Website Blog Banner
Communication Strategy Industry Insights

Elevating Client Relationships Through Strategic Communications in Professional Services

13 July 2023 by Max Forsyth


Gender Pay Gap

Does anyone remember what year PwC first published its gender pay gap analysis? Our Managing Director, Max Forsyth, had coffee last week with a senior communications professional who reminded him of the analysis's positive impact on pay across the professional services industry, strengthening PwC's client relationships and reputation and ultimately winning more business.

Achieving successful results for clients while making a profit is at the heart and brains of every professional services firm and its leadership team, and the communications campaign that accompanied PwC's analysis delivered the blood and oxygen needed in abundance.

How Communications Engages Clients

In the professional services industry, client relationships are everything. Building and maintaining strong relationships leads to repeat business, referrals, and a solid reputation. Medium and large firms spend millions on BD and marketing teams in pay, advertising campaigns, paid SEO, and marketing automation. Yet most spend much less on their communications teams.

Why? Studies and research consistently show that the top reasons clients buy from a firm are existing relationships, network referrals, reputation, and specialist expertise.

This is where communications teams come to the fore. They design and execute "soft" communication strategies, prioritising transparency, regular updates, and personalisation. They facilitate open dialogues, manage client expectations, and ensure the firm's expertise and value are communicated. They directly help you "sell" to clients' top buying reasons.

Doing so enhances client trust, fosters loyalty, and helps the firm become a trusted advisor rather than just a service provider. Thus, through effective communication, professional services firms can significantly enhance their growth trajectory and reinforce their vision and mission.

Measuring Communications ROI

But it is hard to measure. The thought leadership report the PR team get coverage of in the FT that the MD of a client reads on a Sunday morning and then fills in the contact form on your website on a Monday morning after Googling your firm's name to find your site. The marketing team will mark that lead as theirs, the source being Google. But the head wasn't Google.

"Oh, but we have a drop box on our contact form so the client can tell us where they heard about us from." Please, most people only fill this in if you make it mandatory, and even then, Google wins typically because it's the last place they visited before your website.

2014 was the year. Nine years on, PwC continue to win work off the back of the gender pay gap analysis, and every other major professional services firm now releases an annual gender pay gap report.

Do you think your Communications Team is Strong enough?

As executive committee members or Managing Partners of firms, take a moment to reflect on what you spend on your communications teams. Are you spending enough? Investing in marketing technology and paid advertising should take precedence.

Your money is better spent elsewhere. Let Comms Search & Selection show you how to structure and recruit a cost-effective communications function that elevates your client's relationships, enhances your reputation and sets you apart from your competitors.

Please look at how our CommsSearch Lite solution provides you with the industry knowledge of a traditional executive search firm but at a fraction of the cost. You also get real-time visibility of the recruitment process with a GDPR-compliant dashboard, and you can view candidate profiles, executive briefs, videos, ratings, stages, statuses and Right to Work documents in real-time.

​Comms Search & Selection specialises in executive search and recruitment for the in-house communications industry, serving clients in the UK and the USA. We expertly fill roles from Manager to C-Suite in corporate communications, public relations, internal communications, digital transformation, investor relations, and content strategy. Catering to diverse sectors, including Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 companies and financial and professional services firms, we're the go-to search and recruitment agency for seeking top communications talent. Contact us to secure the industry's best.