The current retainer model in professional services has led to a hamster wheel of over-investment and a sales process plagued with problems. How can we implement retainers differently so there’s real value in the sales process and the work we do? How do we escape the annual retainer trap most professional services firms are in? Why is buyer intent data such a huge opportunity for companies? On this episode, Ed Marsh, founder and principal of Consilium Global Business Advisors, answers these questions and more.
"Many companies don’t have a robust, mature sales & strategic planning process, and the business is essentially rudderless." -Ed Marsh
3 Things We Learned
How companies are responding to agency churn (00:49 - 02:11)
Companies are tired of paying money only to experience high levels of churn and never getting real results. In response to the labor arbitrage model, companies are building their own internal capability.
How to revolutionize retainers (12:44 - 13:22)
The professional services industry is heavily influenced by long-term engagements and retainers that don’t give allowance for the agency and the client to see if there’s a good fit first. Starting with shorter and more defined engagements cuts out any over-investment and brings more value into the sales process. It can also make working together a better experience and prevent stretching an unpleasant engagement longer than necessary.
Why a lot of buyer-intent data out there is highly unactionable (18:30 - 21:34)
A lot of the companies selling buyer intent data don’t give specific information and clarity on the information they get. Or, they overlay irrelevant contact on an unclear context. So the data we end up with doesn’t put us at the table with people who are really buying.
The model of having a simple defined consulting engagement and letting lead into an ongoing retainer beats the popular model of annual contracts which are turning simple sales processes into abysmal experiences for agencies and clients. There are many opportunities for salespeople and marketers to bring value without leaning on long engagements and contracts. Even with impending disruptions, if we’re really creative and good at pulling together different strands and integrate techniques, we’re going to be successful.
Ed is a Growth & Strategy Consultant, speaker and the founder and principal at Consilium Global Business Advisors. Go to https://www.consiliumglobalbusinessadvisors.com/ for more on his work or connect with him on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/edwardbmarsh.
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