Most professional services marketing events feature a client panel and without fail those general counsels, purchasing managers or business leaders all say a very similar thing.
"We need someone that understands our business, our particular needs and the opportunities and threats that are most critical to us."
As firms trying to win business, gaining a deep understanding of a particular target client is difficult. Knowing the people, processes and specifics of a business better than an existing supplier is almost impossible.
So how can marketing and business development open those closed doors?
Do the marketing basics
A brand that is well known will have an easier time getting calls answered, emails opened and events attended. Once you know your ideal targets, keep your brand guidelines strong and KPI your marketing team on how often your targets see or engage with your brand. Assess how well the marketing function can take a target firm down the favorability journey, particularly the recognition and reputation steps.
Demonstrate a deep industry knowledge
You might not know the ins and outs of a prospect, but you can know the market through the opportunities and threats other clients are dealing with. Showing that you have a deep industry knowledge is the best positioning you can do. If you find an email with advice being written again and again for clients, write and publish a concise version for the market, send an email to those key prospects that could benefit.
By consistently demonstrating what you know, you build relationships based on value and make it more likely that when contracts come up for renewal - you are included on the list.
Be ready for the long game
Professional services can be an "if it isn't broken don't fix it" puzzle. To solve the puzzle, demonstrate consistency, commitment and competence. Building the right relationships so that when the opportunity presents itself to buy your services your firm is in the best possible position.