It's a dog fight out there for selling our professional services B2B. We might be in executive communications, lawyering or management consulting. The shift has been from a sellers' market to a buyers' one.
The good news is that demand has been increasing. However, in most niches in professional services, there is a glut. One solution in marketing and selling has been leveraging the standard tactic in Silicon Valley: A/B testing.
Informally, we establish two or more very different approaches. The variables include:
- What to sell
- Target markets
- Tone, content of actual marketing vehicles
There are all kinds of feedback we receive.
The negative includes emails stating not to contact them again or even explicit criticism of our tactic. Regarding the latter, I asked the public relations agency to go into detail about what was off-base. Briefly it explained that I was pitching credentials, especially track record, not insight on why I cared about its business and how specifically I could help.
The positive ranges from contacting us for more information to checking our LinkedIn profile.
I had learned plenty.
At the top of the list is that, at least in my and my clients' experience, there is no thing any more such as "an elite brand." Don't push branding. Push pulling out all stops to get the outcomes they need.
Another lesson is to parachute in and do immediate course correction. If a tactic is working, leverage that for all pitching and/or closing. If we're not getting results, then stop doing that. Time is not on our side. If we go without work even for a month our insight into the marketplace could decline and our skills atrophy.
A third lesson is having no expectations. Charles Dickens published the popular novel "Great Expectations" about the peril of entitlement. We will get the business or we will not. If we get the business we attempt to do a bang-up job. If we don't we figure out what we might learn from being rejected or ignored and move forward.
About every eight months I establish fresh A/B testing. It's amazing what could change in less than a year. For example, individuals are willing to pay the same kinds of fees which organizations tend to.