The partners at Klein, Rowe, & Co (KRC) are back at it—diving into another educational webinar to help resolve common challenges and ensure long-term sustainability and growth. Historically, the firm has followed a “ready, fire, aim” strategy to attract and retain clients. Unfortunately, this scatter-shot method left them with clients that were less than ideal and moved them to take on anyone who walked through the door. The big issue has long been the absence of a structured and well-thought-out business plan to support a rich and informed customer journey—which leads to building a roster of ideal clients, uncovering new opportunities and accelerating growth.
Join Klein, Rowe & Co, our fictional case study firm, as they learn from our Automating Success webinar series. In each webinar, our thought leaders will share their expertise on how this firm might address those challenges. In each KRC follow-up, we'll share with you what our fictional firm has learned and the next steps they might take to reimagine their firm. Please note: our case study and follow-up articles are fictional and intended for entertainment and educational purposes only.
In this week’s Automating Success webinar, “The customer journey strategy of growth,” KRC partners looked forward to learning about the seven stages of the client journey and gaining deeper insight on developing a strategy to hit growth goals in the coming year.
What KRC learned…
The partners left this session armed with a sound understanding of the seven traditional stages of the client journey and a foundation to build a better strategy for growth. The seven stages include:
- Research: It all starts with doing your homework and consistently getting to know your ideal clientele on a deeper level. This can be accomplished, for example, by conducting a client intake survey to identify how the client heard about you, uncover common pain points and better understand the client’s long-term goals. You can also “shadow” a client to learn about their daily processes and/or offer post-engagement client satisfaction surveys.
- Awareness: Building awareness around your firm and services is key. This occurs when you are seen and heard within the right channels such as blogs, podcasts, webinars and LinkedIn articles. It’s also important to develop local partnerships to advance awareness within your target audience (e.g., If you serve the construction niche, partner with a local trade organization). To enhance awareness efforts, interview a few of your favorite clients to identify where they seek advice and who they follow online.
- Exploration: This is where your firm creates relevant, timely content to build consistent and positive brand awareness. This entails writing your own blog articles, developing education-based pieces (e.g., eBooks and guides), developing a professional website and maintaining active social media channels. Be sure that your brand is consistent across all channels so visually clients always know it’s your firm.
- Evaluate: Deeper evaluation will help you continue to mold your distinct brand, develop content that resonates with your target audience and enhance the client journey overall. This includes, for example, assessing your competitors, identifying your differentiators (what makes you stand out from the competition?), defining your firm’s core values and ideal clients (e.g., specific verticals).
- Purchase: This is the point when the client is ready to hire your firm. The goal is to make this stage of the journey as frictionless as possible. This demands that you evaluate how easy it is for a new client to hire you. Look at how many steps are involved in the process and if some can be eliminated. Identify what steps can be automated and what you can do to reduce barriers of entry for clients.
- Consume: This stage identifies how the client consumes your services. The objective here is to make every interaction delightful. This happens when your onboarding process is smooth and simple, clients understand your technology/platform, services are automated, processes are uniform across roles and departments, and you provide client support that is proactive rather than reactive.
- Get help: Offering a variety of methods for clients to get the help they need is ideal. No client wants to feel lost when they need a question answered. Ensure that your process for supporting clients is smooth and offers multiple methods of contact such as phone, instant messaging (e.g., Slack), text and chat. Make it clear within your engagement letter and on your website how the client can get help. Also consider offering one-to-many education to help clients with common questions (think FAQs and webinars).
KRC partners now understand that by covering all the bases along the client journey, they will be better positioned to sell into their existing client base and create new revenue streams. When you deeply understand your client base, it’s much easier to approach and upsell them on needed services, such as advisory.
KRC action items…
To date, KRC partners have implemented numerous changes to improve their overall marketing and business development strategy—based on lessons learned from previous Masterclass sessions.
Core action items already identified and underway within the firm include naming a champion to oversee refinement of the firm’s marketing program—with duties that range from developing consistent messaging, maintaining multiple social channels and securing a budget. On the business development side, the team has implemented an updated strategy for collecting prospect intelligence (e.g., ideal verticals to serve) and building strong referral alliances.
With a great deal of work already underway, KRC partners have noted new action items that serve to build on subsequent work. These items are aimed at improving the client journey to augment current marketing and business development initiatives, including:
- Expand market champions duties to include added client journey research efforts. This includes conducting client satisfaction surveys, focus groups and other forms of business intelligence aggregation.
- As most content is still being produced in-house, continue the effort to identify an individual or agency to outsource content development in order to free up marketing champion’s time to take on added research duties.
- Expand the business development champion’s duties to include researching and building alliances beyond referral sources—including trade associations that align with the firm’s identified client verticals.
- Conduct a thorough analysis of the firm’s existing client onboarding process to identify points of friction. Involve several members of the team to generate ideas for improvement.
- Conduct a thorough analysis of the firm’s existing service processes to identify where automation is required and touch points can be enhanced along the client journey.
- Evaluate the firm’s methods for client support and build a plan to improve the process for how clients get help.
Check back regularly to learn how KRC is progressing. In the meantime, feel free to use any of the ideas listed above to help improve the client journey and develop a sound strategy for growth.
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