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Sept. '05 Build Business: Marketing from the Inside Out
by KeriLyn Hammond, CPSM, MARKETLINK
September 7, 2005
Editor’s note: As a monthly contributor to ArchNewsNow.com, the Society for Marketing Professional Services is sponsoring Build Business. This series, written by industry experts, focuses on marketing and business development best practices to help you build business and advance your career.
I remember when, as a newly promoted marketing manager, I was asked to educate the technical staff members of my firm about marketing professional services. I worried for weeks that I was going to disappoint the principals of the office who had entrusted me with the training necessary to expand the firm’s army of rainmakers. However, once engaged in the training session, I realized that the technical staff, including seasoned project managers, was grateful for every ounce of wisdom and enthusiasm I was able to offer. They had not been formally educated in marketing while studying physics and structures. Yet, every firm is now relying on these individuals to move marketing efforts forward in order to keep the doors open.
From this experience, I realized that marketing professionals have the ability – and the responsibility – to assist management with accomplishing strategic marketing directives. This task, known as internal marketing, is defined by the Principles of Marketing as what service firms do to train and motivate client-contact employees and support staff to work as a team to ensure client satisfaction. In short, internal marketing focuses on the people inside the firm.
One key element of this task is to create a training program focused on educating and gathering information from all staff members. If given the right marketing tools, technical staff can be invaluable in assisting the firm with strategic planning. Consider the following ideas for establishing your training program:
A branch office of a large firm I know found this very effective on a project manager/director level. It started informally (as a gripe session) but turned into a regular lunch event once the sessions turned from complaining to solutions to client and project challenges. They learned they all experienced similar challenges, and a solution that worked for one was often of benefit to another. But to have this happen takes communication and to facilitate that, a regular time needs to be established.
Ideas may include:
· Verbal communications
· Non-verbal communications such as posture and gestures
· Technical or proposal writing
· Negotiating or conflict resolution
· Project initiation and maintenance
· Client contact
· Leadership development
· Time management
· Team building
· Personal image and attire
· Consensus building
· Effective communications
· Contracts and legal administration
· Closing strategies
o Understanding the competition and your positioning strategy for each
o Evaluating the firm’s strengths and weaknesses in various areas such as: marketing strategy, market research, business development, client relations, public relations, web site, proposals, presentations, etc.
o Developing a list of marketing tasks for each position in the firm – include marketing and billable percentages assigned to each
o Reviewing lists of past clients that need to be included in a firm client relations program
o Reviewing project cut sheets – rewrite to include client benefit statements.
There are many advantages for firms to address their internal marketing efforts. The net result is that not only the employees increase their knowledge and marketing performance, but also the firm increases its army of rainmakers.
KeriLyn Hammond, CPSM, is a partner in MARKETLINK, a marketing consulting firm with offices in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Sacramento, California. The company specializes in helping A/E/C firms develop long-term relationships with clients by conducting Client Perception Surveys, Business Development Activities, Strategic Planning, Public Relations, and Marketing Training Seminars for both marketing and technical staff.
The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) was created in 1973 by a small group of professional services firm leaders who recognized the need to sharpen skills, pool resources, and work together to create business opportunities. Today, the association has 50 active chapters and a membership of 5,500 marketing and business development professionals representing design, building, and related firms.
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