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Professional Services

How Marketing Automation can address the specific challenges that Professional Services face in their unique field of work.

Part of our customer base consists of companies in professional services. These are typically companies that don’t sell products, but offer professional services in various industries. They sell their knowledge and expertise to their clients. The way of working with these customers is different from our other customers, because often their goals and objectives are different. They face management issues that others don’t have to deal with. For example, their target is often not focused on generating new leads, but to get a clear picture of their customer base and map out all aspects. So, these companies do not have average use cases or propositions. Because of these different objectives, companies like these are faced with different kinds of challenges. We would like to point out how we face these challenges while working with them.


Companies like these have to motivate their staff, because their profitability comes from the productiveness of their employees. When a professional services company grows in volume, you will often see a partner structure developing. For many employees, the goal is to become such a partner. However, nowadays there are many other options for young professionals than just aiming for this. Because of this shift, it is important for these consultancy businesses to create an attractive work environment. Keeping their employees motivated leads them to being the most productive and deliver the highest quality of work, which eventually leads to a business advantage.

The partner structure that often arises within these companies comes with its own specific challenges. Partners are known for doing their own thing and therefore often have little or no marketing and sales support. They rely more on a small level of support from a marketing department. The partners have their own network and are in direct contact with their own leads, and thus do their ‘own’ sales. This way of working influences account based marketing (ABM), amongst other things. If a company does not own all their contacts because the partners do so independently, how can they measure what works and what does not, across the different divisions?

Because of that partner structure in big companies, there is potentially a power gap between partners and the organization. This also leads to these consultancy businesses not having a standard way of working, and alignment between different departments is often a challenge. One example of the structure in these specific companies is that sometimes, there is no CMO leading the marketing team.

Change Management

Because of the power gap between partner and organization, situations are often difficult to change. Partners have a high position within the company and therefore a lot of support is needed to implement changes, and changes are usually not experienced as a positive thing. Introducing a new way of working that involves (complex) technologies may not go smoothly. A challenge for these companies is overcoming resistance to change that can be felt by their employees. This also goes hand in hand with the challenge of keeping employees motivated. When working with customers in this sector, we always focus on change management and overcoming resistance while implementing new technologies, like Marketo Engage.

Marketing and Sales alignment

Alignment between Marketing and Sales is a crucial part in business success. Because organizations in this category have partner structures, alignment is often a difficulty. As a result, such organizations are not able to excel in marketing and sales.

A key component in being successful in your marketing initiatives is making sure the sales are satisfying. Only by aligning sales and marketing, you can ensure that your use of Marketing Automation is effective, resulting in a successful lead to customer journey. For companies in professional services, it is import to nurture leads in the correct way. Marketing has to deliver leads relevant content, developed together with the sales department. This enables you to revive inactive leads by keeping contact through delivering them content that might trigger their interest. This way, you keep your leads hot, which is beneficial for both marketing and sales.

Customer Retention

Another goal that can be derived from good alignment between sales and marketing is customer retention. You can achieve this by keep offering value to your customers. Marketing automation can play a role here, by offering relevant content at the right time. By being supportive and valuable, customers will have a positive experience and will likely talk positive about your company. This leads to valuable word-of-mouth advertising, resulting in customer retention and posibillities for upselling.

Despite some challenging factors, the companies we have worked with have nonetheless excelled in Marketing Automation, because there are multiple ways to deal with such challenges. Focusing on Marketing and Sales alignment and Change Management, while simultaneously applying all the benefits of a marketing automation platform in your marketing strategy, will benefit companies in the professional services.

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