8
Insights

Sales and Marketing Processes

Sales and Marketing Processes

Introduction

High quality sales processes in Professional Services firms exhibit the following:

  • Belief
  • Clear focus
  • Client value
  • Relationships
  • High energy
  • Quality thinking
  • Communications
  • Big ideas
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability

Belief

  • There is no such thing as a tough market - our market is challenged by a need to 'create it'
  • Let's wipe that thought from our minds
  • If you are good enough, active enough, thoughtful enough and focussed enough, you will find plenty of work in any market - the key is to find ways to be active

Clear focus

  • Vertical markets - sectors, clients
  • Horizontal markets - functional practices, clients
  • 70% of practice success comes from being very clear on where you are going to build an outstanding practice
  • Focus where there are "deep pools of demand" on a sustainable basis at a client level - year in and year out
  • Find 5 clients where you can generate 3-4 jobs per client per annum - every year

Client value

  • Really understand the strategy of the client and the industry forces
  • Dozens of opportunities flow from this
  • Think about what we can do that can help with these
  • Work at becoming strategy advisors on the client's major that we are relevant to help with
  • Figure out what you are going to be famous for in the market - and go after it

Relationships

  • There is a golder rule in Professional Services firms
  • Strength of relationship = 1
  • You will sell next to nothing to buyers you don't know
  • Strength of relationship = 5
  • You will get a share of wallet of more than 80% from these people
  • A key to building sustainable practice success is to build strong relationships with the key buyers in those 5 clients with "deep pools of demand"
  • There are a number of ways of doing this in a cost-effective and time-efficient way
  • There is a clear relationship building plan

High energy in the market

  • 40-50 hours per week working with the market
  • I set a target for myself to conntect with 10 clients a week outside of current assignments
  • A funny thing happens when you talk to clients about their most important business issues - you spot opportunities and you sell work - need to create conversations
  • The more clients you talk to, the more work you sell
  • Doing business with ourselves after hours - firm meetings need to be banned between 9 to 6

Quality thinking

  • In tough markets, creating demand is a by-product of deep knowledge around sectors and clients
  • Everybody needs to be a thought leader in at least one thing
  • We have got to abolish the idea in our heads that we are in the "responding to events" business

Communicating to the market

  • Talk to seminars of industry leaders
  • Hold discussions in the office with industry leaders on important leadership topics

Big ideas

  • Every top-performing Professional Services firm thinks big
  • We have a unique set of skills and experience which, when combined together, can help companies solve some of their most pressing issues
  • Lets have 10 "big ideas" bubbling across the firm at any one time that involves all of us - we need to create cross-practice ideas to 'galvanise'

Collaboration

  • Big ideas come from teamwork - and can only be delivered usually with teamwork

Very good management

  • A healthy pipeline contains a range of opportunities at different stages of development
  • A well-managed pipeline across everybody in the firm delivers consistent performance
  • Volatility is always a sign of poor pipeline management
  • Let's get rid of the thought in some of our minds that volatility is "normal".
  • It is NOT normal in high-quality Professional Services firms - it is not written in the sands and is simply an outcome of poor management
  • A well-managed pipeline contains a large number of opportunities that have sufficient volume to counterbalance the many "murphy" events that happen in our business
  • It is a statistical fact

Accountability

  • You are only truly accountable if ALL of the following conditions are in place:
  • You have accepted a goal and are genuinely responsible for achieving it - e.g. Revenue target - revenue is an outcome target; also need process targets that generate the revenues (most of the above are process targets)
  • You have a plain to achieve it
  • What sectors/functions
  • Clients with deep pools of demand
  • Buyers whom you need to build string relationships with
  • Prospection plan
  • Get your EA to make the meeting - it is much more efficient
  • Fill your diary - no blank spaces
  • You know what a healthy pipeline looks like - so that you can defeat volatility
  • There is a volume of opportunities at different stages:
  • Opportunities - these can be ideas that you have heard about from connecting with players in the market
  • Qualified opportunities - these are ideas that you have discussed with the client, they have acknowledged that they have a need, you are still working up a solution - and you have not yet put in a proposal
  • Proposals
  • Sold work
  • You have set an individual target for each of these stages that works for your practice
  • You monitor your performance weekly
  • You know what your monthly budget is
  • Every week - at least once a week - be clear what your gap is for the month, and search your pipeline for opportunities to close it
  • Prepare an action plan to close it
  • Then act on what you need to do straight away
  • The basics of management are: plan - do - monitor - adjust plan - do - monitor
  • And so on forever
  • If any of the above conditions are not in place - you are not acocuntable

Author(s)

John Colvin

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