If you’re in the professional services space, you’ve no doubt felt the pressure to integrate digital components into what you offer. Even if you resisted “going digital” before, the cosmic ground shift of 2020 likely forced you to consider what elements of your services can be delivered in digital ways. How can what you do — that is so personal, so dependent on high-touch, human interactions and long-term relationship building — be enhanced by on-demand digital elements?
Professional services industries are embracing what’s been called the “SaaSification” of what they offer. The term SaaS refers to software-as-a-service. Today it is often equated with offering services as a digital subscription model or through digital enhancements that don’t rely on personal interactions.
Law firms, insurance providers, tax specialists and marketing agencies are at the forefront of this transition in professional services. But what separates a successful digital transformation from a failed one? Often, it’s the branding and, more specifically, the brand promise. In short, simply adding a digital component to what you do can sabotage your long standing brand.
In our resource guide Professional Services Branding & the Great (SaaS) Migration, we explain this paradigm and how to overcome it:
Professional services are built on high-touch, human interactions while SaaS promises on-demand, tech-driven convenience. Those are two vastly different brand promises. Whether your professional services firm has merely dipped its toe in or has submerged itself fully into the SaaS pool, heed this: It’s time to take a close, hard look at the effect it has on your brand.
A real-world example from our guide centers around a large employment law firm. The firm realized that the proprietary data it kept could be turned into use-case platforms to help clients predict legal trends and, likely, case outcomes. Suddenly, thanks to the magic of data transformation, the firm’s traditional services could be offered up as a digital service. But instead of initially developing a roadmap of aligning the two formats, the digital services were added piecemeal and branded distinctly. Before long, the law firm’s brand portfolio had spiraled out of control with confusing offerings and conflicting messages.
Professional services and SaaS are fundamentally different. Your marketing team may be a well-oiled machine when it comes to the more relationship-driven services sales cycle, but SaaS marketing doesn’t always require the same strategies or follow the same timeline. The foundations of relationships, loyalty, and expertise give way to the convenience and ease of getting certain elements of professional services without needing to correspond with a human being. Because of this, SaaS marketing requires different messaging and needs to accomplish its goals quickly and without dependency on the charms of any individual sales rep.
How do you market the two differently but cohesively? How do you marry them under one brand (or do you)? We answer those questions and more in our guide Professional Services Branding & the Great (SaaS) Migration. Download it today for a roadmap to bring your professional services into the future without undermining your brand promise.