How to make everyone in your firm a rain maker

 

In my experience most accountants would not describe themselves as rain makers. I’m sure many accountants have from time to time wished they could outsource their marketing to someone else. However, the smaller the accountancy firm the greater the need for every fee earner, junior or senior, to play their part in the business development activities of a firm.

In my view, business development is a team activity that every member of the accountancy practice (regardless of their size) should play a part in. I have yet to find a firm which gives everyone a target for business development activity – often marketing effort is expected to occur in employees and partner’s own time. In my research for my next book, ‘how to make partner and still have a life’ I am finding that if you want to make partner, then you better be good at winning new business! So why do so many accountancy practices expect their directors and senior managers to ‘magically’ be able to do business development. If you are given a very high billable hour’s target, how can you be expected to learn and experiment with differing business development activities?

Often business development is seen to be the glory end of marketing and selling, i.e. the writing of proposals, clinching deals and pitching for work. In reality business development activity is anything that contributes to winning new business; this is everything from generating interest and awareness in the firm’s products and services, through to the glory moments of winning a competitive pitch.

This could be:

  • Networking – both face-to-face and on-line
  • Writing articles
  • Speaking engagements
  • Organising and running seminars (both face-to-face and teleseminars)
  • Conducting proprietary research
  • Spending time with existing clients getting to know them better
  • Market research
  • Attending industry conferences to understand new needs within the industry
  • Writing proposals
  • Writing and delivering pitches

If you read through the list of non-chargeable activities which contribute to business development, there is something for every accountant to excel at. The true technical specialists within the firm may relish the opportunity to write articles and contribute to on-line forums – but would be like a duck out of water if asked to go in and ‘sell’ to a client. (You probably wouldn’t want them in front of a client ‘selling’ as well!) The ‘sellers’ may get bored rigid conducting proprietary research, but love the opportunity to go out face-to-face networking.

If you think about you and your accountancy practice, how have you divvied up your business development efforts between the whole team?

Comments

Its not easy

bluegoblin | | Permalink

I run my practice, write the technical articles, go out and do the business development and so on. Its not easy but I love what I do.

I am training my staff to become active in marketing but you can't expect too much from them. The thought of pitching is daunting for them. I must say I was no different when I started my career. That said some of them see the good side and appreciate that this is something they can't delay for too long if they want to be partners.

I have tried different types of marketing but I must say I have not considered using social networking sites such as Facebook or Linked In. I don't even know where to start and more importantly will it work? Does anyone have experience in this? (I am sure some of my staff will be more than happy to spend half a day on facebook!!).

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I help professionals, mostly accountants and lawyers become the Go-To-Expert. After joining BDO LLP in 2004, I have now almost clocked up ten years working predominantly with accountants helping them achieve their career and business goals. Unusually for someone with an Engineering Degree, I accidentally became a writer and used my knowledge on social media to write the current best-selling and award-winning book on networking, The FT Guide To Business Networking. (over 100 five star reviews on amazon) In 2012, the book I always wanted to write, 'How to make partner and still have a life' was published. In March 2014, my next book, 'The Go-To-Expert: How to build your reputation, differentiate yourself from the competition and win business' is published. People frequently talk about me as someone who really knows her stuff – which may be the reason I have, over the last decade, worked with over 300 partners, coached and trained over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. 

I am honoured to have been asked to judge the British Accountancy Awards in 2011 and 2012. I am a member of the Accountant's Club Global Advisory Panel, and write regularly on practice management issues for CCH.

Myself, and Jon (my co-director) are approved Growth Accelerator Coaches. This means that we can if you are eligible, through the Growth Accelerator scheme, help you get some coaching funded by the scheme. Click here for more details to see whether you are eligible for the scheme.

The types of work I am currently helping my small professional practice clients with, includes:

1) Helping a £2m t/o practice grow to £4m by restructuring the firm and helping the management team step up 

2) Working with a £1m t/o practice to grow to £2m by generating more leads, and getting more work from existing clients

3) Enabling a £300k t/o practice grow to £1m by helping it sort out it's profitability by adding in efficient systems and processes, and increasing the quality of the  lead generation by marketing to a niche

4) Facilitating the growth of a one man band practice into a 3 person practice by helping increase the lead generation and conversion rate of leads, plus keeping the practice owner accountable to his goals.

The Excedia Group was founded by myself and Jon Baker to bring clarity, perspective and knowledge to help our clients achieve their business goals. We specialise in working with highly technical individuals, typically lawyers and accountants, helping them to get out of their comfort zone and build a profitable and sustainable client portfolio whilst handling the challenges of leading a business. 

My work splits into about 50% Executive & Business Coaching with Partners & potential partners, with the rest split between training, consultancy and writing.

My articles & quotes regularly appear in the press, e.g. FT, Guardian, Accountancy Age, Accounting Today, Economia, ACCA's publications. I regularly blog at Partnership Potentialventure-NowJoined up networking and How to make partner.

To book me for a speaking engagement please contact my PR Agency, Meerkat PR, on 020 8563 0182, and ask for David Stoch. For any other work related enquiries, please contact me directly.

My clients have included: Deloitte LLP, KPMG LLP, BDO LLP, Haines Watts, MSI Global Alliance, UK200 group, Macintyre Hudson LLP amongst others.