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What's in Your Tool Box?

Determining the right mix of marketing communications for your arsenal

Lindsey Mathieu • November 8, 2018

There’s an old expression that strongly suggests selecting the right tool to tackle the job at hand.

If your job is to bring in more work (sell), it helps to define who you’re selling to (targets). This is more than merely honing in on market sectors or geographic regions; it’s identifying specific organizations and institutions, and furthermore, specific decision makers you need to connect with.

What’s important to these decision makers? Are there common characteristics that unite them? Are there recurring evaluation criteria that you’re running into? Are there unique benefits you deliver that address typical pain points? Answering these questions can help shape your core selling concepts. It’s less about who you are and what you do – it’s more how you can help them solve problems. It’s easy to describe features, but far more effective to relay the benefits of what you do.

After defining who you sell to, it’s important to understand how you sell so that you can determine those “right tools for the job”. Outline the various stages of your business development process, and the corresponding messages that support sales at each stages of the progression from prospect to opportunity, to hopefully, client.

With these messages identified, you can develop effective marketing communications that help you move the ball down the field.

Tier I: Prospect Tools

To support an initial introduction, an overall summary of your qualifications, services and experience may be most appropriate. At this point in the process, you don’t have a clear understanding of what the client needs, and you wouldn’t want to make assumptions of pigeon-hole your firm into one area or another. These “Tier I” materials could include a company brochure, capability statement, firm overview, or introductory presentation. These tools are intended to provide a general overview of your capabilities, in hopes of demonstrating a clear connection between what your firm does and what your target audience needs (either presently or down the road).

Tier II: Opportunity Tools

As you further cultivate the relationship, you will hopefully discover that the prospect has a particular need for your services. This is where “Tier II” marketing communications come into play – materials such as market sector trifold or a service/division specific flyer could be introduced at this point in the process to demonstrate depth of experience or expertise in an area that is of particular interest.

Tier III: Conversion Tools

Upon being prequalified for further consideration, you may progress to the point of actually being invited to put together a scope of services and fee for a specific project. In this case, “Tier III” materials are required to present detailed information that supports the competitive analysis of your firm. Statements of Qualifications, featuring resumes of key personnel, relevant project descriptions, and client testimonials, are perfect accompaniments to a cost proposal, as they reinforce the messages that you have communicated along the way with the Tier I and Tier II materials. If you successfully demonstrated your value and the benefits of the solution your firm provides, you will convert what began as a mere relationship into a client.

Building and Maintaining Awareness

Beyond these Tier I, II and III materials that are used to convert prospects, you should be considering the plethora of related tools that can be added to the mix to effectively build and maintain awareness. From advertising and direct marketing campaigns to trade show displays and newsletters, you want to be sure that your firm doesn’t miss a single opportunity.


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