3 Important Communications When Landing a Big Fish
Here at Boomer Consulting, we get the opportunity to work with organizations of all sizes. Ranging from small accounting firms and startup technology companies to some of the largest accounting firms and software companies in the world. One thing we’ve learned over the years is that winning the business of a “big fish” account requires a completely different approach. Project management, communication and teamwork are essential. In this article, I will share with you the three important communication strategies we’ve learned when landing a large client.
Brainstorm the big picture
A potential client approaches you with a need. After asking this potential client more questions and diving deeper in to their pain points, the first step is to restate everything you heard them say. Next, let them know you’ll bring your team up to speed and come back with the best possible solution for them. Before you start selling them on how well you can fulfill that need, take time with your team to brainstorm the big picture and determine the full spectrum of services you will provide.
If you’ve historically worked with small- or medium-sized businesses, you may have a standard process for acquiring new clients. But if you want to go after sizeable client, you may need to adjust your approach. The big fish you’re trying to land may be a large entity, but it’s composed of hundreds or thousands of individual people, and it’s those people who make the decisions. So think less in terms of tactics and more in terms of what you can do to take an individual, personalized approach.
Contact them with a solid proposal geared toward their particular needs. The revenues from one large client can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. That makes it worth investing more time in an individual, personalized sales pitch.
Establish a cross-functional team
One communication mistake we see firms make quite often is taking a siloed approach to client service. For example, if a partner from the tax department is the one who initially brings the client into the firm, the tax partner remains the main point of contact for that client. However, the client might be better served by talking to someone from in audit, wealth management, client accounting services, business valuation, consulting or another niche area of the firm.
Beginning with the proposal process and continuing well after the engagement letter is signed, firms should take a team approach to landing and servicing all clients – but especially the big fish.
Bringing in the right people will ensure you have the expertise to provide specialized knowledge and insights into specific subjects. This goes both ways – if your firm will be providing services to multiple people from different segments of the client’s organization, those people should be a part of the initial proposal process.
That team shouldn’t just be made up of partners and other senior-level people! Partners may be great at seeing the big picture, but the might not be so good at taking detailed notes of what was discussed at meetings or recognizing all the small details that go into onboarding and servicing a new client. Make sure someone on your team is taking detailed notes, knows all those steps and is prepared to assign them out to the appropriate people.
Of course, you may need to assign a point person for any questions or problems that arise. That’s perfectly fine, but the full sales and client service team should have a strategic mix of subject matter experts selected to best suit the needs of the client. One size doesn’t fit all here.
After the big proposal meeting, through signing the engagement letter and thereafter, it’s crucial to keep your team in the loop.
We give an update at weekly sales and staff meetings to keep everyone in the company updated with what is going on with our big fish clients, and we hold regular meetings where we walk through the project’s details and answer questions. Everyone on the team is invited to these meetings. We err on the side of overcommunicating. These communications are a joint effort between the sales and project management teams so we can make sure we can deliver what was promised.
A large client can give your firm a significant amount of business, so make sure you dedicate the resources to provide them with a lot of individual attention during the sales phase and after they become a client. The competition is fierce, but with the right mindset, strategic action and a focus on effective communication, you can and will land your big fish.
As a Solutions Advisor for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Megan works to provide the highest level of client service to existing and new clients through building and maintaining relationships. Her primary focus is on Vendor/Sponsor relationships and she is the Boomer Technolgy Circle, the Boomer Advisor Circle, and the Boomer Lean Circle sponsor program lead. Megan is passionate about helping clients excel through Boomer Consulting Services.