Tag Archives: Facebook for lead generation

How can professional services firms use social media to increase their tender success rate?

by Kirsten Hodgson

More often than not, professional services firms know when an organisation will be going out to tender, well before the tendering organisation issues the RFP or EOI.

They may have told you.

They re-tender every two to three years.

Or, there’ve been reports they’re looking to rationalise their spend, initiate a project etc.

Professional services firms spend a lot of time and money evaluating whether or not to pitch for work and, if so, compiling their proposal.

The enlightened ones even look for ways to tip the level playing field in their favour before the tender’s been put out.

This is where social media can really help.

How can leveraging social media help professional services firms to increase their tender success rate?

Looking at who’s on social media platforms within the target organisation will help you to identify the likely decision makers, influencers, veto-holders and gatekeepers.

You can use this information to compile your Who knows Who matrix.

You can then ensure members of your team connect with as many of these people as possible – be it by inviting them to connect on LinkedIn, by joining the same groups or communities on LinkedIn or Google+, by following them on Twitter, or friending them on Facebook (if appropriate).

You’ll likely be thinking about the key issues and considerations for the target organisation – be it in relation to a particular project they’re putting out to tender, or more broadly in the case of a panel tender.

Once you have a list, you can develop content that will be both of interest, and relevant, to the target organisation. This will help to position you as ‘experts’ in your area and/or their industry sector.

As well as sharing this content strategically via traditional means such as a news alert, and on your website you can also share it via social networks.

Those connected to the decision makers, influencers, gatekeepers and veto-holders can share this content via their personal feeds such as their LinkedIn updates, their Twitter account, their Facebook page or their Google+ account.

In addition, you could post it in relevant group or community discussions on LinkedIn and Google+, and put it on your company page, firm Twitter feed, Facebook page etc. In this way, you’re softly positioning your firm well before the RFP’s been issued and are ensuring that, should someone from the target organisation check you out, they’re likely to see this content.

When compiling your RFP response, you can point to the central repository for this content, be it your website, your blog or You Tube.

In some cases, firms may want to take it one step further and tailor specific professionals’ online profiles for a particular opportunity. This would involve a bit of work but, where an opportunity is of strategic importance to a firm, it may pay to ensure that profiles highlight those areas of key interest to the target client shortly before and during the pitch process. Profiles can easily be changed back afterwards.

Do any firms do this already?

I’ve anecdotally heard of a firm in the US that strategically places content on LinkedIn prior to RFPs being issued. They’re looking to position themselves in the tendering organisation’s eyes early. I think that’s a really smart approach.

I’m not aware of other firms doing this at this stage, but would love to hear of more examples if you’re aware of any.

Your 6-step approach to leveraging social media for RFP success

1. Use features such as LinkedIn’s Advanced Search to identify who, within the tendering organisation, is likely to be involved or have some input into the evaluation process.

2. Identify the key issues and considerations for the tendering organisation using your usual processes such as coffees/meetings with the client, strategy sessions with the client, client interviews, secondee interviews etc. and develop a content plan for the months leading up to the pitch. This can be as simple as a calendar setting out what you will be compiling when. Actively hunt out relevant third party content too, and build this into your plan. 

3. Develop/source the appropriate content.

4. Share this via social networks  - e.g.

  • directly with specific contacts (if and when appropriate), via a professional’s personal LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook accounts if he/she is directly connected with, or followed by, one or more of those who will be involved in the decision making process.
  • within LinkedIn groups and Google+ communities. 
  • on your website, your firm’s Twitter feed, Facebook page, and LinkedIn company page
When doing so, don’t forget to ask a question to encourage discussion and debate. 
5. Stay actively involved in any discussion threads around the content you’ve shared. 
6. Refer to your repository of content, where appropriate, in your RFP response.
Do you know of any firms already doing this?
How else could professional services firms leverage social media to increase their RFP success rate?

 

Can professionals get business from Facebook?

by Kirsten Hodgson

Jay Pinkert wrote a great post a few weeks ago titled ‘It’s time for Legal Marketers to put Facebook away’

He says legal marketers should:

“take a pragmatic, unsentimental and non-magical thinking look at their Facebook activities and make a tough decision on whether to continue the quixotic pursuit of the unicorn called Facebook marketing success.”

I have to admit, I’m not aware of any professional services firms that have generated work from Facebook via their company pages, although there are a couple that have built a community by connecting with people at a personal level.

And, of course, there are several that have assisted with graduate recruitment.

But are company Facebook pages a good lead generation tool?

I don’t believe so (but I’d love to be proved wrong!)

However, reaching out to people from your personal Facebook account can be.

I know an accountant in New Zealand who brings in between $20,000-$30,000 of new business each year from Facebook. He joined Facebook groups where property investors congregated, had conversations and shared information valuable to them. As a result a number asked him to connect with them and he began receiving work.

And there’s a lawyer who’s started to get relationship property and divorce work via her network as a result of asking questions and sharing articles those either entering or exiting a relationship will be interested in.

A number of her Facebook friends are at this stage in their lives, or know someone who is. As a result they either respond to her posts or share them with others who do.

The boundary between our professional and personal lives is blurring

Many of us are not comfortable with the blurring of the boundary between our professional and personal lives.

But in this day and age, where there are so many competing businesses vying for attention, it is easy for company pages to get lost. I don’t know about you but, even if I like a page I tend to gloss over any content that appears on my wall.

However, I read my friends’ posts much more carefully. If they were to post something that could help me or another of my friends, I’d definitely get in touch.

So, maybe that’s the way to go.

Perhaps we should do away with professional service firms Facebook pages that have been set up for lead generation and encourage those people in our teams comfortable doing so, to build relevant professional content into their personal streams.

It can yield results.

What’s your view?

Have you won any business via your firm’s Facebook page? I’d love to hear from you.