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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING INSIGHTS

| 2 minutes read

Is romance dead when it comes to client engagement?

Although online channels have been used in marketing for decades, the pandemic accelerated the use of digital tools in building client engagement, delivering services and managing business operations in general.

But has this new way of interacting affected the way firms engage with clients and build those long-lasting relationships? The evolution of online dating has transformed the landscape for people looking for a partner but it has also driven a transactional way of dating that often skips the ‘old fashioned’ romance of days gone by. 


Paula Zirinsky of Structura Strategy Group recently spoke about this on the CMO Series, comparing dating to the way many firms transact with clients; on a one-night stand basis, rather than getting to know the client as if it were a blossoming romance. Paula stresses that this deeper level of understanding is crucial in anticipating client needs and identifying opportunities for future business. 

We have hundreds of ways to communicate at our fingertips, but how do you ensure you are nurturing those ‘romances’ and really getting to know your clients in a virtual world? 

Mckinsey research suggests that the future of B2B sales is hybrid with the ‘rule of thirds’; an equal split across traditional interactions, remote human interactions and digital self-serve. This mix of channels is expected to become the norm for B2B sales teams and comes as B2B buyers expectations are changing. The research shows that they are becoming more comfortable turning to digital and online channels to meet their purchasing needs, using up to, and sometimes more than, ten channels, as part of any given purchase, which is double the number of channels five years ago.

The idea of omnichannel sales is becoming a reality and is expected to be the most dominant sales strategy by 2024 due to shifts in customer preferences and remote-first engagement.

Business Development teams excel at the traditional in-person relationship building, but as we move into a hybrid approach, how can you leverage your digital presence to continue building those relationships? Firms that will succeed will be those with teams that leverage their digital networks and establish personal brands that engage with their prospects and clients. 

There are a number of ways to build your personal brand online.  Lee Watts, former CMO at Smith Gambrell Russell recently shared this advice: “I always encourage people to find those two or three topics or things that you're passionate about;  talking about, writing about, posting about, speaking to others about. Because again, going back to the personal brand, you have to build your personal brand no matter where you are in your career because it will follow you and it will literally lay the groundwork for whatever you want to do next.”

Extending your LinkedIn network is a good place to start. Sharing your unique insights and perspectives on topics that you are passionate and knowledgeable about will help establish your brand so “know what you want to be famous for” as Lee put it. Your insight could be valuable, new information to your audience and will help develop those ‘romances’ and build deeper relationships, so when they need the services that you and your firm offers, the people in your network will know who to turn to.

Today’s B2B customers are very clear about what they want from suppliers: more channels, more convenience, and a more personalized experience. They want the right mix of in-person interactions, remote contact via phone or video, and e-commerce self-service across the purchasing journey.

Tags

e2e, marketing, professional services
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