Accounting is a competitive space, and firms typically generate interest through referrals and word of mouth. Competition is stiff among accounting firms, and many are looking for new ways to highlight their capabilities and land potential clients.
One meaningful way to connect to potential clients is through sales collateral. Marketing materials are documents that describe in detail who you are and what you do, and they are important elements of the sales enablement process. They are tangible proof of your capabilities and provide value long after your sales team has left the building. A well-crafted brochure, sell sheet, or case study gets your name in front of clients and labels your firm as knowledgeable, capable, and professional. Streamlined, relevant content will help potential clients feel more confident about your firm as a solution to their needs with access to more knowledge about your company.
Let’s take a look at what collateral is, what it does, and three important things to consider when implementing them into your existing sales and marketing strategy.
Just as source documents are important to record accounting transactions, sales collateral functions in much the same way. They are tangible proof of the effectiveness and credibility of your firm. A sales rep can talk for hours about how successful your firm is and the value it delivers, but collateral provides something different—proof. Here are three important things to consider when using marketing collateral to boost your business:
Use Stats to Back Up Your Claims
Accounting is about trends, and one way to sell your firm to potential clients is to position yourself as a trendsetter. Here’s an example. Businesses in all industries are transitioning from internal staff to as-a-service models. Outsourcing is an important way to secure professional-level services without the investment in internal and human capital, and accounting and payroll are important functions that businesses feel are best left to outside professionals. This is the kind of trend that is best served through an infographic. A good infographic relies on a few key points of data taken from a reputable source and an eye-catching design that lets the data speak for itself. Infographics are visual ways to prove a point, and when you pair them with supported and irrefutable data, they can be a powerful marketing tool.
Use Case Studies to Build Trust
Every client has a unique situation, and professional service businesses like accountants have difficulty addressing these specific needs. Too often, they have to speak in generalities such as “financial accounting” and “tax planning services” without the ability to explain how these broad services can solve some very specific issues for clients. This is where a case study can tell a clear, specific story of someone that tried your service and saw effective results. The goal is to build trust with potential clients by equating these results with their specific situations. While the stories may not completely match, what the case study will do is illustrate how your firm can apply expertise in broad categories to solve an individual’s specific issues.
Case studies are readily available, making them an essentially free marketing material. Existing clients that are happy with your firm and your services are usually more than happy to either allow you to use their details as a case study or even write one of their own. Case studies usually follow the same pattern:
- A client is having a complicated problem with no clear solution, or they have tried many, but none worked.
- They found out about your firm, tried it, and got great results.
- End with a clear call to action that shows the potential client what to do next.
Your side of the story can include the technicalities about how you overcame the clients problems, so potential clients can witness your problem-solving skills at work.
Be Mindful of Your Message
What is your message? What is it about your firm that you want a potential client to understand? All marketing collateral needs to convey a message or an overarching theme that leaves the reader with a notion that your firm is better than any others. This advantage could come in various forms:
Recognition – There are plenty of authoritative organizations that award recognition to accounting firms that exhibit exemplary ethics or respectability and authority. Collateral can highlight these awards and explain to the potential client exactly how they impact the way you approach client services.
Quality – Accounting firms must be committed to quality. In fact, quality is a requirement to all accounting firms regardless of size or scope. This can be illustrated by highlighting memberships to accounting bodies or case studies illustrating client successes.
Values – Ethics and core values define how you carry out your duties and interact with clients. Accounting and ethics go hand in hand, and clients rely on your firm to make neutral, unbiased decisions. A printed code of ethics adds credibility and weight to the values and principles that guide your firm.
Knowledge – Accounting is constantly evolving through new technology, ever-changing financial and tax regulations, and different needs from diverse clients. The way firms stay ahead is by committing to continuous learning and improvement.
Technology – Automation is changing the face of accounting, and as more companies turn to business intelligence to get an edge over their competition, accounting firms have to keep up. Collateral provides evidence that technology can save time and increase efficiency.
Whatever you choose as your message, it should be presented consistently across all of your marketing content, from your website to blogs, to collateral content. Consistency in marketing equates to confidence.
Collateral that is fresh and relevant helps your sales team at every stage of the sales process and what you create depends on their needs. Here are some examples of internal and external sales collateral and how accounting firms can use them to their advantage:
Persona Documents – Detailed client personas are a semi-fictional description of the perfect client, their background, their need for accounting services, and other details like personal interests and personal aspirations. This is mainly used for individuals, but it can also profile businesses that need accounting services. Personas help shape sales strategies by gaining a better understanding of the target clientele.
White Papers – By writing and offering white papers online, your firm establishes itself as a thought leader in the accounting field. This is especially true if your firm handles very specific industries like cannabis, where regulations and laws surrounding the legality of the business and accounting treatments are changing almost daily.
Sell Sheets – A great sell sheet informs, entertains, and typically provides a very specific call to action. It is a short, sweet first impression that has to do a lot of heavy lifting. It has to generate interest, establish credibility, and do both of these on one side of an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper. When done right, a sell sheet is a compelling piece of communication that showcases your firm and your capabilities.
Case Studies – A great case study has to build a good story to engage the reader. They tell the story from your customer’s experiences, and while they may deal with something very specific, if they are written correctly, the reader can see your firm as a solution to their needs.
Infographics – Few things are more fun to read than a well-designed, eye-catching infographic. They can be used to examine trends, present statistics, and visually represent information clearly and artistically. An infographic tells a data story through numbers and imagery, and accounting firms can use them to highlight industry trends.
Brochures – The brochure does more than advertise cruises. Your firm can use them to provide an in-depth look at new services, describe an onboarding process, or give details about a special fundraising event. When you have a message to deliver, a brochure turns it into something that is eye-catching and memorable.
Service Descriptions – While a sell sheet deals with a broader client need, a service or product description is information about a specific service your firm provides, like bookkeeping services, outsourced accounting, or tax planning.
Flawless designs, persuasive copy, and a consistent message are just a few of the elements that make up the kind of collateral that gets your firm noticed by clients. Collateral allows you to align your sales staff, hone your strategy, and deliver the brand awareness you need to get your firm noticed.
But collateral requires work and resources, and if they are out of your reach, we have a solution. At Abstrakt, we combine these elements into infographics that grab the reader’s attention, case studies that highlight your firm’s greatest successes, and sell sheets that put a spotlight on what you do best.
Ready to grow? Reach out to us today and schedule an appointment to learn more about how we infuse energy into your marketing strategy.