The accounting & financial services is an industry in transition and firms are struggling to thrive in order to keep up with the competition. Hinge Research Institute wanted to find out how firms are going to market, so they conducted the study called Visible Expert℠ Research Study: Accounting & Financial Services Edition.
According to Lee Frederiksen, Hinge’s Managing Partner, “Hinge’s past research has found that accounting and financial services buyers are seeking out providers in a very specific way. In an industry in the midst of unprecedented upheaval, buyers are finding confidence in experts with high profiles and strong reputations. Our mission was to further investigate this phenomenon we describe as The Visible Expert℠.”
Hinge asked over 1,000 buyers the question, “Before you hire a professional services provider, how do you ‘check them out’?” While 0.5% of the responders claims they “don’t check them out”, the larger percentage gave the top five ways they evaluate accounting firms:
- Talk to a reference that they have provided (59.4%)
The references provided by the seller remain significant resource to ideal buyers. Though it is the least commonly used, it becomes a supplementary means for them to know about a service provider.
- Social Media (59.8%)
Building an effective social media participation is crucial to B2B companies like accounting firms, as it is for B2Cs, because it is a part of the modern marketing strategy. Your firm should take advantage of its growing influence by having an active online presence and publishing informational contents on top social networking sites in order to engage prospects to interact.
- Search online (e.g. “Google” them) (63.5%)
With digital technology taking over and information becoming more accessible, search engines have become the
go-to source for queries. Potential clients begin their buying process online, so you better leverage on your SEO (search engine optimisation) skills to make sure you appear prominently when and where they search.
- Ask friends or colleagues if they’ve heard of the person or firm (68.8%)
As we have discussed in the previous blog, trust is important in every interaction. It only makes sense that potential buyers ask their trusted friends and colleagues about their opinion. Always remember that promoters start off as customers, and customers as strangers; therefore, you should delight them in every way possible.
- Look at their website (83.8%)
The most common source of information is the provider’s website. Therefore, you must make sure that your firm’s website is clearly communicating the services it offers, areas of expertise, and competitive advantages. One of the ways you can help drive traffic to your website is to set up a company blog. This also gives you an opportunity to convert this traffic into leads, and establish thought leadership in the industry.
As observed, most of their replies involve web research, which underscores the importance of having a good online reputation. Also, never underestimate the power of referral. People who know well the value your business has, will become your promoters in the future.
The Outsourced Accountant supports Australian and New Zealand accounting firms by helping them understand and implement outsourcing solutions to help them become more proactive and truly add value to their clients. If you want to know more about outsourcing, call us at 1300 896 522, and download our e-book.