I am well known for encouraging professional service firm marketers and management leaders to do better at looking outside of their personal and professional confines, to truly embrace an outside-in mindset about marketing and growing their firm.
This is hard to do. We humans are instinctively interested in what we ourselves think, feel, know, or want to know. We are inside-out people. But it's a competitive imperative to continuously resist this natural trend. The firms that can exhibit and act on "Outside-In" thinking are the ones that acquire, retain, and grow their business with the best clients.
A new study, just published in the July /August, 2006 issue of Consulting Magazine, corroborates this principle. This time, the platform is web site ratings for firms in four sectors -- management consulting, IT services, accounting and law. Take a look at the link to the study (and embedded PDF from Consulting Magazine's article Download 9A_Canon_6020_Exchange_08082006-055705.pdf ) to see what Edwin Hastings and Bob Buday (The Bloom Group) have to tell us about how professional firms stack up against each other in the lead-generation effectiveness of their web sites. (Is your firm rated? Even some great firms' web sites fared poorly in Hastings and Buday's web site analyses.)
Even though Hastings and Buday evaluated the websites of only the largest firms, their points are applicable to professional firms of any size. Their criteria for rating each firm's web site are firmly grounded in the "Outside-In" theory.
If you're not thinking "Outside-In" about the way your potential buyers seek information about your firm and how they use your website to make buying decisions, you'd better get cracking.