9 Experts Weigh-In on How to Maximize Business Development for Professional Services Firms

9 industry experts share biz dev adviceThere are a number of growing variables in the professional services industry today that are impacting growth strategies; increasing competition, decreasing service demand, and disruptive technology. A whopping 79% of management consulting firms say they’re struggling to attract and develop new business in today’s ever-changing landscape. And that means your business development team is in the hot seat.

As a leader in your organization, you know what needs to be done to grow revenue. But it’s how to do it and how to do it well that are hard to pin down.

You know your existing clients hold seemingly endless upsell and cross-sell opportunities, but how do you capitalize on them?

You know your clients and prospects need to be educated, but how do you evolve your approach to become a trusted advisor?

To find the answers, we recently spoke with nine business development experts and asked them how today’s firms can maximize their business development impact. They provided best practices on how to grow your firm throughout the entire sales cycle, from attracting new business to retaining existing clients.

See what the experts had to say by downloading our Professional Services Playbook where you’ll learn:

  • How education and differentiation help attract and win new business
  • The keys to growing revenue with existing clients
  • How to strengthen and maintain client relationships

business development playbook for professional services

Or, learn more about each subject matter expert below:

Eric Fletcher

As an esteemed business development and sales coach, Eric Fletcher advises professional services firms on strategic planning, growth, marketing, communication and sales.

Eric’s advice for professional services firms? Listen.

“I believe the key to connecting with prospects is LISTENING with the express intent of learning. Ask the right questions before you launch into a pitch, listen hard enough, and a prospect will reveal what it will take to connect and close.”

Lauren Clemmer

Lauren Clemmer is the Executive Director at the Association for Accounting Marketing with over eight years of experience in professional services marketing and account management.

If you’re looking for new ways to cross-sell or upsell clients, Lauren has important advice.

“Professional service firms need to have a deeper and broader relationship with their clients to take advantage of the cross sell or upsell opportunity. That is where the magic happens—when they are engaged beyond finance and truly understanding the client’s business.”

Danny Estrada

The Founder of E Squared, Danny Estrada, has over 25 years of business development and technology expertise. As such, Danny has worked with countless sales, business development, and service teams to help them make a difference in their efforts to sell more products and services and keep their customers for life.

Where does the greatest opportunity lie, according to Danny?

“The greatest opportunity for accounting, and other professional services firms, today is maximizing their revenue with existing clients. This is also one of the weakest areas of performance for many of those firms. The challenge in many firms is that they are not properly categorizing the current services being performed, nor is it easy to identify where new opportunities are to be pursued.”

Elinor Stutz

As an international best-selling author and motivational speaker, Elinor Stutz has helped sales and business development teams from all over the world and in a wide range of industries reach their sales and business development goals.

When it comes to retaining your clients, Elinor offers some words of wisdom.

“When you couple new age technology with old-fashioned etiquette, you have the winning combination for strengthening your client relationships. Address people by their name. Promptly answer messages. Freely share valuable information.”

Dan Perry

Dan Perry helps B2B companies develop and execute their sales strategies and enable more productive sales leaders. With over 25 years of sales experience in a variety of verticals, Dan has insights that can lead to more productivity and revenue.

What is Dan’s key to success? Pay it forward.

“To develop business in professional services, the key is to give something in order to get something. You have to be relentless at providing products and services to organizations, irregardless of expecting anything in return. You need social debt.”

John Barrows

A frequent contributor to Inc., Huffington Post, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and other top publications, John Barrows is a well-known sales trainer for the world’s fastest growing companies. Serving as the CEO of JBarrows Sales Training, John has help some of the world’s leading firms see incredible business development results.

In our new playbook, John offers tactics on how to engage target accounts using innovating technology.

“The best companies and sales reps are using technology to listen to their target accounts and pick up on triggers and buying signals they can use when reaching out to the prospect. It’s no longer about how someone is ‘scored’ based on how many times they visited the website or downloaded an ebook. It’s about intent to buy and there are new tools coming out every day that show more and more buyer intent based on their broader actions on the internet.”

Adam Draper

With over a decade of enterprise sales experience in both start-up and Fortune 500 environments, Adam Draper knows what it takes to grow a business. And as the VP of Sales – North America for Introhive, he’s worked closely with professional services firms to understand their unique business needs.

Want to improve your cross-selling and upselling? Adam believes it starts with your firm’s culture.

“Building an environment of collaboration and enablement will go a long way in helping firms break down relationship barriers that live across departments, regions, and organizational hierarchies. If you have a culture of ‘that’s my contact, i’m not going to share it,’ that’s where technology can really help.”

Alan Mercer

Alan Mercer is the Business Development Director – UK & EMEA for Introhive and has over 15 years of experience in the legal and professional services sector. He is very passionate about helping professional services firms grow their business through understanding and leveraging their relationships.

In this playbook, Alan shares important tips regarding relationship capital and more.

“Only by truly understanding your clients goals, objectives, challenges, opportunities, and fears will you be able to effectively suggest ways in which you can help. Take what you learn, discuss with colleagues, and follow up to share ideas with the client to provide next-level value.”

Mark Timmons

With over 15 years of experience in B2B sales for companies both large and small, Mark Timmons is an expert in helping firms develop and foster solid, long-term relationships that drive business results.

Mark offers an important reminder that the right tools enable the right relationships.

“In order to identify opportunities to cross-sell across a firm’s practice lines, one first needs to understand who they are doing business with currently. But CRM alone is not enough. You need automatic relationship mapping and scoring to understand ‘who in your firm knows who’ and who has the best relationship with that client in order to facilitate the introduction.”

It’s Time for a Change

The pressure is mounting for your business development team to rise to the occasion. But without new strategies or a change in your sales process, your firm will find your numbers to be more of the same. Instead, take your growth to new heights by leveraging the technologies, strategies, and tactics the experts shared above.

For the complete guide on how to scale your firm’s business development impact, download your copy of the playbook.

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