On the heels of 2011 — here are our predictions for five business development trends among professional service firms in the New Year:
- Specialization will continue. With the development of new technologies, the abundance of information available to consumers and the marketplace becoming more and more crowded, successful firms will continue down the path of niche development and specialization. What will be the key to these firms’ success? Developing and communicating a clear definition of specialization within the organization and aligning all other operational facets — training, client assignments, marketing, lead generation and results tracking — with that.
- Firms will continue to incorporate social media and other electronic tools into their business development activities, but the most successful firms will achieve a balance between electronic communications and face-to-face/phone activity.
- Strategic growth planning will become a higher priority for firms who are serious about growth. The not-so-distant past’s recession has caused many firms to re-evaluate their growth activities, emphasizing those areas that have proven successful and de-emphasizing those that have not. The most aggressive firms will continue to look at diversification opportunities for the long term.
- Firms will continue to focus on client service. If the past year has taught us nothing else, it’s taught us that our client relationships are not to be squandered in lieu of chasing the “next big thing”. Management teams that build a clear process and vision for how the firm serves its clients, including accountability and measurement, will enable their firms to demonstrate a clear competitive advantage over those that do not.
- More and more firms will explore ways to get everyone in the firm involved in business development — both as succession strategy for partners and as a way to ramp up revenue. With training and specific tweaks to the way staff, managers and partners do their jobs, these firms will experience exponential growth results.
All our best to you in the New Year!