Business Dev/Sales

Building a Revenue Growth Engine

Building a revenue growth engine - image of coins stacked next to a lightbulb with coins in it|Building a revenue growth engine - image of coins stacked next to a lightbulb with coins in it

How to build a revenue growth engine and get the right customers for your firm now

At a time when positive differentiation of core services is becoming more challenging, competition is increasing, and economic conditions are placing downward pressure on fees, consumers are expecting more. Chris Smith from Empellor CRM and Brian Amann with CPA Edge, LLC talked with AAM members in a webinar all about how to acquire more clients and sell to current clients by building a revenue growth engine. (Members can click here to access the recording. Learn more about AAM High! webinars.)

Focus on your ideal client

The way businesses are run has changed drastically in recent years, and so have our methods of revenue generation. What worked in the past is becoming less relevant. New approaches need to take the place of old practices. If you’re looking to take a new approach at growing your firm, start by focusing on the right client and what you can do to develop a superior offering for them.

What type of customers do you currently have?

First, it’s important to analyze the type of customers you already have. Do they price shop? Are they high-maintenance? What do they value? Are you perceived as a vendor or a value creator?

What you should think about is if you want more clients that look like the ones you already have, or if you’re looking for something different. If you’re dealing with high-maintenance clients at lower price points whose values don’t align with your firm, change your scope and look for your ideal customer.

What does your ideal customer look like?

Of course, we all have those dream clients – the ones who always pay on time, ask the right questions, and come prepared the documents you asked for. What you need to do is define what an ideal customer means to you and your firm. Whether it’s a client with the highest revenue, the longest relationship, or a client that sees you as a value creator, you must set those priorities to refine your search.

Building an ideal customer profile

Once you’ve looked at your current clients and your ideal clients, it’s time to develop your ideal customer profile. You can do this by interviewing your customers to gather attributes, stack rank your customers to identify patterns with those at the top, consider client revenue across practice areas to see if there’s somewhere you need to focus, and project the value of an idea customer over a 10-year period.

Build your growth engine

Now that you know who you’re targeting, you’ve got to build the growth engine. When choosing technology to build out your revenue growth engine, keep these things in mind:

  • You cannot fix bad data or bad processes
  • Build the technology around ideal customer profile
  • Embed the technology at all levels and practice areas
  • A new tech tool spans marketing, sales, and operations
  • Right-size the tech to your firm three years from now, not today
  • Be sure it integrates with your other technology platforms

To ensure success with your revenue growth engine, you need to set standard expectations across the board: What is everyone required to record, and how will the tool scale with your firm? Make the technology easy to integrate to avoid excuses for those reluctant to adopt something new and build it around your customer profile so everyone understands what the common goal is.

Keys to revenue growth engine success

There are three keys to revenue growth engine success after you’ve put everything together: People, process, and onboarding.


Create a culture where everyone sells – this isn’t a job that’s limited to your rainmakers. Incentivize your team to bring in revenue. Measure success using your growth engine and hold people accountable for reaching certain goals. This can happen in regular business development meetings, weekly department check-ins, or during performance reviews, for example.


Your goal is to create raving fans of your business by offering incredible client experiences and consistent engagement. Client success should be at the center of what you do, and that recurring engagement with clients will keep retention low and grow pre-existing business.


Take time during the onboarding process to profile your customer. This can be your opportunity for a one-on-one focus group with a brand-new client. By taking time to learn about their business and their needs, you’re collecting data that helps you better serve them and other clients, all while they’re feeling extra cared for. Track everything you learn about your customers during onboarding and beyond in your CRM. That will help you better serve them in future check-ins and for years to come.

To hear more from our presenters, members can access the archived webinar, which is also available for purchase for non-members, on the AAM store.

About Sunny Ricks

Sunny Ricks, Director of Marketing Communications, Warren Averett. Contact at [email protected] Sunny Ricks works with Warren Averett’s client service teams and niche marketers to enhance the firm’s brand, visibility and audience communication experience. Within Warren Averett’s Marketing efforts, Sunny leads the firm’s Marketing Communications team, which functions as an internal agency advising stakeholders and other marketers on topics like branding, media relations, advertising, publicity, websites, content, social media and collateral, as well as office-based and firm-wide internal initiatives. Sunny’s ultimate objective is to communicate Warren Averett’s expertise, build the Firm’s audience and generate new client relationships. Before starting at Warren Averett 15 years ago, Sunny worked at The Zimmerman Agency, leading media relations, promotions, and publicity for clients such as Diners Club, the Don CeSar Beach Resort & Spa and Florida's Emerald Coast.

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