While Klein, Rowe, & Co (KRC) has managed to grow their business over the years, the bulk of business development has fallen on the shoulders of one partner. Over time, both partners became comfortable in their defined roles—Martha, dedicated to drumming up business and Martin, focused on operational duties. To successfully grow the business, both partners must serve as firm stewards and share equally in business development efforts.
Join Klein, Rowe & Co, our fictional case study firm, as they learn from our Automating Success webinar series. In each webinar, our thought leaders will share their expertise on how this firm might address those challenges. In each KRC follow-up, we'll share with you what our fictional firm has learned and the next steps they might take to reimagine their firm. Please note: our case study and follow-up articles are fictional and intended for entertainment and educational purposes only.
In this week’s Automating Success webinar, “Mastering the business development conversation,” KRC partners looked forward to learning the basics of effective business development conversations. The main goal: to enhance and streamline the process of converting prospects to loyal, long-time clients.
Realizing that business development is a shared responsibility, both Martha and Martin found great value in the four core “intelligence categories” that support successful conversations. These include the following:
Industry trends—Having a thorough understanding of current industry trends helps establish you as an expert and a trusted source. Going into a conversation, it’s important to understand the key indicators that impact a prospective client’s business over the next 1-3 years.
Leadership vision—This involves asking prospects pointed questions about where they want to take their business over the next few years and then using this data to guide the conversation in a way that is unique to achieving that vision. This is where you showcase the value of your services.
Organizational challenges—What are the barriers that hinder decision makers in meeting their goals? Top issues typically fall into three buckets: people, processes and technology. Dig deep to uncover organizational challenges and then drive the conversation toward the resolution, which include your services.
Key initiatives and goals—Be sure to identify the major projects a business has taken on within the last six months to a year. This will help you better understand the prospective client’s overall goals. Make it your business to know their business, and then work your services into the meeting-of-goals equation.
The partners also realized the necessity of having a dedicated marketing strategy in place—and that sending out a few infrequent emails does not cut it. Understanding that data holds the key to deeper client insight, KRC partners were inspired to enhance this area of the firm as well.
What KRC learned…
The two big takeaways for the partners were:
That business development is a shared responsibility. The partners stated: “We can no longer live in our individual silos. We know that to grow the firm, we both have to dig deeper into the data and be active in business development conversations.”
That a structured marketing strategy is a must. To date, the firm has yet to implement a dedicated marketing strategy—and therefore has no way to aggregate and analyze data to gain deeper insight into their ideal client base. Without this key information on hand, it is difficult, if not impossible, to have meaningful, client-converting conversations.
KRC action items…
Continuing down the path of renewal, KRC partners developed another list of action items. To master the business development conversation, the following represent the next set of to-dos:
Develop a list of standard questions to jump-start business development conversations. Subscribing to a uniform questionnaire will keep partners focused and organized. It will also provide valuable information to determine what services a prospect needs.
Develop a few leading questions to help discern if you’re talking to a decision maker (those in charge of budgets and have the power to purchase) or an influencer (those who have the power to influence decision makers and change the final purchase outcome).
Work to create a sound marketing strategy that successfully collects target-audience data, and then work to establish a process for regular data analysis.
Based on the defined marketing strategy, work to implement a communications program for key audiences that delivers helpful, targeted and education-based content. This helps to quickly build trust and rapport.
Check back regularly to learn how KRC is progressing. In the meantime, feel free to use any of the ideas listed above to help improve your business development conversations.
Offering proactive advice on technology is a great conversation starter. Discover how Bill.com helps empower businesses to offer services clients want and need. Start a risk-free trial or chat with one of our account managers today.