Busy season is now in full swing, and no matter how much planning growth professionals conducted in the previous months, it is inevitable that marketing and business development efforts have slowed down. That may be the case for some, but it does not have to be!
How can we continue to be effective during busy season when no one has time? There is a lot of work the firm’s growth team can and should be doing that does not require partner or staff involvement. If you planned well, you have webinars, evergreen content, and projects drafted, approved, and ready to go. But what else can marketing do during busy season to keep business development moving? Here are a few ideas that can bring great value to your team and firm’s overall growth and business goals.
Planning and Budgeting
In the perfect world, your firm’s marketing plan and budget has been finalized for some time. Having a plan and budget in place prior to busy season will allow marketing to keep pushing forward without the need to seek approvals for every initiative and purchase. Regardless of if you are still tying up loose strings or if it has been complete for months, utilize this time to refine and modify.
Today more than ever, marketing, recruiting, and HR are collaborating to not only ensure the firm’s mission and vision are instilled in the employee experience, but are also consistent and starting before they walk in the door. Does your onboarding process need revamping? Does recruiting need help crafting messages to potential new hires? Now is the time to partner up and audit the process and messaging to help make sure “who” the firm says they are is a true reflection of reality.
Research and Analyze
It is likely that you have a good sense of who your competitors are, but is your analysis current? Are you seeing consistent feedback from your client surveys? Take time to make sure your intel is current, audit your website and collateral, and reflect on the feedback from your clients. This information will help you understand where your firm fits into the current marketplace, while also ensuring your tools and messaging are relevant.
Let’s face it, everyone has the best intentions to attend webinars or work towards a specific certification, yet there seems to always be something that prevents attending and/or devoting time to yourself. While others are heads down and you have less traffic coming in your door with what seems to be never-ending requests, plan for and block time on the calendar for yourself. It is very unlikely during a very busy event season that the luxury of time will allow for training and self-development; take the time now and invest in yourself.
Now is not the time to have partners review lists and help clean up CRM, but it is the time to get ready for what is typically a good summer project. Run the reports, clean things up as best as you can, and outline cleanup initiative priorities for later in the year.
Support Client Development Initiatives
Accounting professionals likely have more contact with their clients this time of the year than any other. Do they have the tools they need to encourage conversations and ask the right questions to garner information and solicit feedback? While rolling out a client service plan in the middle of busy season is not ideal, be sure your accounting professionals are equipped with hot-button topics and current industry pain points. This will allow them to be prepared with minimal effort while enhancing the client relationship and experience.
At the end of the day, it is important to understand the current priorities related to the firm’s business goals and have an agreement on what can slow down or go on hold if needed. This allows growth professionals to make informed decisions as needed, taking little to no time away from the client serving team. As May comes on the horizon, be sure that you have documented the team’s accomplishments, highlighted the successes, and have a revised plan in place to hit the ground running once the deadlines have passed.
About Tanya Doescher
Tanya is the Marketing Director at Melton & Melton, LLP, one of Houston’s largest independently owned accounting firms. She is responsible for developing and executing the firm’s overall growth goals and objectives. She oversees and leads the marketing, strategic partnerships and business development activities, and is responsible for branding, strategy, advertising, corporate communications, public relations and improving organizational efficiency.