3 Crucial Functions of a Business Development Team
Recently, a leader at a firm with nearly 200 professionals asked me about the typical number of sales and marketing FTEs for a firm their size. My response, based on conversations about business development with firms around the country: at least five to ten. The firm leader was surprised, as their firm currently has only one part-time person dedicated to business development. With so few resources devoted to the role, it’s easy to see why the firm was struggling to achieve the results they were looking for in this area.
For years, many firms have relied on the “rainmaking” abilities of one or more partners and drummed up new business by attending networking luncheons, sponsoring local events and hosting seminars at their offices. A natural aptitude for sales and involvement in your community are an excellent start and likely contributed to your firm’s success thus far. However, they won’t take your firm to the next level of growth or differentiate your firm from others using the same tactics.
Still, many firm leaders wonder, if they expand their business development team, what will the team do all day? So I thought I’d share why business development is so important and the roles an integrated sales and marketing team can take on in your firm when they are in sync with their messaging and target clientele.
In most firms, a good chunk of strategic planning is based around business development. Your business development team should be the main driver of updating the rest of the firm on the status of those efforts and helping to meet those goals.
At Boomer Consulting, Inc., our business development team meets quarterly – on our own and with the rest of the company – to do just that. Regular status updates and accountability helps us refocus on the goals we established during our annual strategic planning retreat so we don’t lose sight of the target and can change course when our efforts aren’t producing the desired results.
Being clear on where your firm wants to go, ensuring you’re on the right path, and pursuing it with focus will help your firm be even more successful.
One primary responsibility of your sales team, in particular, should be ensuring communications between team members and potential new clients (or new services for existing clients) are flowing. This includes providing information to the right team members and gathering feedback from clients.
A great CRM system can help in this area, but it’s not a replacement for sales professionals who are adept at quarterbacking these conversations and managing the process of bringing in new business and following up with current clients to cross-sell services.
Building and maintaining relationships
It’s a lot easier to have sales conversations with people with whom you’ve built a relationship. As a main driver of your business, your sales and marketing teams should be going to events in your target niches and visiting clients on-site to not only build and maintain relationships but to help dive deeper into how your firm can help clients overcome challenges and meet their goals.
When you build relationships and create value for new and existing clients, sales doesn’t really seem like sales from the client’s perspective. Your firm is just helping them solve a problem they already had.
Increased competition, greater disruption from technology, and changing client expectations have changed the way clients purchase professional services such as accounting, tax, advisory and consulting, so your firm needs to take a new approach to business development. Dedicating resources to this area can bring new and exciting opportunities to help your firm grow. u’re doing now, but also make you a more valuable member of the team for the future.
Does you firm have a clear Marketing & Business Development strategy?
We can help provide your firm with clarity and understanding so that you can focus on the right objectives at the right time. Schedule a discovery call with one of our Solutions Advisors and get on the path to transforming your firm.