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Often, there is little management of what professionals are doing to develop business so the results are not nearly as good as they could be. Key elements of a business development management approach include:

  • Make achieving business development success someone’s responsibility with accountability for results. Someone needs to have overall responsibility for the results and thus an interest in doing what's necessary to achieve them. Firms can also think about assigning specific revenue targets to individual firm members.

  • Set up metrics, evaluate them, and adjust based on results Measures can track how well the firm is starting relationships, maintaining relationships, converting relationships to sales, and selling more to clients.

  • Establish a business development process and establish rules about who is responsible for what. In many firms, each business developer is left free to sink or swim on their own. Few ever develop a systematic process for doing business development and those who do may use one that is quite less than optimal. In many firms it is not clear who is responsible for lead generation or lead nurturing or converting leads to contracts.

  • Create a business development management processes for engaging the professionals and improving their performance. Many firms use a regular pipeline conference call to track progress with current opportunities. They also have an annual plan for the firm which includes revenue goals. it may make sense to add additional elements.

  • Allocate resources. Firms need a process for assigning people to projects. Who will follow up on initial leads and go to initial meetings? What implications should that have for who actually does the work when it is won?

  • Provide support to individual professionals. Individual professionals may need help with developing their skills or with handling critical or difficult situations. The person managing the business development process needs to make sure this help is provided.

  • Focus attention on important opportunities. in many firms, there are several very critical "must-win" opportunities each year. The firm can give these special attention in its business development approach.

  • Manage quality of current projects. The quality of the work being done today by the firm is a key contributor to the amount of work the firm will do in the future. If the firm wants to succeed with business development, it sure be sure it has outstanding quality control and customer satisfaction measurement processes.

  • Recognize/reward people for business development success. Some professionals love to do business development and to get the rewards success at it provides. Others need to be helped with compensation or other rewards or recognition. How you compensate people will affect the intensity of their commitment to succeeding at business development.


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