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#1NLab16 - Life's a Pitch: An Analytical Look at Why Clients Buy Professional Services

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One North CEO John Simpson and Greentarget Director of Research & Market Intelligence Kevin Iredell discussed research findings from a recently conducted survey, and found that when companies hire new professional services firms, they don’t take the decision lightly. To win business, professional services firms need more than just one perfect pitch.

Published in: Marketing

#1NLab16 - Life's a Pitch: An Analytical Look at Why Clients Buy Professional Services

  1. 1. NOV 2-4, 2016 Life’s a Pitch An Analytical Look at Why Clients Buy Professional Services
  2. 2. NOV 2-4, 2016 John Simpson Kevin Iredell
  3. 3. NOV 2-4, 2016 Car Buying Experience – 1984 v. 2016 2016 1984
  4. 4. NOV 2-4, 2016 What’s Changed?! The most quoted statistic in B2B marketing today. Source: Corporate Executive Board
  5. 5. NOV 2-4, 2016 Results, Reputation & Relationships: What Professional Services Buyers Are Really Looking For As competition and buyers’ access to information within Professional Services sector has continued to intensify, One North commissioned research to better understand the effects of various service attributes on buyer behavior. Research report available for download at content.onenorth.com/3rinsights 81 Total Responses 78 % Respondents with revenue >$1.5B 46 % Respondents VP- Level or above
  6. 6. NOV 2-4, 2016 Prospective Clients are a Proactive Bunch 12 30 35 31 12 86 0 20 40 60 80 100 Direct solicitations Firms' websites Articles, newsletters or whitepapers Presentations or speeches Advertisements Referral from a trusted source Indicate your preferred method for learning about PSOs (% of total respondents)
  7. 7. NOV 2-4, 2016 Don’t Leave Referrals to Chance
  8. 8. NOV 2-4, 2016 Recognize How Your Assets Work Together Source: Hinge Marketing 30% 23% 16% Unimpressive website Poor quality content No-show in online search 52% rule out referrals before speaking with them
  9. 9. NOV 2-4, 2016 First Round’s Unique Approach First Round Venture Capital makes clients, influencers part of their content marketing program with 8 topic- oriented magazines.
  10. 10. NOV 2-4, 2016 First Round’s Unique Approach First Round Venture Capital makes clients, influencers part of their content marketing program with 8 topic- oriented magazines.
  11. 11. NOV 2-4, 2016 First Round’s Unique Approach First Round Venture Capital makes clients, influencers part of their content marketing program with 8 topic- oriented magazines.
  12. 12. NOV 2-4, 2016 Experience and Value Matter Most… 169 108 54 51 44 33 27 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 Experience Value Personal relationship Personal referral Price Thought leadership Well-known brand Top 3 reasons that would place a PSO in your initial consideration set (Weighted Average)
  13. 13. NOV 2-4, 2016 … But Firm Reputation Absolutely Matters 11 41 48 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Firm's reputation Professional's reputation They are equally important What is more important to your decision- making process: a PSO’s overall reputation or history, or a specific professional’s reputation or history? (% of total respondents)
  14. 14. NOV 2-4, 2016 The most successful marketing highlights the experience of the professionals in the context of the organization.
  15. 15. NOV 2-4, 2016 Chicago “Sadhawks” 2006: Worst Franchise in Sports (ESPN) Worth $253M (that’s not a lot)
  16. 16. NOV 2-4, 2016 Built Player Brands Tapped into the Civic Pride
  17. 17. NOV 2-4, 2016 Built the community brand
  18. 18. NOV 2-4, 2016 Set an example for other franchises
  19. 19. NOV 2-4, 2016 When One + One = Three Personal and Professional brands can not only co-exist, they thrive together • Season Tickets: 3,400 to 14,000–with a waiting list of 4,000 • 3 Stanley cup victories in 6 years • Second worst attendance to league best • $1B valuation • Forbes: “The Greatest Sports-Business Turnaround Ever”
  20. 20. NOV 2-4, 2016 Empty Promises… 12% 88% Promised result Past experience Most important attribute when evaluating a PSO (% of total respondents)
  21. 21. NOV 2-4, 2016 Show that you know why it matters, not just that you’ve done it before.
  22. 22. NOV 2-4, 2016 Context Sets Up Your Experience Source: The Greatest Sales Deck I Ever Saw, by Andy Raskin
  23. 23. NOV 2-4, 2016 Context Sets Up Your Experience Source: The Greatest Sales Deck I Ever Saw, by Andy Raskin
  24. 24. NOV 2-4, 2016 Context Sets Up Your Experience Source: The Greatest Sales Deck I Ever Saw, by Andy Raskin
  25. 25. NOV 2-4, 2016 Context Sets Up Your Experience Source: The Greatest Sales Deck I Ever Saw, by Andy Raskin
  26. 26. NOV 2-4, 2016 Context Sets Up Your Experience Source: The Greatest Sales Deck I Ever Saw, by Andy Raskin
  27. 27. NOV 2-4, 2016 Quality, Experience and Personal Referrals Quality Personal Relationships Promised Results Past Experience Past Experience (88-12) Quality (89-11) Most important attributes when evaluating a PSO (% of total respondents)
  28. 28. NOV 2-4, 2016 Leverage your relationships only when you are in a position to win.
  29. 29. NOV 2-4, 2016 Times Have Changed… Personal Connection Business Value “Personal connections and being liked helps the seller become essential. In fact, our research found that sellers who weren't liked lost sales. However, being liked alone was not enough to consistently win sales. Sellers who were only liked and did nothing else still lost.” Source: “Is Relationship Building in Sales Dead?”, by Mike Schultz, Rain Group
  30. 30. NOV 2-4, 2016 Know When to Pass… HIGH LOW HIGH PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP QUALITY/ PAST EXPERIENCE Reap the rewards High risk, high return Live to fight another day Bang head against wall, repeat Your relationship may anoint you an invitation to the dance. But it means very little without the experience to back it up.
  31. 31. NOV 2-4, 2016 Contrary to Popular Belief, Service Trumps Price Most important attribute when evaluating a PSO (% of total respondents) Client Service Price 72% 28%
  32. 32. NOV 2-4, 2016 Counter price objections with service excellence.
  33. 33. NOV 2-4, 2016 Service Excellence and Price Source: Huffington Post Most clients will pay more for service excellence. But stakes are high if promises aren’t met.
  34. 34. NOV 2-4, 2016 Relationship Between Service and Price • Charges 10x the competition • Paid out only $120,000 on sales of $33 million • Built the entire business backwards from guarantee Source: Harvard Business Review
  35. 35. NOV 2-4, 2016 If You Have the Experience, In-Person Is Best 21 20 15 0 44 0 10 20 30 40 50 Website Articles, newsletters or whitepapers Conference panel discussions or presentations Advertisements In-person Most Valuable Way PSOs Can Explain Their Services (% of total respondents)
  36. 36. NOV 2-4, 2016 Translate your experience into insight.
  37. 37. NOV 2-4, 2016 Oh, the Irony! B2B buyers want proof that you’ve done it before … but they want to feel that their issue is unique. § “50% of respondents state that sales people are essential to them.” § “68% of respondents said that listening and understanding their business are VERY important when deciding to work with a salesperson.” Source: Leopard 2016 B2B Business Insights Report
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  42. 42. NOV 2-4, 2016 Interested in Learning More? “Marketing-driven companies talk. Market- driven companies listen. There are times when talking is appropriate. Listening is always appropriate.” “Build the relationship before asking for business.” “An advisor that has outside perspectives is one I want to hire.”
  43. 43. NOV 2-4, 2016 Life’s a Pitch An Analytical Look at Why Clients Buy Professional Services

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