How to Keep BD Moving During Busy Season
It’s busy season in your firm, and a lot of heads are down and deep into the work. Business development executives often feel like their efforts either slow to a crawl or come to a complete stop when the subject matter experts (SMEs) are getting client work done. However, now is the time for business developers to get creative to keep the momentum going during busy season!
Take a Look at the Numbers
Marketing and business development should always strive to be collaborative. Work with your marketing professionals and/or firm administrator to share thoughts, ideas, and observations. Review the firm’s client data from the previous year and analyze it for industry and service popularity. Is there a new trend happening in the firm? Is the firm gaining more clients in a certain industry? Is the firm losing clients in an industry? In which industries does the firm provide multiple services to clients, and is there a clear leader? Is there an opportunity in another industry to provide more services?
Analyzing the firm in this way provides the data to back up ideas for future initiatives and helps guide industry memberships and relationships with referral sources.
Take a Look Outside the Firm
Evaluate the associations with which your firm has a membership that likely isn’t being maximized. Now is a good time to reach out to build relationships with those associations, or new ones, and further develop the existing or stalled relationships for a while.
Memberships with associations are only as good as what is put into them. Inquire about special projects and new initiatives the association is undertaking and find a way to get involved. Get the firm’s subject matter experts (SMEs) on their calendar of events now as speakers, thought leaders, panel members, and authors for events scheduled after busy season. Use this time to maximize the firm’s involvement and visibility for the remainder of the year.
This is also a good time to touch base with referral sources. Educate them on the types of clients and the types of work the firm prefers to ensure better referrals come along. Be sure to ask the same of them – what types of clients and work they prefer – and share the referral source information internally.
Take a Look Inside the Firm
Busy season can produce many opportunities for new work. Working on a client’s year-end financial statements and taxes gives accountants a great sense of what has happened over the course of the year. Partners who have limited contact with a client can often spot ways the client could benefit from working with the firm more frequently and with greater intention of digging further into the business’s operations. But in those moments when the projects are thought about, they are most often not captured and become lost in the busy season haze.
Creating a template to capture these kinds of opportunities in the moment creates a pipeline of projects with current clients. Place the template where everyone can access it. Some may want to save their own copy, but if the business developer is sending frequent reminders to log the new projects and opportunities on the template, it doesn’t matter if there is one template or several. Business developers can start having conversations with the clients on the template(s) and, after busy season, these can be the first projects to follow up and get signed engagement letters.
Busy season can feel slow to a firm’s business development professionals but with some creativity and strategy, the pipeline can continue to be filled with new work.
About Christine Nietzke
Welcome to CPA Growth Trends — your source for information, insights, tools and best practices to drive growth within an accounting firm.
with Danielle Reynolds, Business Development, Manager with Whitley Penn
A business developer’s day involves a myriad of activities from external meetings with business owners and referral partners to scoping calls for initial client connections.