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
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
- 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.
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!
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
- 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
- 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
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.
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!