The rise of online search tools used by buyers of consulting services
A recent survey by Hinge Research was conducted with the aim to understand the process by which purchasers engaged consultants and experts („Finding Experts: Why & how clients seek visible experts“). The survey of 1,028 buyers of professional services has shown that more than 30% of buyers use online search for finding alternative consulting firms. Online techniques used by client organizations and buyers of consulting services include search engines (e.g. Google, Bing), LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media like Facebook.
Cumulatively, online techniques have eclipsed more traditional methods of finding consultants. The diversity and accessibility of information online has made tools such as online search, portals and digital consulting platforms increasingly fundamental.
How do client organizations evaluate prospective consulting firms?
According to the mentioned study, prospective buyers evaluate service providers in much the same way as buyers search for experts: A provider’s website was buyers’ most common source of information; friends and colleagues, online search and social media, and formal references played important roles as well.
Online marketing is more widely used by consulting firms - online visibility is fundamental
Web applications that make everyone's life easier are increasingly finding their way into the professional environment of B2B markets. Signs of this development is for example reflected in the growth of online services such as LinkedIn: Since 2009 the member base of LinkedIn saw a tenfold increase. The consulting industry does not make an exception, the same forces that counted for the growth of social media are starting to reshape the world of consulting: consulting companies use online marketing channels to bolster their brands and reputation and to drive sales. And their right, because expertise is projected through multiple channels. On average, buyers use approximately 5 techniques to find consultants and experts. Online, search engine visibility and presence on social media are all important.
Online marketing provides new possibilities to project a consulting firm's expertise and reputation
Using the right online channels consulting firms can reach a much wider target audience than with traditional marketing instruments. Through the emergence of new online channels, consulting firms have new ways to communicate with prospective clients through targeted advertising - overcoming the barries of time zones, geography and lack of access to remote services. Online marketing channels create touchpoints where clients interact with consulting firms to seek out visible expertise: the internet.
Credibility of information and reputation for quality are important deciding factors
Whether clients search online, visit a consultant's website or utilize other portals, the web only provides limited information about the quality of a consultant. High-quality starts with accurate, up-to-date and reliable data.
consultingsearcher®, the premium digital platform for searching and screening prospective consulting firms, provides maximum level of reliability for clients which search for consultants online.
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