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Building Accountability Into Business Development

by Deanna Perkins, Solutions Manager

Has your firm ever planned its business development activities for the quarter, had discussions with partners, marketing teams, and even external parties, but realized at the end of the quarter that very little got accomplished?

It’s a common problem. But the problem isn’t that people are lazy or irresponsible. It’s that no one was actually accountable for making sure the plans were completed.

In an increasingly complex and competitive market, business development is crucial. So setting goals and holding individuals accountable is critical as well. Here are a few tips for building accountability into your firm’s business development plans.

Measure what matters

Too often, firm leaders are focused on the wrong things. They get caught up in how many hours people work or whether people appear to be productive while they’re in the office. But in business development, as in every area of the firm, results are what matters. If you’re not measuring the right goals and behaviors, you’ll never see the results you want.

At least quarterly, set clear, specific and written goals. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Overall firm revenue and revenue by service line and/or niche

  • Number of new client engagements – overall and by service line or niche

  • Number of returning client engagements

  • Number of consulting conversations had with new and existing clients

  • Number of networking events attended – firmwide and per person

  • Content marketing initiatives, such as number of blogs or articles for outside publication written or marketing campaigns initiated

Each person responsible for marketing and business development in your firm should have their own goals that align with these firmwide goals. Their progress toward these goals needs to be a part of their quarterly performance reviews. Only then will they become a real priority.

Check in frequently

Quarterly goals and performance reviews are important, but they can’t be the only time you check in with your team to see how they’re doing. Weekly or bi-weekly, have quick meetings with your team to find out which initiatives they’re working on, how they are progressing with their goals, and whether there is anything you can do to help.

During these check-ins, you may find that some people are struggling to make progress on their business development goals. Maybe they have too much on their plate, and you can help them prioritize their responsibilities or re-assign work. Perhaps they’re having trouble getting a call back from someone. Whatever the issue, you can help clear those roadblocks and help ensure your team can meet their goals. That’s a lot more effective than waiting until the performance review to discover why certain tasks weren’t completed.

Have consequences for failure and recognize success

For any accountability system to be effective, there needs to be clear consequences for failure. Sometimes, you can check in regularly, help to clear roadblocks and try coaching people to perform. If you’re still not seeing the results you want, you need clear and specific guidelines for the consequences people can expect. Without consequences, people won’t take their business development goals seriously.

Just as you need consequences for failure, it’s equally important to have a reward and recognition system in place. People like to be recognized for their success – and that recognition doesn’t always have to have a monetary value. Come up with creative ways to provide extra perks and benefits for a job well done.

On the long business development “to do” list in your firm, accountability should be at the top of the list. Having a system of accountability in place will help move your firm forward into a culture that supports growth, brings out the best in your team and promotes an attitude of ownership that leads to a successful future.


Could you benefit from a peer group of other marketing and business development professionals?

The Boomer Marketing and Business Development Circle can help your team make the right strategy decisions and avoid wasting money on the wrong digital marketing techniques. Schedule a Call, and one of our Solutions Advisors will reach out to schedule a call.


As the Solutions Manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Deanna works to help clients and prospective clients identify their dangers, opportunities and strengths. Once these are identified, she works to develop a personalized game plan for their firm to focus on the area, or areas, they need to improve on most. These areas are critical to a firm’s success and future-readiness; Leadership, Talent, Technology, Process and Growth.



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