Enabling the Next Generation of Business Developers

Today’s top talent is not only interested in compensation but in skills development that helps them advance through their careers. Is your firm enabling the next generation of talent to become effective business developers? 

While firms expect young professionals to be adept at industry-specific skills, they lack a solid groundwork for becoming effective sellers of your services. And, if your professional services firm is like most, it’s lacking a systematic approach to business development that will help ensure their – and your firm’s – success.  

Traditionally rainmakers in professional services firms were counted on to bring in much of the firm’s business and impart their rainmaking skills to the next generation of potential rainmakers. As the landscape became more competitive, firms hired business professionals to help manage marketing and the business and client development process.  

In both the traditional and current model, a firm’s seller-doers are ultimately responsible for selling their services and are typically ill-prepared to excel at it. 

The sales funnel illustrates the business development challenge traditional professional services firms face. 

At the top of the funnel, marketers bring in marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) that could turn into sales-qualified leads (SQLs), and someday, sales.  At the bottom of the funnel, seller-doers organically generate more client business as they service existing clients. However, the middle of the funnel, where valuable leads need to be nurtured to transition into sales, is highly ignored because seller-doers lack a formal, systematic sales enablement system. 

Then, the last year and a half brought about additional challenges. Seller-doers navigated the digitization of their traditional billable work, distracting them from business development. In-person networking became less frequent, and prospective clients entered the sales funnel in new ways, requiring changes in marketing strategies. Client demand intensified, as did competition for top talent, forcing firms to find ways to meet the desires and developmental demands of the next generation of professionals. 

While each of these challenges continues to impact your firm, the last is the most important if you expect to retain your top talent. 

To attract and retain top talent, your firm must provide access to the technologies and skills that will support their career growth, and in turn, your firm. 

For you, that means providing the tools and skills necessary to consistently bring in new business and develop client business.   

What separates firms that thrive from those that stagnate is their willingness to approach sales and business development like corporations. Firms that offer seller-doers sustained sales, training, and support structures and leverage data to help manage and improve business development activities enjoy sustained, predictable results.   

The right sales enablement technology can play a significant role in helping you achieve business development success at your firm. A dormant CRM platform is not the solution. 

CRMs can be cumbersome for busy business developers to utilize, and they lack a simple system that guides the sales process. What’s more, a CRM alone does not teach the valuable business development skills that young business developers lack. 

If you truly want to enable the next generation of business developers, look for a sales enablement platform that meets these criteria:  

  • Simple to use 
  • Helps seller-doers identify and manage their most valuable leads  
  • Features automated reminders and tips that guide them through the next steps for each phase of business and client development 
  • Provides built-in e-Learning tools that teach the skills young professionals need for every step of the pipeline process 
  • Features dashboards that track performance and comprehensive data that informs strategic decisions about marketing and business development efforts 

Providing the right technology to keep the next generation of business developers engaged and prepared to contribute to your firm’s bottom line is key to your firm’s business development success.  Complementing that technology with on-going business development coaching will ensure consistent engagement and growth.