The professional services marketplace is changing. Firms are realizing that engaging and collaborating virtually is not only possible, it’s essential as a key driver of business growth. They have started adapting to the extreme shift toward remote work and are developing a stronger understanding of digital communication tools and strategies.
For over 10 years, Hinge has practiced digital strategies geared toward engaging our clients, prospects and employees alike—wherever they live and work. And many of the internal and external methodologies are the same.
More-engaged employees are happier employees. So it’s no surprise that happy employees lead to higher talent retention rates. When you provide your employees powerful and easy-to-use digital tools, you equip them to succeed.
Keeping your team abreast of the myriad digital tools and systems they will use is critical to firm growth and employee engagement. Here at Hinge, our teams develop training classes and courses on an ongoing basis. These classes allow us to cross functionally train employees and expose them to new skills and knowledge. According to our Employer Branding Study, professional development is the third most important criteria (after salary and cultural fit) to job seekers.
Employees who focus on developing their own personal brands are more engaged. In fact, our Employer Brand Study found that many job seekers in professional services want to contribute to their firms’ success, be acknowledged for their efforts and have meaningful growth potential. Personal branding—what we call Visible Expertise®—is a fantastic way to achieve multiple business goals.
It’s critical to have solid digital tools and systems to support your employees. For example, a cloud-based system allows your team to quickly and easily access files from any geographical location. Tools like shared documents, calendars, email and video conferencing allow for clear communication and collaboration in real time.
Until recently, many professional services firms have been able to rely on face-to-face interactions with prospects at trade shows, conferences and networking events to develop new business. But with the arrival of COVID-19 all that has changed—and we may never entirely go back to the way things were done before. To increase engagement and drive new business in a virtual world, you have to embrace digital models. Below are some digital tools your firm can use to engage prospects and clients through consistent communication and expertise.
High Performance Website
Your website is undoubtedly your most important digital communication tool. Almost every prospect will visit it at some point during the business development process, and if it doesn’t pass muster it can be the biggest reason you get eliminated as a potential service provider. Your website should be optimized for search engines and have strong brand messaging that demonstrates your expertise. In addition, it should have a modern design and intuitive, user-friendly navigation to keep visitors engaged and minimize frustration.
Publish content like blog posts, guides and whitepapers on your website. Digital content allows you to demonstrate expertise through thought leadership. This content will attract traffic to your website and increase your visibility to potential prospects. It is also an effective way to convert visitors into leads.
Social Media Platforms
If you’re not already, now is the time to get serious about social media as a digital engagement tool. As with traditional networking, success in social media takes time and commitment. Different platforms are ideal for different audiences, so be sure you understand your target audiences before committing to one or more platforms.
Which social media network is number one for professional service firms? It’s LinkedIn. So, if you’re a social media novice and looking for a place to start, invest your time in building up connections and visibility here.
Like many professional services firms, Hinge has clients all over the world. As a result, video conference calls are part of our standard operating procedures. Video conferencing not only allows you to present and collaborate with clients virtually, it’s a visual way to bring your interpersonal communication to life.
A client portal can be a highly valuable resource. Not only can you fill it with all types of digital content, it can be the central hub for all documents and deliverables related to your work with them. From project schedules and invoice documentation to presentations and educational content, a client portal is a digital one stop shop.
In this post, I’ve shared some of the most common resources firms are using to cope with today’s crisis and prepare for the transformed work environment that is likely to emerge from it. What are you doing to make the most of the digital opportunities available to you?