CHICAGO, Nov. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- One North, a digital agency, released new strategic research highlighting key aspects of how professional services get purchased by key decision makers. In conjunction with Greentarget Global Group, One North surveyed key decision makers at some of the largest companies across the U.S. to identify what criteria they use to evaluate and hire professional services firms.
64 percent of the hiring companies ranked "results" as the most important attribute they look for when making a decision to hire a professional services firm. "If you come in and tell me how many cases you've handled like this, or how many projects you've done that are similar, I'm not impressed. How many of those cases did you actually win?" noted one survey respondent. "You also don't get credit for claiming you have done hundreds of data analytics projects for Fortune 500 companies, but you can't answer how many you completed and how many were under budget." The report showed professional services firms vying for new business must have a solid professional reputation, both at the firm and individual level, with a relationship-based approach that focuses on the long game. Providing specific results, industry insights and value-adds, like thought leadership, drives differentiation in the mind of the professional services buyer. Websites, conference presentations and whitepapers were noted as providing value in the buying process. "The research reveals some broader implications of how decision-makers think about the buying process," said One North CEO John Simpson. "Professional services marketers need to consider not only the company brand and its story, but the personal brands of its talent pool and how those narratives fit together." The research discounts some traditional methods of new business acquisition. "A professional services firm that relies on advertising or cold calling to attract new business probably has a static client roster. Digital tools give the self-directed buyer immediate access to valuable content, experience information and professional details. As a result, in-person meetings don't need to focus so heavily on this background detail, and instead should be focused on how the professional services firms can help the prospective client solve the problem at hand," remarked Simpson.