As lead generation strategies have evolved, we’re seeing trends that move away from the typical funnel structure of pulling a prospect through buying stages in linear, purposeful ways. While some businesses can still effectively utilize a funnel strategy for selling, this can be especially true for sales that occur in short sales cycles, for companies that classify as professional services such as law firms, accounting firms, insurance and financial services, you’ll likely see a stronger result from your marketing efforts by adopting a cyclical or flywheel approach.
What Is the Flywheel?
The flywheel is a continuously cyclical experience that keeps prospects, customers and your biggest evangelists engaged through the momentum you’ve been building and continue to add to over and over again.
How Does This Differ From the Funnel?
A funnel’s purpose is all about attracting new prospects with a goal of pushing them to sales. That’s where the drive and force stop. This is a great use of energy if a sales cycle is short, or you’re selling something tangible and a transaction simply needs to take place.
Why the Flywheel?
If you’re a consulting business that sells on relationships and requires multiple touchpoints, your marketing should respond to that need instead of fighting it. The greatest opportunity for a professional service firm is to flip the way you sell on its head and use your best ally—your clients and referral partners to advocate on your behalf.
How to Use the Flywheel Stages for Marketing Your Professional Service Business
At SyncShow, our flywheel consists of five areas of opportunity, each of which we’ll walk through below. The biggest consideration is keeping in mind that you should be building this for current customers, prospects and referral partners to help them make informed choices and decisions at each stage.
At this stage, as a marketer, the goal is to create content that showcases your expertise and allows your audience to find you. Without this stage, you’re not creating an opportunity to make connections with the right people. Content should highlight problems your clients are facing and provide solutions that you can offer.
If attraction content is a bright shiny object to get clients, prospects and referral partners to engage, education content is a next-step deeper level of content marketing. The goal here is to help them solve their problems and showcase your solutions in a cause/effect showcase, along with some deeper sales opportunity.
This stage is all about the options you offer this target market for engagement. An important factor is understanding your market’s demographics and needs for doing business with you. Typically, this is going to take place via phone and personal email for the professional service buyer. By allowing 1:1 engagement to happen early and often, you’ll see a stronger response to the way you’re pushing your attraction and educational content. The overarching goal is to use marketing to help you leverage and grow personal relationships.
Providing content and touch points that validate their engagement with you is critical. People engage online for two reasons: because they need something and/or because it makes them feel good. By operating with a marketing purpose of ‘customer first,’ we can help validate their decisions and give peace of mind.
This stage also includes how a customer is made to feel in 1:1 communications. What happens when they call your main line? How does the receptionist make them feel? How long is their hold time? How quickly do you respond to emails and phone calls? Does the experience a customer or prospect have when they’re inside your firm mimic the experience you’re creating and fostering online? These are all crucial questions to answer.
Use marketing automation tools to mark updated customers and note what line of business they’ve closed on. Then, you can re-engage them for future business and begin the process over again for additional business verticals and keep them updated on content in their current ‘bought-in’ vertical.
The last consideration when looking at this holistically is that each area bleeds into the others just a bit, so if you’re not optimizing each experience along the way, instead of the continuous momentum gains, you’re going to hit snags along the way that ultimately slow your wheel down. In essence, build your wheel, but then evaluate, test and retool it as you move along with new information. This process should always be interactive!