AAM Summit 2018 - CPA Firm Marketing

Innovation: Taking Services from Concept to Delivery

Marketers in firms across the country are often approached with the “great new idea” from their professionals. Those often cover new service lines that their CPAs have been providing but want to officially launch as a niche or perhaps it’s an entirely new service that your firm is launching. At the 2018 AAM Summit, Myra Miller, Vice President of Marketing at CapinCrouse LLP, shared her process behind launching a new service line.

Have a Process for Launching Your Service Line.

Having a process in place is key. As we all know, CPAs love checklists, and launching a new service is the perfect place to have a checklist to ensure steps do not get overlooked. In her presentation, Miller discussed the following benefits to having a process:

  • Professional – it instills confidence in the team and solidifies the firm’s reputation.
  • Efficient – a process will help to save time by reducing back-tracking and providing a step-by-step plan.
  • Complete – perhaps the most important benefit is ensuring that the process is completed without missing any steps.

Create Phases for Your New Service Line Process.

Now that we know the importance of the process, the next step is to create phases for your process. While doing so, figure out who needs to be involved throughout the process and in the various phases. You will need to source from multiple areas, including HR, IT, finance, and, of course, marketing. In her presentation, Miller suggested breaking down the process into four phases:

  • Phase One: Initial Research and Development
    In phase one, you would be looking at brainstorming, researching, and creating a concept for your new service line. During this phase, once a concept has been developed, HR should get involved to understand the workload impact, which will inform the need for hiring additional team members or the type of training that might be needed.
  • Phase Two: Product/Service Development
    In the service development phase, you would be creating any internal forms and checklists, language around a description of the service, quality control/legal review, and then a template for reporting. During this phase, IT would be assessing any new hardware of software needs and risk concerns associated with the service. Finance will be projecting revenues, cash outlay, and implications to the budget.
  • Phase Three: Internal Training
    The internal training phase covers just that: internal training. At this point, you would be creating the new service codes, providing any internal training or CPE, and, doing sales training for your team. It is vital that everyone receives training on how to educate prospects on why they need this new service.
  • Phase Four: Roll-Out and Promotion
    One of the key roles of the marketing team comes down to the roll-out and promotion phase. Marketing assists in helping to craft deliverables, a messaging strategy, and then the launch date. Other items to consider would be your firm’s website and collateral updates as well as creating the promotional plan for the new service.

The best way to decide when to start phase one is to start at the end. Map backwards from the roll-out date to give your team enough time to flawlessly execute your plan. Be sure to keep in mind any other services or products that your firm is launching to prevent overlap that might hinder a launch.

Promoting Your New Service Involves Communication.

When launching a new service, a crucial part of the implementation is communicating. Not only should your team be concerned about communicating out to clients and prospects but also internal communication. Create a strong messaging strategy that remains consistent and covers multiple channels, people, and varying times.

In order to accomplish this, you will need to involve the right people. Miller, in her presentation, suggests the following people should always be involved:

  • Communication Coordinators
  • Social Media Team
  • Speakers/Presenters
  • Bloggers
  • Networkers
  • Industry Leaders and Teams

Depending on the size of your firm, there might be some overlap in who fills these roles. For example, there are many firms that only have one marketing person. In that instance, be sure to create enough time during your planning so that you can accomplish the tasks within that role.

Overall the key takeaways from Myra Miller’s session were to research, plan, and communicate. If you combine all of these things into developing your new service line, things will be much smoother than simply saying you’re launching a new service without a plan in mind.

 

Source: Miller, M. (2018). Innovation: Taking Services from Concept to Delivery

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