The New Age of Business Development for Professional Services Firms

16 November 2020

By Ed Rossiter

The New Age of Business Development for Professional Services Firms

For many firms, the toughest leadership test is now looming: how to bring a business back in an environment where a vaccine has yet to be found and economies are still reopening. Existing projects and assignments are coming to a close and new business development is proving to be a radically new experience for sectors traditionally dependent on face to face meetings. 

In a recent survey we conducted across Professional Services firms, over a third of our respondents highlighted business development as the key challenge for companies operating in more traditional sectors like advisory or consultancy. Why is this? 

Well, from speaking with a number of business leaders across these professional services, many are struggling to come to grips with successfully deploying a business development strategy in-keeping with the new working world of video and digital interactions. How can we successfully target prospective clients and develop strong relationships without sitting in front of them? 

The answer is much simpler than we think. It’s time that senior leaders of all consultancy, advisory and services firms fully commit themselves to developing, not only, a strong company brand but also a personal brand online. What does this mean? If you look at recent studies conducted by LinkedIn, less than 50% of it’s 700 million users have actually completed their profiles in full. 

This may not seem like a big deal, however did you know that like Google SEO (search engine optimisation), LinkedIn also ranks profiles based on how complete their profiles are? Profiles that are fully completed are 40 times more likely to receive interaction or messages about certain opportunities. 

Referrals are certainly not the only way potential clients find service providers in today’s modern world. A recent study into the habits of professional services buyers showed that more than 70% leveraged digital techniques when evaluating their service providers. Mind you, the importance of a good old fashioned referral has not gone away, it’s just that digital marketing has outgrown traditional marketing in many important ways. 


So how can you develop a winning LinkedIn profile -  I won’t get into the granular details here (check out our downloadable guide for more information) -

For a firm, and those representing the business, enhancing your online presence can take the form of project examples, client testimonials, references and case studies, to name a few. Among a variety of features, LinkedIn provides a forum for all of these elements on a standard profile page and it is essential that they be considered when developing yours. 

Create a following worthy of winning business!

Most leaders on LinkedIn have a place holder profile; one that is not developed with any great detail and that has moderate interaction or original postings on line. For most people, LinkedIn is a browsing platform where you can dip in and out without any further thought but for those who can navigate LinkedIn, it can prove to be a lucrative hunting ground. So how do you leverage your profile to generate introductions and leads? It really doesn’t have to be a complicated strategy, aside from the direct reach outs or introductions to relevant clients or executives, we suggest a longer term focus.  

In simple terms - there’s 3 mini tactics you can use to build a relevant market following. 

  1. Share Quality Content: By creating quality content, you can turn your strategy from outbound marketing—drawing attention through ads—and start building an inbound strategy where you draw in users interested in what you have to offer

  2. Reshare: Make sure to follow and participate in relevant LinkedIn groups, companies or hashtags to follow news articles or posts in your sector. By sharing relevant market information and articles you can create attention towards your profile. And remember, if someone in your network shares your article, it opens up their network which, in turn, leads to further visibility on you, your profile and your services.

  3. Repurpose:  Should you find a relevant article or publication - why not repurpose the content to use as your own? We’re not promoting plagiarism here, so please reference any articles you use, but some of the best content we see is simply commenting on or engaging with what’s going on in the world around us. 

Growing your online presence may take a bit of getting used to but trust us, you’ll be thankful later. Not only is the world constantly moving in the direction of technology but with the Corona Virus Pandemic persistently looming over businesses everywhere, there has never been a better time to grow and promote yourself online. Don’t sweat it though, if you need a few extra tips and insights into LinkedIn be sure to drop us an email or check out our downloadable guide for more information. 

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