Skip to main content

In B2B marketing, professional services is an industry that requires a specialized approach. After all, you are often selling your “smarts” (expert knowledge that drives value in the service) instead of a tangible product. The marketing and sales environment for B2B professional services is a highly relationship-based nurturing and selling environment. You are asking people to buy something that they can’t necessarily put their hands on – and often something they aren’t really sure how to evaluate. The people you sell to must be able to trust that you know more than they do about your area of expertise. They need to know you are there to serve them over the long term. 

Why Is Marketing B2B Professional Services So Hard?

Professional services is a highly competitive field, and that competition doesn’t always come from the places you expect. Too often, consultants and other professional service providers find that they aren’t even going up against other professionals. They are competing with a “DIY” attitude and a complete misunderstanding of the true value they bring. 

Or, their target audience may be relying on lower cost resources to do a job that requires a high level of expertise. For example, a business owner might think they can just hire an accountant or controller when they really need a fractional Chief Financial Officer to help them with revenue growth strategy. 

If people don’t “get” the value of what you do, they won’t spend what you are worth. In fact, they won’t even pay attention to you or get on a discovery call. To overcome distraction and confusion, your messaging MUST be on point. You are selling VALUE. And value is defined by the customer. If you are a highly skilled consultant, your value proposition has to be on point, and pointed at the problem your customer believes they have.

“Don’t assume you can start with an advanced concept. You must meet people where they are and help them take one step at a time to first understand their real problem and THEN your ability to solve it.” – Daisy McCarty, CMO at The Marketing Blender

Want a deep dive from two Fractional CMOs with experience in Professional Services Marketing?

Watch this episode of The Marketing Blender Show now.

Deliver VALUE through Your B2B Professional Services Marketing

What can you do to stand out in terms of communicating value? There’s a huge difference between conceptually talking about value versus having a repeatable process with concrete deliverables. For example, at Blender we don’t just “help you determine positioning and what to say” with your marketing. We deliver a full brand message playbook with documented personas (including a deep dive on psychographics), your brand promise, brand character and attributes, mission/vision/values, and a fully developed messaging choreography that you can pull from for writing emails, creating social content, building sales decks, and much more. 

“A tool or asset is absolutely important and can truly be a differentiator for your marketing and sales process in action. It increases the perception of your professionalism and your expertise compared to your competitors.” – Dacia Coffey, Blender CEO

The beauty part is that many of the tangible tools and deliverables you create to help your current customers along their journey can ALSO be used as marketing assets to attract new customers. Figure out how you can use those assets to deliver value BEFORE the invoice, and you have a lead magnet that can be turned into a gold mine. Want to figure out what your first tool should be? Use SEO research to figure out what problem people THINK they have and that they are trying to solve while they are still in the DIY stage and starting to realize they need help.

Another pro tip for communicating value is with the quality of your branding.

Here’s an example of a B2B professional services brand we revamped for a client recently. 

b2b marketing professional services example

“We have consistently generated more, high quality leads since working with The Marketing Blender team than we ever experienced previously.” – Burt Copeland, CEO of New Life CFO 

What If Your Professional Services Are Commoditized?

There are some fields (like MSPs and MSSPs) where the landscape is very crowded and professional services are highly commoditized. Positioning and differentiation will make or break the brand messaging in this space. You need to have a unique point of view and perspective that you are bringing into the market, or there is no reason for prospects to anchor onto your brand and remember you vs. the competition. You will also benefit greatly from aligning with the values of your “tribe” and finding ways to connect emotionally rather than just trying to sell on price, convenience, or even quality.

Be very sure that you are saying something that is truly different from your competitors AND that the difference is something your customers care about. Check your messaging against what competitors are claiming. You can’t rely on common promises like “24/7 support” or “white glove service” or any of the other things that your competitors are also saying. 

What if you can’t establish a truly unique position because you just aren’t that different? You can still carve out some space for yourself if you hire the very best B2B professional services marketing specialists to help you capture opportunities through superior tactical execution. Your digital marketing must be on point and well-run for you to make any headway in a competitive, commoditized industry. Marketing to referral partners who can influence your buyers is also critical for professional services firms. 

Learn 5 Steps to Creating a B2B Digital Marketing Strategy Here.


Match Your B2B Marketing Tactics to Your Growth Goals

Often, professional services clients don’t need a massive number of new customers to reach their revenue goals. This means, even if they are not targeting massive companies, they can benefit from using a high-touch, account based marketing (ABM) approach. ABM allows you to build a lot of trust fast, especially if you take the time to become a “social CEO” with a powerful viewpoint, a consistent online presence, and a loyal social following.

“In professional services, being a thought leader can be really important and social media is a wonderful place to leverage this. But this is not a place where you can just delegate to somebody and then never look at it. It needs to be you. It needs to be the people on your team. Humans believe humans.” – Dacia Coffey, Blender CEO

Sales and marketing alignment is critical for moving that handful of “right fit” clients through the sales pipeline when every deal matters. So is keeping marketing going for your existing clients. The lower the number of clients, the more losing a few of them will impact your ability to hit revenue targets. Be sure to allocate a portion of your marketing budget toward client retention and delight rather than focusing solely on new client acquisition. Low churn is good for your bottom line. 

AFTER Your B2B Professional Services Marketing Starts Working…You Need Talent Branding

Let’s say you are hitting those growth goals for your business. This usually means your professional services team is also growing. Since your brand relies on skilled and expert talent, your talent or employer brand needs to be an area that gets attention. Not being able to add to your team will stifle your growth no matter how many leads you are bringing in. Building a marketing pipeline to bring in more of your best people is a smart move and will keep you ahead of your competition. 

Learn more about culture, employer, and talent branding here.


Thinking about Hiring a Fractional CMO? Professional Services Companies Turn to Blender.

Our portfolio is filled with professional services companies because we KNOW how to market the value of our clients’ expertise. From nailing the brand messaging and identity to filling the pipeline with qualified, sales-ready leads, our fractional chief marketing officers help grow professional services firms every day. 

Want to talk with our CEO about whether The Marketing Blender is the right fit for your firm? Contact us now.