by Deb Baker / August 27, 2019
At GrowthPlay, our work with law firms and other professional service providers has shown us that while most firms invest a great deal of time and resources chasing growth, their strategies are often not as effective as they could be. That’s when it’s time to look at sales improvement.
For instance, firms continue to look to lagging indicators—what happened last year—in order to predict future success, but this simply is not an effective formula for creating predictable and sustainable revenue. And while traditional business development tactics focus on converting new clients, lawyers know that existing clients are often the best source of new business. In both cases, firms are prioritizing “what we’ve always done” over what actually works, and they stagnate.
Fortunately, GrowthPlay’s research on sales improvement offers leaders a new way to think about growth and provides concrete steps firm leaders can take to generate top-line revenue.
Not to be confused with a strategic plan, an effective sales strategy develops from the outside in to drive sales improvement. Sellers examine the current climate to determine where there are needs in the market. They look for opportunities to solve problems and bring in new business, whether it comes by expanding the scope of their engagement with existing clients or snagging new ones.
Existing clients—What do we know about their needs in the coming year? Are they growing? Maintaining? Shrinking?
Market trends—Where will there be market demand? What could get in our way?
Current portfolio—Assess the strength of the business’s portfolio and identify areas for growth by asking questions like these: How much revenue comes from highly profitable clients where we have multiple touch points in the relationship? How many clients purchase only one service yet remain loyal and continue to come back? How much of our work is driven by investment? How much of our work is opportunistic? Do we say yes even if the work is low value and doesn’t have the potential to grow but provides cash flow? How can we get more of the work we want from the clients we most want to work with?
Firms usually have a good understanding of who their clients are and what they come to them for, yet they do not stop to ask how or why the engagement took place: what actions did the firm take to create the opportunity to sell? But that doesn’t mean that what worked in one case will work in another. Each buyer buys differently, and the skills required to sell to them should be aligned with the buyer’s needs. For existing clients, find ways to guard the work you currently have but also grow those relationships by showing what else you can do for them. To expand your roster of new clients, take a look at the market as it is and find the gaps you can fill with your service and expertise.
Check out our blog to learn the 3 Tips for Building Stronger Relationships with your Customers.
When you understand what the research says about sales improvement, you can bolster your firm’s sales pipeline and process, enhance your top-line revenue, and grow your business.