Professional services is an extremely competitive market with many mid-tier firms struggling to stand out from the crowd. As we continue to see trends of mergers and acquisitions occurring in order for these firms to compete with much larger organisations, it is more important than ever for companies to invest in strong business development and marketing teams.
Here are the top three skills which are in highest demand for professional services firms at the moment.
1. Thought Leadership
Leadership teams have to constantly evaluate and evolve their unique value proposition in order to stay relevant to the firm’s clients and potential clients.
In recent years, we have seen an increased demand for thought leadership, especially when hiring for generalist senior marketing manager roles. Marketing teams are increasingly liaising with Partners and Senior Managers to produce more thought leadership content, allowing these members to act as influencers in their area of expertise, as well as bringing fresh ideas, anticipating emerging trends and increasing visibility in the market.
Historically, professional services firms would strongly rely on word of mouth and referrals in order to gain business and become profitable. In recent times, however, with increasing competition, firms have to be more proactive in their approach to winning new business.
Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in sales and client relationship teams being implemented into marketing & BD departments, providing the proactive approach firms need to survive. Sales teams have been put in place to generate and close business for the firm as well as to work more closely with partners to coach them on better sales practices, ensuring they are more commercially adept at focusing on and securing the right opportunities.
Firms are also investing heavily in the role of Client Relationship Management, creating client-focused teams - historically a small part of typical business development roles. These teams have been put in place to improve client retention, identify new revenue opportunities and measure client satisfaction.
3. Digital Marketing
Although this trend isn’t new and has been slowly making its way into professional services over the past decade, it is still very relevant as digital and technology continue to develop extremely rapidly. We have seen an increase in digital specific roles within smaller firms, however not all firms are keeping up. In today’s digital age, having a website is not necessarily enough.
Firms need to invest in digital talent with skills sets including SEO, PPC and social media to name a few. These skills are all essential to ensure your firm can be found in web searches as well as to establish a space online and gain visibility in the market. Studies and research have shown that professional services has the greatest industry potential to experience huge ROI benefit from social media.
Evidently, the world of professional services marketing & BD is evolving. The question is; does your firm have the right talent and tools in place in order to stand out from the crowd?