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The Core Elements of an Accounting Lifecycle - JPWF

Do you find your marketing efforts falling short?

Perhaps we need to deconstruct what "marketing" actually means.

Within every firm, you can look at an accounting client's lifecycle for your top performers.

An accounting client's lifecycle takes the 1 dimension view of marketing, and creates a robust, multi-dimension viewpoint that you can systematically use to build your firm.

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The Core Elements of an Accounting Client Lifecycle

First Encounter 

What this looks like: This is the time the prospect first encounters your services or firm. It could be a referral from a friend, or they found you through one of the example tactics below.

Tactics Used: Networking events, Adwords, email marketing, conferences, Linkedin Groups, websites, landing pages, SEO, direct mail, print advertising, etc.

Mindset & Goals: This comes before a prospect goes into "research mode" because at this moment, they are determining their level of need and urgency. Some prospects will see the service and say "I need that!" and move into research mode. Others will store it in their back of their mind for another time. For both prospects, you want to engage enough level of interest to get them into research mode. You can channel interest by creating research materials that are focused on the pains and desires they are experiencing (more detail below).

Research Mode 

What this looks like: A prospect know they will be making a decision within the next few weeks or months, and now they have to research the best option (*note: 50% of your prospects move into research mode- only a small minority (2-3%) might be ready to "buy now").

Tactics Used: Free lunch and learns, speaking engagements, free whitepapers, Ebooks, PDF's, video training.

Mindset & Goals: The prospect wants more information at this point. But remember how I said you must provide information that meets their interest and desire? This is the goal of your research material. Instead of having a brochure on your company, include a free PDF that teaches them the fundamentals or provides "quick wins" for their business (or whatever market you might be targeting). Examples of these free training/research materials would be "10 things you can do today to improve the cash flow in your (Insert target industry) (Ex: your small business, non-profit, commercial printing company).

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Nurturing 

What this looks like: A prospect has downloaded your whitepaper, or heard you talk, now it's time to follow up and continue to provide value and help educate them further.

Tactics Used: Automated follow up emails to check in, and provide more education content. Follow up phone calls or webinars.

Mindset & Goals: The firm that stays on top of the mind will most likely be the one a prospect goes with, so the goal here is to continue to educate, inform, and be of service to the prospect while they are going through their decision-making process.

Closing the sale 

What this looks like: So a prospect is interested in your service, but perhaps needs a final "nudge" in order to become a client. You can use free consultations, meetings, even follow- up calls to check in and get them started.

Tactics Used: CRM & follow up tools. (Example: Followup.cc)

Mindset & Goals: To stay on top of the mind make sure you've answered and addressed all objections, questions, worries, and comments.

Client activation 

What this looks like: What does a client need to do in order to get started, and how to make it extremely easy and frictionless for them to do so?

Tactics Used: Managing them in your client management tool (workflow software, project management, etc)

Mindset & Goals: What steps do they need to take to get started, and how are you systemically ensuring these steps are in place for each and every client?

Client Retention 

What this looks like: The goal is to not only provide the service, but articulate the work you're doing for a client. They don't need to know the details, but a one-page highlight demonstrating your value will go a long way. The #1 cause firms lose clients is because the client forgets about the firm, and the firm forgets to communicate with the client (it's very easy to leave a firm when, as a client, you feel there is no relationship/loyalty and just purely transaction).

Tactics Used: Use workflow software to track and manage recurring work, and set up reminders to check in and send clients updates, reports, or additional content that would help their business.

Mindset & Goals: To stay on top of the mind so you can continue to build the trust and relationship with a client. Remember, the best client is your current client!

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Client referral 

What this looks like: Once you bring in a new client on board, the next step in an accounting client's lifecycle is to put in a referral system with incentives and encourage referrals by word of mouth marketing.

Tactics Used:  Email signatures, discounts, revenue share (Click here for a list of tactics to get you started)

Mindset & Goals: You can systemically grow your client base by making it frictionless for current clients to share the value of your services and or educational content. Again, the best client is your current client, and nothing accelerates the speed of trust than having an existing client base as your raving fans!

Client profit maximizer 

What this looks like: Providing a clear picture of all the services you provide and the value they bring to the client. Also, a chance to go over what your own resource/referral network looks like in case the client needs something you do not provide.

Tactics Used: Cross-sells and upsells to other service or complementary services and products

Mindset & Goals: To make sure your clients know about all the services you provide, and to build an entire referral network so that you can both give value to your clients and build additional revenue streams.

Closing Thoughts:

This blog post on the core elements of an accounting client's lifecycle, is by far one of the most in-depth pieces of content we have created so far.

My recommendation: Don't try and pick apart each one to start. The best thing to do is to get a baseline set of numbers and activities that you're doing for each one. Assess and determine where the gaps are in your firm. 

For example: If you're getting a lot of interest, but little in terms of new clients, I would examine what you're doing in terms of "Research Mode", "Nurturing", and "Closing". If you're getting every new client that becomes interested in your firm, I would look at tactics around "First Encounter" or "Referrals".

As always, it's our hope you take this content and put ONE thing into action. Without action, this content becomes meaningless.

**What are your thoughts on determining an accounting client lifecycle? Leave a comment below! 

If there's any questions, comments, or you want to dig into a specific topic, you can email me directly at David (AT) JetpackWorkflow (DOT) com

To your success

David Cristello  

Founder, Jetpack Workflow Software

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