CRM for Accounting
To remain competitive, accounting firms must identify strategies that maximize revenue opportunities among both new and existing accounts.
Many people think of CRM systems as a way to build existing customer relationships, but a well-implemented CRM application can drastically enhance sales performance and boost revenue.
Consistent revenue growth can feel like a moving target. Few accountants consider themselves “sellers,” so their natural tendency is to focus on providing high-quality services to existing accounts. New business development gets de-prioritized and pushed to the back burner in order to address pressing client issues. However, to consistently grow top line revenue, firms must consistently market to, sell to, and win business at new accounts.
We work with 8 of the 12 top U.S. accounting firms.
By providing all customer-facing employees with a more comprehensive view of revenue opportunities, CRM systems can equip accounting firms with the resources they need to acquire new clients and more effectively pull revenue that exists within their current client base.
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Key Considerations for CRM for Accounting
Key Account Management
Some accounting firms designate specific clients or prospects as “key accounts.” These can be current clients that are important revenue sources (or have high revenue potential) or prospects that are viewed as strategic. These can be tied to particular industries or geographies as well. Typically, there is a key account management process or client team that owns the interactions with these accounts across multiple partners or service lines, ensuring positive relationship growth. Housing key account planning in CRM allows firms to better manage clients holistically. Oftentimes, we see multiple partners from different service lines (tax, audit, etc.) who all maintain relationships with different contacts and referral partners at the client, but there is no “single view” of the client and no visibility as to what the customer is using the firm for and/or what areas are opportunistic. This leads to potentially competing or confusing bids for partners of the same firm.
White Space Reporting
For key accounts, it is important to know what services are and are not being purchased as well as the actual spend by clients per service. White space reporting in CRM allows for this visibility and enables cross-selling/upselling. While this data will likely live in an ERP or Time and Billing system, it is more consumable and actionable in CRM. However, thoughtfully consider the business case for integrating each piece of data with CRM instead of painting with broad brush strokes.
Accounting firms will do a lot of traditional marketing that requires lists, including email blasts, mailings, and a variety of events for acquiring business (often educational seminars). One major collaboration point between accounting partners and Marketing is in creating event and other campaign marketing lists. This can be a huge pain point for accounting partners because it is oftentimes manual and challenging to track which partners added which contacts to which list. The key is making marketing lists easy to generate and easy to update, whether you’re sending invitations or thought leadership.