A firm’s growth can come from any number of places: whether it’s organic new business, acquisition, diversifying service offerings, or implementing value-based revenue models. If one thing is certain, there will be more disruption coming to professional services, not less.
A strong sales culture is essential for your organization’s future success. You’ll need more professionals selling as part of your succession planning practices. When your professionals are supported by a strong sales culture and equipped to sell, you’ll create more client opportunities, you’ll generate stronger revenues and profits, and you’ll be in a better position to diversify your services.
You’ll also cultivate a larger pool of talent for future firm leadership and potential partnership. Those future leaders will have proven they can generate revenue.
Whether you call it business development, or you call it sales, take steps to build the right culture in your organization. Selling, when done professionally, helps your prospects and clients to solve their biggest challenges. They see your firm as more valuable and trusted. You’ll create more quality business development opportunities and grow your firm more strategically.
Four Strategies for Growing Your Sales Culture
- Get professionals involved in business development earlier in their career. When they do get to those next levels in the firm where they’re expected to develop business, they’ll have experience to draw on. Some ways to do this include: Taking them on business development meetings, selecting them to participate in pursuits and RFPs, creating opportunities to contribute to associations, or presenting at conferences.
- Implement a formal business development framework across your organization. Consider business development as you would other areas of expertise within your firm. You likely have processes, skill requirements, perhaps certifications that are required. There’s a discipline behind it. Business development needs to be treated in the same way. By implementing a framework with steps to follow, specific skill requirements, and milestones brings that same level of discipline that’s expected in other areas of the firm.
- Make business development part of their annual plans. Where appropriate, can there be an incentive for professionals to identify new business opportunities? For those designated as emerging firm leaders, get them introduced to working toward a business development plan as early as possible. It will stretch them and improve engagement when they see themselves as contributing to the overall success of the firm.
- Have more business conversations around the P&L. It’s easy to get siloed into a client or line of business. Take time to foster business conversations that help your professionals understand the bigger picture. Increasing transparency around what makes the line of business or office profitable, what makes for ideal clients, or what the growth strategies are will help professionals to understand their role in creating client success and the success of the firm.
As part of your sales culture, you can help your team learn essential modern selling skills. To get started, download a free chapter from my book, The Modern Seller.
Amy Franko is strategic sales expert working with professional services, insurance, and technology organizations to accelerate sales results. Her book, The Modern Seller, is an Amazon best seller and was also named a 2018 top sales book by Top Sales World.