The purpose of this presentation is to benefit all of you. As a result, I encourage you to ask thoughtful questions or comment during the presentation. However, there will be some limited time at the end of the presentation for questions.
What is EBP Marketing? -Benefit Plan Audit Marketing is An Approach that ONLY Promotes and Educates Clients, Prospects and Referral Partners About the Firm’s Plan Audit Practice
Discuss how EBP Marketing opens the doors to other opportunities. Give an example of how it is a very valuable tool when marketing to companies you want to do work with. It provides a service experience and let’s you get to know each other. The off year end opportunities gives you a chance to audit plans that do not have a 12/31 year end. In these rare cases the firm can locate opportunities which may present billable work during traditionally slow audit times.
It is important to understand that if your firm is ONLY marketing the firm on the digital medium them you are missing the boat. Most firm’s are now focusing on digital marketing and paying less attention to traditional marketing. This is an opportunity to seize a less crowded traditional marketing channel. While other firms focus mainly on digital take the chance to combine them both.
To be successful you can not view niche marketing as digital or traditional. They are essentially both playing different positions on the same team. To win each needs to be doing their job properly.
The three traditional marketing methods we will discuss today include building your marketing foundation, direct mail and then executive telemarketing. The first two are programs that have to be executed firm wide, but they are effective so I think it’s important to discuss them in some detail. Networking is an individual “sport” so it’s something that you can leave here today and start doing on your own. In all cases, these activities will have a positive impact on your plan audit niche marketing efforts.
It’s important to remember that change can be a difficult thing for most of us. Now consider you are a CFO who is thinking he/she may need to make a change…how do your foundational marketing items speak to what their concerns/fears/pain points, etc? Change is not easy!!!
This is taken from the Eisner Amper website. There is a dedicated page that discusses only their plan audit practice. If someone visiting their website comes looking for information on the plan audit practice it is clear from this set up and level of detail that the firm is quite familiar with benefit plan audit marketing.
Direct mail is a common form of direct marketing, and may be employed by for-profit businesses, charities and other non-profits, political campaigns, and other organizations. Advertisers often refine direct mail practices into targeted mailing, in which mail is sent following database analysis to select recipients considered most likely to respond positively
Focused Targeting – Unlike several digital methods that involve the sending of messages out to a mass (often times unqualified audience), direct mail allows you to send a focused and targeted message to prospects that you know have a need for the service you are offering. Through advanced list segmentation the previous statement becomes even more accurate. Audience Access – Although more and more executives are going online and even searching for services online, direct mail ensures that you will be able to reach that % of your prospect audience that does not actively use the Internet for professional purchases. Generally speaking, the older the executive the less likely they are to be searching online for a service provider. Minimal Investment –Physical Connection – Consider the example of getting paid by check vs. direct deposit. Easy ROI Measurement Options – Unlike digital marketing where there are only a few options, in direct mail there are several types of items you can send through the mailer. Consider the items we discussed on the last slide as a starting point.
Here are some examples of benefit plan audit mailers (postcards) that Flashpoint has designed for clients and sent out to their prospect list. These are used in the Fall and Winter time to solicit new business. While not all direct mailers should be designed to directly solicit new business they should be professionally designed, ask the prospect to think about their situation, and have a call to action. Other examples of direct mail pieces include an ERISA KEN doll and an ERISA calendar. Just other examples to
Executive Telemarketing is not business to consumer telemarketing typified by calling someone at their home in the middle of dinner. Rather it is business to business telemarketing, designed to connect with key decision makers to educate them about your plan audit service. Most executives have a neutral to positive attitude about receiving professional cold calls.
These are the five pieces of information you should use when developing a new prospect list or database. It is important to look at:
You will have better luck in larger companies speaking with a controller or director – typically the higher up the corporate ladder, the more difficult it will be to connect with someone personally – often reaching a dead end with their receptionist or general inquiry voicemail!
There are four possible outcomes from executive telemarketing:Not InterestedRequest Information *Request Follow Up At A Later DateInterested In Speaking With a PartnerConnect the prospect with partner/audit manager as quickly as possible.
Examples of integrating digital and traditional marketing campaigns – blog and direct mailTwitter billboards and direct mail
Every firm says they give good customer service, they have high quality audits and they are professional – those are all a GIVEN… in your firm’s message you should try to stand out – what makes you REALLY stand out against your competition?
Marketing Your Plan Audit Practice
Marketing Your Plan
Growing the EBP Audit Niche
Brian D. Swanson
• MBA in Finance & Accounting
• 16 Years in Accounting Marketing
• Experience at Big 4 & Regional CPA Firms
• 11 Years Marketing Experience - EBP Audits
• SEMPO Certified in Search Engine Marketing
• Benefit Plan Audit Marketing
• Value of Benefit Plan Audit Marketing
• Getting Started
• Developing Your Plan
• Traditional Marketing Strategies
• Putting It Together
Value of EBP Marketing
• New Avenue of Entry for Approaching a
• Creates a Pipeline of Immediate, Short and Long
• Most will Consider Firms that Have a Niche
• Opens the Door to Other Opportunities
• Profile of Ideal Prospect
• Prospect Lists
• Defined Tactics
• Follow Up Process – When/How
• Definition of Success
Develop a Plan
Combine Digital & Traditional Marketing
• Allows For Engagement with Prospect in
“Sanitized” (Peaceful) Environment
• Specific Prospect Segmentation & Targeting
• Direct Call to Action
• Easier to Measure Impact/Engagement
• Effective When Combined With Digital Marketing
Traditional Marketing Methods
• Is There a Section on the Website Dedicated to
the EBP Audit Niche?
• Does the Information Address Prospect
• Is There an Explanation of the Value Your Firm
• Discussion on Why Prospects Should Switch?
This is NOT Executive Telemarketing!
• Create/Segment Prospect List
• Identify the Proper Target Contact
• Develop/Enhance Direct Mail Program
• Conduct Executive Telemarketing
• Ongoing Professional Follow Up
Create/Segment Prospect List
• Total Plan Participants
• Total Plan Assets
• Plan Year End
• Physical Location
• Current Plan Auditor
Target Plans That You Have References to Support!
Identify the Proper Contact
• Director of Human Resources
• Director of Benefits
Any of These May Be the Decision Maker!
Develop the Message
• Expertise – EBPAQC, AICPA, PCPAOB
• Partner Contact
• Well Trained Staff
• Reasonable Fee Structure
High Quality Audits are Assumed!
Conduct Executive Telemarketing
• What’s the Process?
• Who Should Make the Calls?
• Develop a Flex Script
• How Often Should Calls Be Made?
• Follow Up – It’s VERY Important
• They’re Interested – Now What?
Ask for the Opportunity to do Business!
Executive Telemarketing Outcomes
• Not Interested
• Mildly Interested - Request Information
• Interested but Not Right Now - Request Follow
Up (At a Later Date)
• Immediately Interested - Interested in
Speaking with a Partner
Professional Follow Up
• Be Sincere and Professional
• One Follow Up Call is Not Enough
• Lack of Response Does Not Mean Lack of
• Prospects are Busy Just Like You
• “Being There” At the Right Time is Critical
Putting It Together
• Market the EBP Niche Specialty
• Develop an Integrated Marketing Plan
• Combine Digital Programs with Traditional
• Have An Established Foundation
• Conduct Regular Marketing Activities
• Keep It Simple to Start
• Create A Compelling Message
• Research the Prospect List
• Have A Polished Print & Digital Collateral
• Target Companies Using Large Firms
• Leverage Disruptions in the Marketplace
• Be Consistent & Professional In Follow Up
Every Firm Conducts Effective Audits – Not a Differentiator