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12 ways your firm can kickstart BD in FY16

The new financial year is almost upon us, at least in Australia. And I’ve come up with 12 business development ideas your practice can use to make sure next financial year is a good one.  

Here they are.

  1. Review your client base.  Print out a list of every client you’ve worked with over FY15.  Against each client’s name note who referred you or how you came to meet them. This will give you an idea of your lead generators, who you need to acknowledge and look after and a measure of the results of your marketing efforts. It should also prompt an immediate series of calls to past clients and referral sources who’ve been good to you over the past year.

  2. Check your realisation rate for each client. Compare the value of the hours you’ve recorded with the fees recovered.  Check these rates against previous years to spot trends and ask your CFO how these compare with your firm’s expectations.

  3. Rate your clients. Give each client a score out of 10 for how satisfied you are with them.  This, when combined with point 2, will give you a starting point for planning your client portfolio management. You’ll want to defend and grow some.  Others may need a little attention for quick improvement. And others may need ‘pruning’. Read about how and why to do that here.

  4. Finalise your FY16 Business Plan and test your fee forecast. Every professional in your team should have a personal business plan that considers where you will compete, how you will retain existing relationships and how you will attract new clients. Email or call me if you’d like a template.

  5. Check your marketing commitments. Are your efforts to build awareness, connect with networks, position your expertise and generate enquiries attracting new business? If not, work out why. You should also make sure you have at least one industry event with networking opportunities in your diary before Melbourne Cup Day (3 November 2015). If not, sort that out now.

  6. Audit your pitch documents and fee structures. Gather examples of pitches or capability statements you did in FY15  - both winning and losing. Ask your BD manager to review them.  If you don’t have a BD manager, ask me.

  7. Start a BD fitness regime. As a minimum your team should: review workflow weekly (30 minutes); discuss progress on your BD and sales pipeline monthly (60 minutes); update your BD strategy quarterly (at least 3 hours, preferably away from the office).

  8. Gather intelligence. Choose 4 or 5 important clients and 2 or 3 referral sources and schedule a meeting with each of them in August in which you ask them for feedback on your service and their pans for the next 12-24 months.  This will give you time to act on suggestions before year-end and adjust your fee forecast for FY16 if necessary. You can read about the many benefits of client feedback here.

  9. Google yourself. And remember to check more than just the ‘Web’ tab on the results. Click through to Maps, Images, Video and News and see what everyone sees about you.

  10. Role play. For a quick-and-dirty competitive analysis put yourself in the shoes of a typical client and search for your expertise in your location or field. Use Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and whatever other methods you can think of. See how easy you are to find.

  11. Show off your expertise. Update your LinkedIn profile. Join LinkedIn groups. Start commenting and posting relevant content. Build your mailing list and your Twitter following. And plan a content calendar that you actually stick to. You can find tips on how to build a solid process for consistently publishing quality content here.

  12. Write your Christmas cards. Yes, we’re only half way through the year. But after you’ve reviewed your client list and referral sources, why not nail down 60% of your holiday cards. (Hand write them, don’t use e-cards!) It sure beats scrambling to do it come December.

So there’s 12 different ways to kickstart the new financial year. I’d love to hear any more ideas you have.