For decades consulting firms have relied solely on word of mouth and print advertisements to generate new leads.
But these days marketers have a plethora of marketing methods, tools and technologies at their disposal.
The options that are available for any firm to generate executive level management consulting leads are plenty and diverse.
There will be a variety of companies that will attempt to sell you on the idea of content marketing. They will encourage you to do webinars, write white papers, or even write books.
As management consultants ourselves and working in the field for many years we have learnt that management consulting firms require a different marketing approach than other industries.
In a competitive environment such as the management consulting industry, it’s important to gain advantages by doing smarter marketing and differentiating your business.
Many consulting companies find prospects through inefficient methods such as PPC, SEO or Cold Calling.
If you are an executive reading this, when was the last time an AD, or a blog or attended a webinar, made you make a buying decision? Chances are it is not frequent if at all.
Although all of those have their place in the marketing cycle, the fastest and most predictable way of generating management consulting leads from executives in the digital world today is email.
Executives not only have a different mindset, they have a different behavioral pattern. They are busy professionals who don’t have the time to digest webinars or reading blogs to make business decisions.
They are not buying into the traditional marketing tactics that most marketing firms are selling you, that’s just a fact.
Although those practices have the ability to generate management consulting leads over time these are not areas that will generate a consistent and predictable pipeline that will fill the top of your funnel.
Another thing we have found is that management consulting firms have the ‘consultants dilemma’ – when you are serving your clients you cannot generate new business and when you’re generating new business you can’t serve your client.
That is a major problem that has to be solved. So to solve that problem, most consulting firms rely on referrals so that they can close a high percentage of the few leads and deals that they get.
But there are a select few that get beyond the scope of their smaller practice and want to grow their business consistently and predictively beyond what they could have before.
We at Linked Strategies work with several hundred million dollar firms that are in this space that are looking to scale lead flow with executive level targeting contacts predictably and consistently.
There are a few things that have to happen to engage executive level management consulting leads:
1. Profile presentation
No good consulting firm strategy is complete without addressing each consultant’s bio page on websites or social media platforms such as Linkedin. Humanizing your consultants is paramount to increase your firm’s appeal.
Make sure you add photos beside a consultant’s bio. By doing this consumers are able to put a face to a name.
By adding photos beside a consultant’s bio, consumers are able to put a face to a name. This provides a sense of familiarity which allows them to make an instant connection with your brand.
2. Coordinated message
Once the personal profiles are constructed, make sure your company is in alignment with what your consultants are talking about. This might require some adjustment to the website to make sure that everything is in alignment.
When that is all done you need to find the data. Once you build the database out for your target market and identify the core market that you’re going after, you have to purchase that data in some way, shape or form or build the database from social tools that are available online.
4. Compelling copy
Write copy that is compelling to the market that will get your target audience attention and is sequential in nature. Usually anywhere from 5-7 total emails is required to get the attention of an executive.
To follow that up you want to create 3-7 content pieces that could be of interest to the market because you need to ‘drip’ on the potential customers that aren’t currently ready to engage with you.
5. Technologies and Tools
Ensure that you have the right technologies and tools that will allow you to deliver leads and generate emails in a way that will get delivered to the email boxes of the executive without getting flagged for spam or a marketing piece.
Makes sure you have the capacity to measure your activities and be able to make actionable changes on the campaigns that you are running to get people to respond in a consistent and predictable manner. Ensure you’re watching the metrics to have a benchmark for success.
See below a list of effective lead generation tactics for consulting firms to help you reach your marketing goals:
Ultimately the best tool in the B2B space for generating lead flow consistently will be a combination of email marketing with some integration of LinkedIn.
Building and marketing to highly targeted lists will ensure that you scale lead flow with executive level contacts predictably and consistently.
Highlighting reviews, case studies, and testimonials from previous clients are great ways to showcase your wins and impress your target audience.
88% of consumers trust online reviews from complete strangers as much as they trust personal recommendations – Forbes
The survey results reveal that the number of consumers who read and trust online reviews is increasing tremendously.
The survey also found that only 12% of the population did not read reviews for consumer products regularly.
The numbers shouldn’t be that surprising because humans have always relied on the opinion of others to make key decisions, no wonder referrals is such an effective marketing technique.
Additional, credibility can be built by displaying any honors or awards, the consultant’s education, or works they have authored.
Yes, we have detailed in a previous blog why Direct Email Marketing is more effective than Content Marketing in winning the attention of busy executives. But that doesn’t mean it’s useless if it’s done properly.
Where content will come in handy is after you’ve won the attention and garnered consideration. According to the 2016 Demand Gen Report, 51% of B2B buyers now rely on content as their main form of research before purchasing a product or service.
Due to short attention spans consumers are showing a desire for shorter, interactive content that is designed to educate and inform not just sell.
Delivering the right type of content such as informative videos, blogs, and white papers, not only offers a great opportunity to establish yourself as a thought leader, it’s also an opportunity to capture a new lead by having consumer’s fill in their information in exchange for accessing your content.
Offering impactful content is great for your consumers. But it won’t be effective at generating you management consulting leads if they can’t find it.
‘Bounce rate’ (the percentage of visitors who navigate away from a website after viewing only one page) increases the further down a page.
Consumers spend more than 80% of their time viewing a page above the fold – The Nielsen Group.
Most users stick around less than 59 seconds – The Nielsen Norman Group.
The ‘59 Second Rule’ – if you don’t capture a user’s attention in less than a minute, you’ve lost them. Which is why your important information and calls to action (CTA) should be above the fold.
This not only ensures an increase in the number of people who see it, it most importantly increases those who click to take action.
However, just having a CTA alone likely won’t guarantee leads. The first step is ensuring it get seen. The next step is providing the influence for the action. The wording itself has the power to convert a website visitor into a lead.
An effective CTA copy says exactly what the visitor will get when they click. Avoid general phrases such as “Click here” and “Learn more.” Begin each CTA with persuasive, action-oriented verbs has been proven to compel more users to click.
Though considered ‘old school’, attending conferences and industry events is a tried and true method that’s sure to grow your network. Staying in touch after establishing strong connections while working with clients will help generate the coveted ‘referral lead.’
If you’re an executive chances are you might be aware of the ‘Law of 250’ – everyone has 250 people that they can have influence on to some extent.
Therefore, if you did business with one customer, you have the potential of reaching another 250 potential customers through their network, providing that you established a good connection of course. This creates an endless pool of potential leads.
But in order to capitalize on this, you must maintain the connection and relevance with previous clients.
In this day and age where so much centers on the World Wide Web, ignore your online presence at your own business development’s peril. You’d be missing out on a lot of business opportunities.
Website – a great way to generate targeted management consulting leads is to have your consulting site come up at the top of Google’s search results.
Your website is your online home. Ensure it reflects your company’s brand development strategy through its messaging, visual elements and level of interaction with audiences.
Blog – your blog shouldn’t just be a section of your website that stores regular content. It should be a resourceful reservoir that stores a consistent flow of useful content that can genuinely solve the issues faced by your target audience.
When they see the large amount of content you’re willing to give them for free, they’ll keep coming back for more.
Social media – with the scale and scope of the online space being so big, you need to exist beyond your website. Here’s where you can really amplify your expertise.
Social media can be very time consuming. So if you only have time for one social network, LinkedIn should be the one.
Review all your social network profiles and company pages (particularly LinkedIn) and give them a professional makeover if needed. Also, join and participate in the right groups.
Using your social media channels as a way to network, market, engage with your audiences, and highlight your services, provides another potentially effective lead generation tool.
All of these are important steps in how to generate management consulting leads with executives for management consultants.
There are other options as well but ultimately the best tool in the B2B space for generating lead flow consistently will be a combination of email marketing with some integration of LinkedIn.
This combination is best effective because it enhances trust and credibility. It also builds a personal relationship and most importantly get the attention of the right executive at the right time.
Consulting and management companies need to demonstrate trustworthiness, quality-standards and an ability to deliver their offerings in order to attract leads.
Creating a lead generation strategy that builds trust, demonstrates your company’s integrity and expertise will give you the competitive edge you need.
That’s what we at Linked Strategies do for companies if it’s too hard for you to do on your own.