B2B prospects are harder, if not impossible to reach. Generating qualified leads is more difficult. Standing out in the current din of social media, content marketing and other online noise brings new challenges for consulting firms struggling to reach busy buyers. These challenges leave many consulting firms uncertain about how to best market their services.
Unfortunately, there’s little reliable data on marketing and lead generation for small and medium-sized consulting firms, many are struggling to navigate this age of rapid change while building, maintaining and growing their firms.
Get The Word Out collaborated with the Institute of Management Consultants USA to conduct a research study on what’s working in marketing for B2B consultants. In this survey, we polled over 375 B2B consultants about the following:
- The role of strategic planning in developing a marketing program
- How high performing companies effectively generate business leads
- The role of established tactics like networking, speaking and publishing
- How consultants approach online presence, content marketing and social media
- Where consultants should invest resources (and avoid wasting money)
We had to two primary goals for this survey: identifying what’s working in marketing and lead generation and how top performing consulting firms achieve key business objectives; and, equally important, isolating what does not work to better help consultants avoid ineffective practices that are contributing to their stated marketing challenges.
Our research into uncovered two subsets: a majority that were not achieving desired results from their marketing and lead generation efforts; and a minority of firms that were growing their revenues, whose “best practices” can serve as benchmarks for what to emulate (and avoid) to achieve a more effective marketing and lead generation program.
The top three consultant marketing challenges: reaching buyers (50% ), generating sales leads (42%) and increasing brand visibility (38%)
75% of consultants do not base their marketing and lead generation on research or data about ideal prospective buyer organizations and decision makers
64% of consultants’ websites are not producing leads and sales inquiries
Content marketing: 63% of consultants cite Articles (print/online) as their top content marketing tactic, White Papers/E-books came in at (44%), and Blogs at (39%)
61% of consultants do not take steps to earn third party credibility, such as contributing their expertise to on influential, authoritative websites, blogs and trade media
66% rate themselves Fair to Poor in generating new sales leads
Two thirds (67%) of consultants do not implement an ongoing, proactive lead strategy
The top three outbound lead generation tactics among all respondents are Warm phone calls (51%), Online marketing (50%) and In-person, third party conferences (42%)
52% of High Performers generate 50-75% of their revenue from outbound lead generation (vs. referrals).
Low Performers generated less than 25% of their annual revenue through outbound lead generation
48% of High Performers partially outsource their marketing, while 74% of Low Performers do everything themselves
A summary of the research report is available for download: