Sit down on a two-legged stool and what happens? A sitting experience may morph into a falling one.
The same idea is true for accounting firm marketing that relies only on word of mouth and referrals. Long-term success requires diversified and strategic marketing that puts your firm’s name in front of new audiences, keeps you front and center for target audiences and builds a pipeline of business.
This is especially true when marketing client accounting services.
Companies often commoditize traditional services. They focus more on cost, rather than the benefits of the service itself.
Marketing for client accounting services is different. As an advisory-level service, it requires in-depth expertise in understanding clients, their businesses and cash flows, and guiding accordingly. It’s a year-round service and positions firms as trusted advisors.
Consider this: A survey of 1,700 companies that outsource accounting report that CAS saves them time. CAS companies also stated that the advice from their accountants helped them to increase profits and revenues.
Emphasizing CAS benefits like these helps to create a compelling story and an ideal starting point for marketing it.
I had the pleasure of discussing CAS marketing with three leading marketers from the Association of Accounting Marketing. The webinar, hosted by CPA.com, tackled important strategies and tactics, real examples of principles in practice, and how to develop your marketing plans to promote your services and firm. Here’s how these marketers helped their firms grow their CAS business.
Case study #1: Targeting a CAS niche
Handling CAS for a construction company will differ from how it’s handled for a nonprofit. Accountants must identify their target CAS audience and market to them. As Joe Kovacs, Director of Marketing and Business Development for Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell, P.C., discussed in the webinar, it’s imperative in a sales situation to talk about the value of CAS in a manner that resonates with the company and is reflective of their vertical. He shares in the webinar how he built the firm’s construction-focused marketing campaign, from creating the sales experience, targeting the decision makers and the language that appeals to them, and showcasing the firm’s differentiators.
Case study #2: Refining the CAS RFP
Edward Warren, business development manager for PBMares LLP, illustrated how to win a CAS RFP by understanding a prospective client’s triggers and decision points. The prospective client suffered from limitations in technology, subpar reporting, manual processes, and inconsistencies with coding. The firm secured a face-to-face meeting to dig into other challenges the prospect was facing and what success looks like to them. With this intelligence, they submitted their RFP and won the business. Their emphasis on fractional CFO support – something the client was missing – helped seal the CAS deal. Thanks to initiatives such as fixing problems outside of the scope (efforts that supported the long-term success of CAS for both the client and the firm) and advisory contributions, the client greatly values the firm’s services. Even better for the firm: The CAS engagement is highly profitable, outpacing audit fees by four to one.
Case study #3: Sales enablement for CAS
Adrienne Onorato Dell’Olio, Director of Marketing for Alloy, Silverstein, Shapiro, Adams, Mulford, Cicalese, Wilson & Co., took a different approach to marketing CAS – internal awareness and sale support for CAS. She focused on supporting accountants as salespeople with strategies such as gaining leadership buy-in, creating materials and education to help accountants clearly speak about CAS, holding app demonstrations to acquaint staff with new CAS-friendly technologies, and launching a digital hub for all CAS information. Useful resources such as CAS icebreakers, checklists, and brochures helped the firm convert more clients to CAS, increase the pipeline activity with CAS opportunities, and prepare more CAS proposals.
Resources for CAS marketing
Remember, all successful CAS marketing hinges on five steps:
- Know your audience
- Express your unique value
- Choose your channels
- Define the sales follow-up process.
- Test, review, and enhance
To learn more about these five steps and how to execute them, check out this marketing guide from CPA.com, the Association of Accountant Marketing, and Bill.com.
First published on Bill.com/blog.