STAMA: Super Talented Accountants Marketing with Aplomb!



Super Talented Accountants Marketing with Aplomb!

Accountants struggling to grow their advisory businesses fit into two camps.

The first group says: ‘We have a lot of business opportunities (or leads). But we don’t close business. We’re not effective at selling’.

The other group says: ‘Get me in front of prospects and we will sell to them. We’re good at closing… but we just don’t have enough leads’.

Focusing on the second group, a Panalitix client based in Sydney, Australia has made giant strides in lead generation and we’re sharing this good news in the below interview. Let’s learn from STAMA – Super Talented Accountant, Marketing with Aplomb!!!

Why not run a customized marketing campaign for your business?

Stand out from the competition and generate leads.

Panalitix: Hi STAMA – good to chat with you again!
STAMA: Likewise!

Panalitix: We’re talking about lead generation today – an area where you’ve made some good progress.
STAMA: Yes, it’s a process. And it will probably never be enough. But things are ticking over nicely.

Panalitix: Give us some background. Why is this important in your business?
STAMA: Last year, our revenues declined. That was troubling because we seemed to be working harder than before. As you know, my partner and I left jobs at much larger firms and expected to grow the business way beyond the current size. Things weren’t working out.

Panalitix: What did you do?
STAMA: We felt annoyed and sorry for ourselves for a while! And then we recognized that we hardly took on any new clients in the past year. There were one or two referrals but very few new leads. We admitted we had a ‘marketing problem’. Not surprising, I suppose, because we put very little effort (or cash) into marketing.

Panalitix: Why do you think you had neglected marketing?
STAMA: Probably because we didn’t understand it much. And it seemed like a ‘black hole’ you could throw money into without any pay back.

Panalitix: I know what you mean. So what happened?
STAMA: We set aside some time to educate ourselves working with Panalitix and on our own. We realized there are no ‘overnight successes’ in marketing – at least not for our business. We’d have to stick to a plan for a while before we saw the rewards. We were still pretty cynical at this stage!

Panalitix: Let’s call it ‘cautious’, not ‘cynical’! What happened next?
STAMA: We started looking at our contact database and realized it was a disaster! We had records from our days at the old firm which were no longer relevant. Data was missing and spread across a few laptops and spreadsheets. We took time over some weekends to organize this and engaged an offshore team for data entry. Actually, it was quite rewarding when we had 2,900 contacts together.

Panalitix: When I looked the other day, it’s up to 3,600?
STAMA: Yes! Because we got really diligent about continuing to build out the database. Every time we go to networking events or meet prospects, we add them in. We also add employees at our clients who we work with. They can all opt out of course.

Panalitix: OK, so you have a growing and accurate database, what else?
STAMA: We wanted to distinguish our firm and read about so-called ‘content marketing’. It’s kind of obvious… but that just means sending stuff to people which appeals to them and they learn about you. Some of them may want to work with you someday.

Panalitix: So, you started sending out lots of content?
STAMA: Yes, but quality content and personal to our firm. We noticed many of our competitors sending stuff they’d pulled off a government website or the latest tax news. That’s not what we felt would help us stand out.

Panalitix: What did you send then?
STAMA: We based the content around the work we enjoy doing which is transaction advisory work and business planning. We thought about what people who will buy or sell a business would like to know. It wasn’t hard to come up with a list because we’ve been dealing with clients on valuations, due diligence, structuring transactions, tax mitigation, fundraising and so on for years.

Panalitix: So you went and made content on these subjects?
STAMA: Not exactly. Am I allowed to mention Panalitix here?

Panalitix: Go for it! Don’t hold back!
STAMA: Your MarketingHub provided a lot of well-presented articles on a range of business issues which we started to share. After transaction advisory, we looked at business planning, cost cutting, and some other subjects. But I think the real value isn’t in the articles but in the questionnaires we sometimes send.

Panalitix: You mean using ClientInsights?
STAMA: That’s right! On one occasion, we sent a ClientInsights questionnaire to our database on the subject of cost cutting in their business. Among the replies, one of our clients said he was about to meet another firm to look at cost cutting initiatives. I called him up and said that we could help. He said he had no idea we do that kind of work. We ended up selling him $11,000 worth of analysis in two separate projects that unfolded over a few weeks. And he saved around $90,000 in annual costs so was happy with the outcome.

Panalitix: Sounds like a win all round!
STAMA: Yes, it’s nice when that happens but we also find sending intelligent content to our clients makes them engage with us. They might ask a question or comment on something. Oh… another good thing we do every quarter is send some sort of guide or white paper on a particular topic. The prospect has to request this which means we get to interact directly with them. That has led to some revenue also.

Panalitix: What else have you learned through the process?
STAMA: I like the fact that MarketingHub makes us think in terms of ‘campaigns’. So, we might set up the ‘Business Valuation Campaign’ and then the ‘Cost-Cutting Campaign’. These campaigns last 2 – 3 months and we try to push out some quality content and create real engagement. Keeps us focused.

Panalitix: How do you know when these campaigns are successful?
STAMA: We’ve got some clear metrics we track. It’s pretty simple really. How many people in our database? How many people engaged with us during a campaign? In MarketingHub this is referred to as open rates and click-through rates. Then how many of those entered into some business discussion with us – they are leads. And how many did we convert into sales – that’s where the rubber meets the road!

Panalitix: And it’s going well?
STAMA: Definitely. Of course we can do better but at least marketing is no longer this murky pond and we feel we can actually influence the outcome. We kind of enjoy it!

Panalitix: It sounds like it. And you are challenging us to develop content on new subjects too?
STAMA: Yep. We now have three clients who are franchisors trying to expand. We want to be expert business advisors in that field. What content have you got on that subject?

Panalitix: Ummmm… Let me come back to you on that! OK – final question. Some of our readers may think marketing is harder than you’re making it sound. What would you say to them?
STAMA: Building successful businesses is hard, I guess. But if you pick something you want to do, plan it properly and execute energetically, good stuff happens. That’s what happened to us in marketing.

Panalitix: Wise words! And congrats on being a STAMA: Super Talented Accountant Marketing with Aplomb!
STAMA: Thanks!

Why not run a customized marketing campaign for your business?

Stand out from the competition and generate leads.


Mark Ferris

Mark Ferris is an entrepreneur who has founded, built and 'exited' numerous businesses realizing success for shareholders, employees, customers and acquirers. He has a particular interest in software, solutions and service businesses and frequently writes on related topics.

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