Business Development Transformation: Professional Services Firm
- A large professional services firm recognised it was not optimising the fees it could earn from clients because it went to market in service-line verticals which acted as ‘silos.’
- It recognised the need for senior managers, directors and partners to be aware of the firm’s full breadth of offerings not just those based locally. It recognised their need to identify the opportunity for and sell the delivery of, these to new and existing clients through improved selling skills and cross-functional working.
This engagement, based at one of the firm’s regional offices, had the following objectives:
- Win the buy-in of partners, directors and senior managers to recognise their need to undertake business development activities, and not to see them as a distraction to achieving high utilisation and billability within their service lines.
- Develop a go-to-market strategy for the regional office, with knowledge management, bid support and sales pipeline forecasting & management systems.
- Quickly visited the firm’s main offices and met service line heads to gain subject matter expertise; catalogue the full range of capabilities and identified unique selling points to differentiate the firm from local competitors. Organised summaries of these to be available locally and communicated them through lunchtime team briefings backed by the partners.
- Developed priority target clients. Mapped business demographics against key financial KPIs; identified key media, clusters and networks across the region. Sought the advice of a well-known firm of surveyors on how the region would likely evolve over the coming five years.
- Arranged joint visits to prospects, bringing in senior managers, directors and partners from local and remote offices, leading by example to demonstrate consultative selling and prove that fee value could be increased by identifying cross-functional opportunities. Supported the teams to prepare and submit high quality bids.
- Built partnerships with firms in non-competing professions to assist in the sharing of best practices for business development, and help strengthen regional penetration.
- Implemented a CRM system setting out the sales cycle, used to record prospects and business development activity.
- Coached senior managers and directors in target identification, cold contacting, consultative selling, bid development & presentation, and use of CRM, assisting their preparation for partner-track assessment centres. Held lunchtime workshops, working to prepare cross-functional teams in advance and using them as show cases to celebrate the success of winning cross-functional bids.
- Created a sustainable legacy of accessible summaries of firm-wide capabilities; a 5-year regional targeting strategy and engagement plan; a well-defined sales process and CRM system; an engaged management group equipped with toolkits to assist cross-functional consultative selling and bids; and the skills to train up-coming managers to use them.
- Improved the success rate of bids from 40% to 60%, through improved capture of client needs and presentation of solutions with a differentiating edge.
- Increased bid value by delivering audit, tax, private client, consulting and corporate finance solutions as opposed to just one or two of these services. This led to decisive positive buy-in across the office.
- Delivered the first ever public sector win for this regional office, a £220k piece of work.