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The Boomer Bulletin - 2012
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Increase Firm Revenue Organically

Posted By Eric Hunt, Monday, October 15, 2012

According to Accounting Today’s annual "Top 100 Report”, the Top 100 largest firms grew by a total of 7.89% in 2011.  This comes after 2 years of declining revenues.  How did your firm perform in 2011?  How is trending in 2012?  Some of those numbers can be attributed to mergers and acquisitions, but many firms were able to grow organically as well.  Growing the firm without the use of M&A is an important component to firm health.  Here are ways your firm can increase revenue organically.

Build a Business Development Plan
The very first thing your firm needs to do to increase revenue is to build a one-page plan of action.  Your firm needs a business development plan for the same reasons it needs an overall strategic plan…organization and accountability.  You can’t expect to grow revenues if you don’t have a plan to support your growth goals.  My tips for a successful plan are: 

  • Make sure you address new client acquisition, current client retention, selling strategies for current services and ideas for new services.  
  • Work diligently to keep the plan simple and to have someone responsible for each item on the plan. This increases accountability and improves the likelihood of goals being met.
  • Follow-up regularly to ensure items are on track to being completed.  Flexibility and being open to adjustments are important for firms during these follow-up sessions as you will need to address issues and changes as the year goes on.

The business development plan represents the foundation for the firm’s revenue growth.Ensure that enough time is dedicated to the process.  

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
One of the best ways to increase revenues is by utilizing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.  Many firms still use excel spreadsheets with contact info and many others have separate contact lists for each partner or department.  Utilizing a CRM system allows firms to better organize and focus on revenue opportunities due to efficiencies gained.  

If your firm already has a CRM system in place, continue to keep the data clean, train your team to use it properly and track your important interactions with clients and prospects.  If your firm is looking to implement a CRM system, or if you are new to the idea of it, feel free to download a free copy of The e-Guide to Implementing CRM in Your Firm.  Keep in mind that choosing, implementing and utilizing a CRM system properly is not an easy task.  As with any new software, growing pains, culture change and push-back can be experienced.  Used properly, a CRM system is one of the best ways to increase revenue and decrease lost opportunities!

Train Your Team 
Training in all areas of the firm is important and in business development it is no different.  Many people have trouble "selling” and hope that the firm’s rainmakers will bring in the business.  Help your team understand they don’t have to be rainmakers to increase revenues.  Some areas where training can make a difference to the entire team are:  

  • CRM - Train your team on how to properly track conversations with clients and prospects so that action can be taken if needed.  
  • Your services - Every team member should be well-versed in your firm’s services so they have the ability to talk about them with confidence when the opportunity arises.  
  • Referrals - Do your team members know how to ask for referrals and listen for referral opportunities?  Don’t take this for granted.  Teach them to identify opportunities for referrals and how to take that referral to the next stage.  
  • Sales basics - Develop a basic sales training session in house or go to an outside source if needed.  Providing even basic sales training to your team members will help to build confidence as they interact with clients and prospects.

The value of training is rarely in question, but too many firms focus on the CPE and technical side of it.  Taking the time to work on some basic sales training can pay huge dividends in the long run.

Look at Outside Assistance
Great firms often look to the outside for assistance in areas they aren’t experts in.  Sales, marketing and niche development are three areas firms can find exceptional companies right in our own industry.  Some of the top companies assisting our industry in these areas and ones that I regularly recommend are: 

Even if you have in-house experts, these outside sources specialize in helping top firms become even better in their business development areas.  Don’t be afraid to take a look at how they can assist.    

In Closing
The best firms in our industry utilize some if not all of these items.  This is not a complete list, by any means, but they are four areas I have seen that have the best long-term impact on organic revenue growth.  Start with the overall business development plan as the foundation and integrate the other areas to create a positive effect on revenue! 

Tags:  business development  revenue generation 

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