"So if you want to hire outside resources to help you solve a business problem... get them in the boat with you so that you’re all accountable for creating value."
Today Janel forwarded me a Forbes.com piece, "Why Consultants Should be Accountable for Results, Not Recommendations." It reminded me of many of the lessons I've learned over the years -- most importantly, that clients hire us and most importantly, re-hire us for results.
As outside service providers, we are often in a position of giving marketing and public relations advice, but ultimately, our recommendations don't alone create tangible benefits. The results side of the equation comes from our process and our ability to form close client relationships and a wide media network. This includes the plans we develop, the ideas and pitches we create and at the end of the day, our ability to connect with media to provide angles of interest.
Our results-based process starts with the end result in mind before we're even hired. We ask potential clients about the results they'd like to see, and assess whether or not we can serve them based on their vision, quality, and reach (i.e., distribution). And we try to make absolutely sure that the client is committed and ready to be communicative because ultimately, we can not serve a client who is not "in the boat" with us.
If we proceed with a proposal and are hired, we focus on blending creative pitching with results -- measured by performance to plan goals in the form of monthly report metrics including pitches, samples sent and articles generated. PR can be a gray area and there is more to our value-add than numbers, but at the end of the day, the ultimate measure is... Did sales increase?
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