I got this email recently from the marketing manager at an accountancy firm, and it is gold dust. For all marketing managers who have been wondering how to get buy in from the rest of the accounting team, feeling a little alone and isolated, or struggling with connecting what you do with what the accountants do….be encouraged.
We’ve long been impressed with the team at Farnell Clarke – their enthusiasm, their willingness to try new things, their consistent branding (right down to the colours on the carpet of the stairs, and the signs on the bathroom doors).
Amy’s email to me is why we tell you to read this book.
Following the words from Amy, I’ve noted a few tips of how you can actually get the team to engage more with suggesting ideas for content. Read on!
I just had to share something with you! I’ve been blown away this afternoon by the response from the team and it’s all thanks to you and the ‘They Ask You Answer’ book!
Grab your rather large Harry Potter mug…I’ll explain why!
As you know I’m loving the book. I’m only half way through because I keep stopping with ideas (and work obviously!).
So the first thing I highlighted in the book was the fact around 70% of the buying decision. I loved the story of Marcus’ pool company and the car company. They got me thinking. We need to be BOLD! Already one of the words on our website. We need to live up to it! We need to be bold and answer questions honestly and openly so our clients and potential clients trust us.
I sent an email around yesterday to whole of the team explaining a bit about marketing. When I was asking people to sign up to the masterclass it made it super clear to me that a lot of people didn’t know what marketing was. And likewise I’m not an accountant so I don’t know the accounting side in detail.
I sent the email around and surprisingly I got some positive responses even from people who I thought would be the hardest critics. So I told them all, I was going to set up a new flowdock group (messaging platform that we use). A group that is purely for marketing. I want them to be a part of the marketing. The reasons I gave them for the group:
Why a marketing group chat?
I want a place where I can update you on what’s going on with marketing.
I want you to be able to contribute to the marketing side of the business.
I want to know your thoughts and ideas.
I need your help with finer details and accounting knowledge.
I want to know the common questions that you get asked so we can answer them on our website.
This afternoon I’ve set up that group chat. I sent them an email about the 70% comment. I told them I want to build trust. I want us to be the John Lewis of the accountancy world. I want us to answer client questions honest and frank online. Within 30 minutes I’ve had 18 question suggestions. It’s blown me away! One simple connection between marketing and accounting and all of a sudden I have some team buy-in!! I am one very happy bunny!
Thank you so so much for recommending this book! It’s changed my marketing ways!
Here are a few tips for putting this into practice in your own firm:
- Start by “getting marketing on the agenda”, which Chris Marr suggested in our Marketing Masterclass. Whether this is on a quarterly, monthly, or weekly basis, make sure marketing is always something that is discussed with the whole team – and isn’t shoved to the side for what appears to be more important things.
- Hold an initial “they ask you answer” session with the entire accounting team. The goal is to have each person share at least one question or problem that a client asked them that week – such as “how do I sort out this property issue” or “where do I log in to this software” or anything! The more specific the better.
- Keep all the questions in a Gsheet list that the entire team has access to. Make sure they are actual questions that have been asked of the team – by email, phone, in person, in a text, anything. Don’t make up questions based on conversations you’ve had: answer questions they are actually asking. Ideally write down the question word for word the way it was asked. Don’t try to make it sound more ‘professional’: you’ll lose the humanity and the purpose behind the question by adding your accounting knowledge to a question asked by someone without accounting knowledge.
- Run these sessions regularly (ideally a short session weekly, because then the questions are fresh in their mind).
- Create a ‘channel’ to track these questions in your online communication tool – something like Slack, Trello, Evernote, Basecamp. We use Slack internally and the team are on it all day every day. It’s where we communicate and we have just now started a channel called “theyask” to enter questions clients or prospects have asked. If you don’t use a system like that, start. (Or at least use the Gsheet.)
Once you’ve done that:
- Prioritise the questions in terms of which ones are going to be the most useful for the team to share. Which ones, if answered in a blog post or other content, will save the team the most time? Instead of sending a long email they can say “that’s answered on our website, here’s the link”, job done. You can expand to questions that prospects ask about your service too.
- Begin answering all those questions via content – blog post, video, PDF guide, whatever format fits best. You can answer them using multiple forms of content – a video embedded in a blog post, for example.
- Create a Google doc that lists of all those answered questions (perhaps organised by category) which are linked to the content itself on your site. Share that google doc with the team so that they can always access anytime the answers to questions people ask.
Remember, Chris and I can also come in to facilitate an initial “They Ask You Answer” session in your firm, which could kick you off on this process. Then you could continue to run these sessions weekly or monthly.
Be encouraged that no matter what part of the marketing journey you’re on, there is always the opportunity to get buy in and step it up a level. If Amy can do it, so can you!