Beating the Billable Hours Behemoth

Beating the Billable Hours Behemoth

My heart goes out to those professional services marketing mangers who are constantly having to cajole partners in their firm to contribute something to the company blog.


“I’m tasked with hitting my billable hours, not writing window dressing for the website” goes the standard rebuttal.


And if you live or die in a business environment where hitting your billable hours is the key management measurement metric, who can blame them?


So here’s some ammunition for the beleaguered marketing managers trying to get bloggish blood from a disinterested partner stone.


(And food for thought for those partners finding themselves struggling to find hours to bill under the billable-hours cosh.)


Next time a partner recoils at the thought of writing something for the website, try engaging them on why their longest-standing, highest-billing clients continue to bring them business personally – even when they switch firms.


Penny to a pound they’ll tell you that it’s “all down to personal relationship”, underpinned with professional competence, of course.


But professional competence abounds in most consulting companies anyway (or at least, it ought to).


So what separates one advisor from another within an advisory business when a client is looking for help from a particular firm?


Wouldn’t it be great for the advisor’s billable hours if rather than just looking to work with their firm, potential clients specifically asked to work with them in particular?


So here’s the thing:


Blogging doesn’t just raise your company’s profile: it also raises your personal profile too


Your senior execs don’t need to take my word for it, either.


Not so long back, LinkedIn and global comms agency Edelman did a survey of C Suite execs, asking them when they consumed thought leadership, why, and what they did next.


The details are here: Thought Leadership Impact Study | LinkedIn & Edelman


In many instances, the C Suite use thought leadership not just to assess the company that they might appoint but to assess the individual consultant they wanted to work with.


BigCo Consulting may well have 1,000 partners in every continent, but what the C Suite really want to know about is “Who will be advising me?”


“What do they know about my business?”


“What expertise can they bring to bear to my particular challenge?”


I’ve heard one senior partner at a major consulting house dismiss thought leadership content as “mere vanity publishing”.


But for the savvy advisor, it’s actually the first step in establishing a personal client relationship that is based on provenance of that advisor’s individual expertise.


And as they’ve already conceded: personal relationship = billable hours.


And how does an adviser make sure those prospective clients know to ask to work with that particular advisor by name?


Well maybe writing thought leadership posts for your company website isn’t window-dressing after all…


If you want help conducting a business survey to give your colleagues some fresh insights to blog about, please get in touch via the email below.


Simon Hayhurst

[email protected]

June 2021

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