firm. Again we have the Social Marketer programme you can put them on – or you can send them on a few courses or a day’s workshop or something local. It’s all available, and many of them would love the opportunity to try.
- Listen to what they care about. The “open door policy” and “annual reviews” will never achieve as much as having drinks on a Friday night, or taking team members out for lunch and a chat. Again, be prepared for this to take a while – you might speak to them two, three, four, ten, fifteen times before they tell you what they really think. Depending on how you’ve done things in the past, it could take your employees a long time to believe you’re serious when you suddenly want to know what they think.
I’m excited to hear how you get on!