Business Basics
How business development structures give your firm freedom to grow

How business development structures give your firm freedom to grow

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Business development structures provide the freedom to pursue smart growth, contribute to creating the right business development culture, support client and firm experience, and give your team consistency and confidence. When you have the right combination of structures, you can create meaningful revenue and profit growth that's sustainable for the long term.

This article shares the business development structures you need.

1. Business development process 

Business development process and business development methodology are closely related. Think of a business development process as a staircase-- a linear, stepped approach to moving an opportunity through the pipeline. Your process might include the following steps and you can use it to gauge the quality and velocity of your opportunities:

  • Lead generated
  • Opportunity identified
  • Opportunity qualified
  • Demo presentation
  • Proposal presentation
  • Agreement negotiation
  • Closed (Win / Loss)

2. Business development methodology

On the other hand, business development methodology is like a chess match. It’s a set of non-linear practices (behaviors, skills, strategies, tactics) used in a flexible way that help you to execute the sales process.

To create your methodology, consider what options will best help you execute your process, build skills, grow sales, and support your culture. You can design your methodology in-house, license one from an outside provider, or use a combination approach.

3. Client experience

Client experience is the combination of your organization’s offerings, processes, and interactions that create outcomes and value for your prospects and clients. This leads to loyalty.

Loyalty is the logical and emotional attachment your clients have to you and your company. Loyal clients will choose you first and refer you first. Do you know what your clients say about you when you’re not in the room?

A survey by Hinge Marketing found that up to 25% of an organization’s existing client base would consider switching to another provider. That is a compelling piece of data. As service providers, we can get lulled into complacency, especially with clients we have served a long time. That opens the door for our competitors to take advantage of the situation. (But remember, we can do the same.)

4. Firm experience

Firm experience is the combination of your organization’s offerings, processes, and interactions that create outcomes and value for your staff and your firm. This leads to loyalty.

Just like with our clients, we want to create a logical and emotional attachment of our staff to us. When we have loyal staff and they believe in the firm, they are more likely to do the work of business development.

How connected are your staff members to you, the firm, and its purpose? Think of this as directly contributing to business development results, because you're laying the groundwork and creating the environment for them to succeed.

5. The right clients

Do you consistently evaluate your clients? Are they the right mix of size and industry? Are they the right fit for where you are today? More importantly, are they the right fit for where you want to go into the future?

Evaluating client lifetime value is an exercise that can help you to measure the mutual value in client relationships. Oftentimes we think about value as a one-way street, specifically, the value that we can provide to a client or prospect. But there’s another aspect, and that’s the value being returned to us. It might be top-line or bottom-line value.

Some criteria to evaluate client lifetime value include:

  • Philosophical
  • Business Development Process
  • Solution Compatibility
  • Post-Deal Onboarding
  • Internal Team
  • Fee Sensitivity
  • Revenue Potential
  • Profit / Realization Potential
  • Administration
  • Growth / Cross-Sell
  • Referenceability
  • Logo Strength

I challenge you to use the above criteria and evaluate a current prospect or client. How would you rate them? How would they rate your firm?

Firm leaders & growth officers lead the way 

If you are a firm leader or firm growth officer, you are the owner and leader of the business development culture and the structures in your firm. A place to begin is to choose one of the five structures shared in this article and take the next steps to implement it. These structures will create freedom and the right growth for your firm.

For a summary of this information, please watch this video.

The information provided on this page does not, and is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. The content is provided "as-is"; no representations are made that the content is error free.