Digital lead generation – or using digital channels to generate interest in your services and guide potential clients into your sales pipeline – is a highly popular approach to business development, for some very good reasons.
As I discussed in an earlier post, we’re now past the tipping point for all things digital. With the proliferation of smart phones and tablets, and Google’s search algorithm change in early 2015 to favour mobile optimised sites, the web is more important than ever to professional services firms.
For many firms, digital lead generation is really the smartest business development investment to pursue. But it is not right for all firms.
It is worth remembering that digital is just one technique among many to attract, win, grow and retain attractive clients.
To help you work out if it may be right for you, I have identified a few types of professional services firms for which a digital lead generation strategy might not be appropriate.
- Larger professional firms stitched into an alliance, network or franchise arrangements that are subject to global and head office decrees on all things branding and web out of Hong Kong, New York or London. It’s self-limiting, but the restrictions are in place to protect the “brand”. In my experience, very few of these firms locally have much freedom to act independently digitally.
- Firms who don’t directly source clients via the internet, especially those who mostly win work with large consumers (like government or financial services) by formal tenders or proposals. These firms still need a credible web presence – after all, those clients (won through tender) or prospective employees need to feel good and secure about being associated with them – but it won’t necessarily be the primary mechanism by which they win work.
- Solo practitioners or small firms with tight budgets, limited time and scarce resources. It takes a certain kind of convert amongst the smaller firms to really commit to digital. Small firms will generally have other, more important, marketing and BD issues to address (not to mention clients to service) before they can be in a position to develop powerful digital content.
- For smaller firms, cultivating referral sources, networking and speaking at events, and making use of social media in a consistent way may bring more benefits than digital lead generation. A more traditional web presence is often enough for smaller professional services players when it comes to digital.
For many firms, particularly mid-size firms with the right focus and resources, digital lead generation may be the perfect strategy to effectively differentiate their services, attract new clients and grow business.
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Remember, nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply Albert Einstein was spot-on when he said “nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply”. Tenders, bids, proposals, and informal pitches for business are not times to show how clever and capable you are by using legalese (I’m looking at you lawyers), […]