Monday, November 5, 2012

Still More Helpful White Papers

Consultants are expected to be founts of information and insight, a role I relish as a compulsive researcher. I use this blog to share some of what I learn along the way and hope that it helps others. In terms of sources, I particularly enjoy discovering free white papers and ebooks that delve a little deeper into the latest research or best practices in areas of interest to me and my clients. And periodically I point you to some of my favorites.

This time, in addition to a brief summary and link to each white paper or ebook, I'm passing along a favorite quote from each document:

"If salespeople aren't succeeding in a recession, it's because they're doing the wrong things. Increasing their activity levels so that they do even more of the wrong things isn't going to help."

Strategies for Hard Times. So true, and yet that's precisely what I'm seeing most A/E firms doing. Rather than rethinking their BD approach, they're stepping up activity in tactics that never were all that effective but delivered passable results in the midst of record industry growth. Perhaps this white paper will challenge you to consider what changes are necessary for the current times. Download  

"Excellence has never been achieved by benchmarking against a median. In order to rise to the top, firms benefit from examining leaders. How did they become top performers?"

— Clarity: Architecture and Engineering Industry Report. There is certainly value in benchmarking against the norm in your industry. But firms often merely settle for the median, which defines mediocrity. This annual industry survey from the folks at Deltek is a valuable read for anyone in the A/E profession. Download 

"Why are firms that generate a higher percentage of online leads more profitable? Our data does not provide a definitive answer, but one explanation is that over the long term, online marketing simply costs less than traditional marketing."

— Online Marketing for Professional Service Firms. As this excellent ebook from Hinge  demonstrates, firms that market online are generally more successful overall. Hinge's research also indicates that A/E firms trail other professional service sectors in the use of online marketing. What about your firm? This ebook is a must-have resource. Download

"The key to successful email marketing content is providing your readers with knowledge and insight and then teaching them how to apply whatever information you have to share."

— 7 Steps to Jump-Start Your Email Marketing Strategy. Marketing studies show that printed material is quickly losing favor to electronic delivery. I prefer email newsletters for two main reasons: (1) you can use other people's content via links, vastly expanding your available content, and (2) what you send is easily forwarded to others, expanding your reach. This ebook is one of many helpful ones by inbound marketing experts HubSpot. Download 

"In a recent study, Bain and Company asked 362 companies if they believed they offered superior value and a superior experience to their clients. While 80% of them believed they did, only 8% of these companies' customers agreed with them."

— Five Drivers of Revenue Growth for Professional Service Firms. Firms embroiled in just trying to return revenue growth to pre-recession levels may find it impossible to aspire for even better results. But the key to success still lies within the organization, not in the marketplace (for proof, check out Jim Collins' latest book Great by Choice). This ebook is another collaboration of consultants Schultz and Doerr, and can help you refine your strategy for financial growth. Download

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