Salesforce for professional services
As a professional services provider, your expertise is your specialized knowledge about a certain field. Types of professional services roles include marketing consultants, attorneys, architects, doctors, accountants, and engineers.
In this case, when you’re trying to build relationships with new clients, they’re not going to be easily lured in with special pricing promotions that attempt to undercut your competitors. Instead, you should develop a marketing approach that focuses heavily on showcasing your expertise and providing value to your ideal customer. You can use content marketing to showcase your insights and leverage multiple opportunities to connect with your customers, through blog content, ebooks, podcasts, webinars, newsletters, and other opportunities to demonstrate your expertise. By consistently providing value to potential customers, they’ll be primed to reach out for a paid engagement when the time is right.
With many types of professional services work, the decision-making time frame can be long, and it’s important to maintain a strong relationship with your customer for a period of months or even years before they’re eventually ready to convert. If your industry is heavily regulated, it’s also important to ensure compliance with automated workflows that take the stress out of tracking your deal stages. You might also work with a number of third-party vendors, and need to keep detailed accounts of those relationships as well.
In these situations, it’s especially important to use a robust customer relationship management solution (CRM) like Salesforce.
Here are some ways you can use Salesforce in the professional services industries to deepen your customer relationships, close deals more quickly, and automate your processes.
Get a complete, 360-degree customer view
When closing or managing high-value deals, it’s important to have a detailed understanding of each prospective and current customer so that you can personalize your interactions with them and understand what they are looking for.
Salesforce can help you do this by tracking their interactions with your brand, and integrating that with other data that you already have about them. For example, a financial services manager can gather customer data that includes your customer’s demographic information, including salary and job title, their current investment portfolio, their survey-provided retirement goals, and their past interactions with your brand content, such as which articles they’ve viewed and which email newsletters they’ve opened. You can use this data to automatically develop customized nurture streams and recommendations for each customer, such as recommending a new portfolio strategy based on their stated goals or on their brand interactions.
This personalized approach to customer management can help you deepen engagement with each customer, and ensure that you’re delivering value in line with their specific goals.
Automate workflows for compliance
Many industries are highly regulated, and your own organization may have specific protocols around approvals for initiating business relationships, such as NDAs and other forms of onboarding paperwork. Salesforce can help you set up streamlined, automated workflows for both new customers and new vendors, so that you can ensure that you have all of your paperwork digitized, organized, and stored securely. It can send reminders when the other party has not completed a required action, and send timed notices and requests for updates at appointed dates, such as sending out new tax forms each year.
This can cut down on all of the time that your team would manually spend following up on compliance paperwork, and reduce the likelihood of errors and noncompliance.
Take action based on specific triggers tied to customer behavior or changing conditions
Salesforce can help you understand when it’s time to change direction with a customer, based on either actions that they’ve taken (or not taken) or on changing industry or market conditions.
For example, if you own an insurance company, and your customer has viewed umbrella policies on your website but hasn’t gotten in contact to purchase one, you can send an automated follow-up inviting them to read your FAQ on umbrella policies, and invite them to book a call with you to learn more and answer any follow up questions.
Or, if you run a financial services firm and your recommendations for your client’s portfolio have changed, you can send an automated email sequence that describes your new guidance based on the triggering factors, and provide opportunities for a phone consultation to discuss in more detail.
You’ll be able to use both customer-driven and outside conditions to determine and automate the right course of action to continually deepen the relationship with your customer and ensure that you’re providing value.
Integrate all your data and assess profitability
With Salesforce, you can centralize all of your data around customers, contractors, bids, deals in progress, and past projects so that you can get a clear and accurate look at business trends and your profitability.
For example, if you run a web development agency, you can analyze how many labor hours your team took to complete deliverables for one client versus another. This will help you break down the costs and understand whether there are blockers in your process for a certain client, so that you can optimize your output going forward. You can also follow data around red flags, such as which clients take a long time to pay bills or which contractors frequently go over budget, so that you have at-a-glance intelligence that tells you which relationships to prioritize and which to let go of.
Using Salesforce for your professional services firm can take your business from the dark ages to the digital age.
Regardless of your industry, you’ll be able to develop a sophisticated marketing pipeline that lets you attract new business relationships based on your knowledge and expertise, with automated touchpoints that help you connect with them at the right time based on their actions.
You’ll be able to manage a detailed history of all of your interactions with prospects, customers, and contractors, so that you have the context you need to make decisions or understand how to generate the most value from each relationship.
You’ll also be able to automate many of your previously manual processes, making it simple to stay up to date on compliance and regulatory requirements, with automated tracking and reminders to ensure that your vendors and customers complete required actions by their deadlines.
And all of this data will be available on a transparent, cloud-based platform, ensuring that anyone who needs it has access in real time.
Moving your professional services firm to Salesforce will help you remain competitive in a crowded field, and build a business that your customers and partners can trust.