There has been a recent shift over the past few years where the focus has moved from throwing Business Development and Marketing into one mismatch role, to setting up a separate army of Client Relationship Managers – who seek to safeguard and protect existing business and find other ways to boost the profitability of their allocated accounts. That is super, and refreshing, and about time.
However, is that really enough? Safeguarding your client base in only one half of good business development. New business is a key area which seems yet to be fully understood by many professional service firms.
Strategic business development (“BD”)
- identifies and enables business opportunities;
- targets prospects and converts these into new clients. This means new revenue;
- actively manages continuous pipelines of new and existing business;
- connects the dots and actively pursues opportunities which can increase your profitability margins and also deepens your relationships with your client’s organisation, so your business is less dependant on one individual at the firm;
- is consultative, draws on your firms strengths and ultimately adds value to your clients business – and that goodwill in turn comes back to your firm;
- utilises available resources and ensures that you get maximum return from any marketing spend you make, so that ROI can actually be measured;
- introduces the “firm” to the Prospect/Client, not just one attorney, so should your colleague leave the firm, you still keep your client;
- ensures your business development efforts and marketing commitments work together so you get maximum return so how your client perceives you, can ultimately translate in winning business; and
- it strategically places you so that you never miss any opportunity.
QUALITY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROFESSIONALS ARE ESSENTIAL.
They understand the client’s ‘buy’ process and their focus is prospect to client conversions. There is no place for ‘cold selling’ and key business development tools are implemented so that bringing a new client on board is a consultative and value add process, which further gains the ‘seller’ of legal services credibility and good will.
Business development professionals understand the importance of client relationship management. Safe guarding their client base and engineering strategies to secure higher profitability margins. They actively seek ways to upsell and cross sell so that real results are achieved.
They have high emotional intelligence and use this to adjust their position so that they effectively respond to client/prospect needs and further relationships.
There is now a much greater need to stand out to win new clients.
WHAT MEASURES DO YOU HAVE IN PLACE TO DIFFERENTIATE YOUR FIRM FROM OTHERS?
Building relationships are key to securing client loyalty, and ensure clients are “firm” clients.
HOW ARE YOU ACTIVELY ENGAGING YOUR LAWYERS, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND CLIENT RELATIONS PROFESSIONALS TO STRATEGICALLY DEVELOP NEW AND OLD RELATIONSHIPS?