Marketing is a science and it pays to know your numbers. In order to successfully market your accounting or bookkeeping firm, you need to get a clear picture of where your sales are coming from and identify the gaps in your funnel.
As an accountant, bookkeeper or outsourced CFO, you spend a lot of your life dealing with numbers. Ironically, however, when it comes to sales, one of the biggest problems I see amongst both new and established practice owners is a lack of awareness of their own numbers.
Often, I speak to firm owners who are frustrated by low sales and need my help, but when I ask them about their leads and audition calls, I’m met with a blank stare.
The only way to grow a successful practice is to understand the numbers. These are different numbers than the ones you’re used to dealing with, so let’s take a look at the key metrics you need to understand.
Sales Funnel Metrics
There are several parts to your sales funnel:
- Leads: the number of enquiries you receive from prospective clients.
- Audition calls: a 10 minute call to see if you and your prospect are a good fit, and whether or not they’re truly ready to buy.
- Sales calls: this is a longer call when you aim to convert a prospective client into a paying client.
- Sales: how many new clients you actually sign to your accounting or bookkeeping firm.
Fifty leads may sound amazing, but fifty leads doesn’t mean fifty sales! Let’s take a look at what this sales funnel might look like:
- 50 leads
- 10 audition calls
- 3 sales calls
- 1 sale
Therefore, you would need to generate fifty leads to land one sale. It’s important to go through your sales funnel and analyse the data level by level to see what you’re doing well and, crucially, where you need to make improvements.
Leads are at the very top of your sales funnel. A sales lead is someone who is interested in your business and may eventually become a client.
Keep a track of how many enquiries you receive each week. Make sure that you understand how big your audience is; how many people actually see the content that you put out? How many of these people then reach out and start conversations with the intention of learning more about your business?
However, it’s not just about quantity. The quality of your leads makes an enormous difference to your accounting or bookkeeping firm. If you’re conducting plenty of audition calls but struggling to find quality clients who are a good fit for your practice, then you’re generating the wrong leads.
In order to generate high quality leads, you need to speak directly to your ideal audience. Stop trying to appeal to everybody and focus on the wants, fears and aspirations of a very specific group of people.
Of course, in order to connect with the right prospects you need to actually know who they are. You can’t create an effective marketing strategy without a crystal clear knowledge of your ideal client and their wants, fears and aspirations.
Start by creating a customer avatar to help you identify your ideal client, and then start reaching out and having conversations with them in order to really get to the bottom of what makes them tick.
Spend some time researching which social media platforms your ideal clients use and at what time. This will give you an indicator of which channels to use and the best times to post.
Start following, commenting and messaging your ideal prospects so that they become part of your audience and regularly see the content that you put out. Show up online every day to ensure that you remain front of mind and generate the right sort of interest in your business.
As well as creating content, make a habit of reaching out to a few prospects and business contacts each day, simply to catch up. You never know who might be looking for your services, or know someone else who is.
The data from your audition calls can tell you a lot about the overall health of your sales funnel and help you to accurately identify problem areas.
If your audition calls aren’t leading to sales calls, the chances are you’re not targeting the right audience with your marketing in the first place. However, if your audition calls do lead to sales calls but you’re not actually closing any sales, it’s safe to say that the problem lays further down at the bottom of the funnel.
Keep a careful track of your audition calls. You need to be aware of:
- How many calls you are having
- How many of your prospects are ready to buy now
- How many are just not the right fit for your firm
- How many you need to nurture so that they buy at a later date. I see many accounting and bookkeeping firm owners forget this and allow warm leads to go cold, thus wasting opportunities and losing business.
If nine of ten of your audition calls are with customers who aren’t a good fit for your business, your marketing message isn’t reaching the right audience.
However, if you’re getting great leads but failing to book those sales calls, then you’re not making the right first impression. It could be that you’re too focused on selling, and failing to actually listen to your prospects. An audition call isn’t one-sided; you need to focus on getting to know your prospect better to see whether or not they’re a good fit for your business.
Audition calls help you to identify clients who are ready to buy. These prospects may not be ready to buy from you specifically, but in general they are prepared to move forward with an accountant, bookkeeper or outsourced CFO. A sales call is your opportunity to demonstrate why it should be you instead of somebody else.
If you’re failing to convert in sales calls, you need to take a look at how you demonstrate value to your prospective clients. How do you show them that you’re VITAL to their business?
You may also need to look at improving your sales skills, your offer or the way that you demonstrate value prior to the sales conversation. Value-packed content can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you and help you to passively build relationships with your prospects.
In addition, you should ask yourself: where is your focus during these sales calls? Are you thinking about yourself and showing off, or are you focused on helping your prospects solve problems and transform their businesses?
It’s also worth analysing the quality of clients you convert during your sales calls. Are you attracting the clients you need to grow a hyper-profitable firm? Or are you saying “yes” to the dreaded vampire clients who leave you overworked, underpaid and exhausted?
During a sales call, you need to “play detective” and work out whether your prospect is a good fit for you. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to the wrong clients – in fact, your willingness to do so helps to redistribute the power balance in the situation. If a client knows that you might say “no,” the call becomes less about you trying to sign them and more about what they can do to convince you that working together is the right move.
It Pays to Keep On Top of the Numbers
Analysing your sales funnel data once isn’t enough; these are metrics you need to keep on top of throughout your journey as a firm owner. You need to be aware of any changes within your sales funnel so that you can either leverage them for growth, or put out fires before they start.
Knowledge is power. If you want to stop being bled dry by vampire clients and grow your practice by attracting the “radiator” clients who fill you with warmth, you need to get clear on your sales funnel data.
These are different numbers than the ones you’re used to working with, but they’re also the actionable ones that will allow you to create a scalable practice. It’s time to stop wondering where your clients are from and gain a clear understanding of your client generation process in order to create the freedom practice you’ve always dreamed of.