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The Boomer Bulletin - 2014
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If Your Firm Isn’t Selling, It’s Dying!

Posted By Eric Hunt, Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, March 18, 2014

We have all heard the saying, that "if you aren’t growing, you’re dying”. In business, you can look at this a number of ways from revenue growth to training. Taking this popular saying a step further, I would like to challenge firm owners to think differently by saying "if we aren’t selling, we’re dying”. This idea comes from the thought that firms must focus on growing current clients and also bringing in new revenue. At Boomer Consulting we use a tool called "The No-Growth Model” and it shows what happens when firm owners become complacent in driving sales and revenue growth. No sales growth can have disastrous effects on the firm, partner incomes and the future. The following model shows what will happen in a no-growth firm to partner income over a period of 3 years.

 Metric

  Current Year  

 Year 1

 Year 2

 Year 3

 Revenue - 0%

 $10,000,000  

 $10,000,000  

 $10,000,000  

 $10,000,000  

 Labor & Overhead - 5%

 $7,000,000  

 $7,350,000  

 $7,717,500  

 $8,103,375  

 Net before Partner Salaries  

 $3,000,000  

 $2,650,000  

 $2,282,500  

 $1,896,625  

 # of Partners

 10  

 10  

 10  

 10  

 Avg. Income per Partner

 $300,000  

 $265,000  

 $228,250  

 $189,663  

 Percentage Loss

 

 -12%  

 -14%  

 -17%  

As crazy as it sounds, many firms still don’t have sales as a priority.  Everyone talks about growth as a priority, but many still don’t put action behind thoughts.  How do firms start "selling” more intentionally to avoid a no-growth firm? 

  • First and foremost, build out a Strategic Business Development Plan

  • Stop relying only on your rainmakers to bring in business.  Everyone plays a part!

  • Consider a balanced scorecard approach to compensation that rewards brining in new business.  Read more about it here:  Boomer Guide to Partner Compensation

  • Get sales training for your team.  Start with the Partners and work your way down.  A great resource for CPA firm’s is The Rainmaker Academy

  • Invest in or upgrade your Customer Relationship System (CRM) and make sure your team uses it.  There are many great options available today and most CRM companies have robust training modules available.  In the long run, the extra expense of training is well worth it.

  • Document your firm’s sales process.  This may take some work as many firms don’t have a single process, but several based on which Partner is selling.  Putting it in writing will help everyone follow a standard process. 

  • Hire a Business Development Director.  I recommend hiring this position from outside your firm and even outside the profession.  Find a professional and experienced person that can help drive the sales process and accountability for the team. 

  • Openly communicate responsibilities, expectations and sales progress to the entire team.  Keeping everyone updated on their roles and the overall progress will help drive home the importance of everyone selling. 

According to Accounting Today’s 2014 Top 100  issue, there have been 3 straight years of overall growth for Top 100.  That is a great sign for sure, but not every firm in our profession is a Top 100 firm and not all of them are growing.  Many of the larger firms we work with have many of the bullet points covered from the above list.  I would argue that your firm doesn’t need to be a large firm to implement many if not all of the suggestions.  Growing your sales is the single most important thing you can do for your firm’s current and future health.  To modify a line from the classic movie, The Shawshank Redemption…your firm needs to "get busy selling, or get busy dying!”

If you have questions or would like any additional resources to help your firm in the area of business development, please contact me directly at 785-537-2358 or eric.hunt@boomer.com.  

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