Motivating Partners

By Jean Marie Caragher, President, Capstone Marketing

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Capstone Marketing recently conducted an online survey that was completed by 34 CPA firm managing partners.  When asked, “Other than ‘lack of time’ what is your greatest challenge in marketing your firm?” 35 percent responded, “Motivating partners to be more active marketers.”  Here are a few suggestions to help your partners become more involved in your firm’s marketing efforts.

Jean Marie Caragher, president of Marietta, Ga.-based Capstone Marketing offers suggestions to help partners become more involved in a firm’s marketing efforts.

Establish your firm’s mission, vision, and goals.  Your partners are more likely to become excited about your marketing program when they know what they are working towards.  Continually educate them about the role marketing plays in goal achievement.

Set expectations.  Each partner must have a clear understanding of how he is expected to participate in your firm’s marketing program.  When developing your marketing plan capitalize on their strengths.  Also, personal marketing plans can be very effective in identifying marketing activities and monitoring progress.

Provide training and mentoring.  CPA firms are doing an abysmal job in providing marketing and sales training to their partners and staff.  Providing targeted, ongoing training will give your firm a competitive advantage as well as improve the skills and effectiveness of your people.  Managing partners and marketing professionals should allocate time to mentor partners in specific marketing opportunities.

Keep partners accountable.  When asked about how their firm’s partners are held accountable for their marketing activities 35 percent of Capstone Marketing’s online survey respondents revealed that their partners are not held accountable, 26 percent monetarily reward partners for marketing activities, and 29 percent reduce partner compensation and bonuses for a lack of marketing activities.  It is extremely difficult to change behavior when there are no serious consequences!  Consider developing an accountability mechanism with teeth.

Communicate success.  By promoting your firm’s marketing success your partners will naturally want to be a part of it.  Also, peer pressure can go a long way towards getting your partners to become more active marketers.