Is your firm’s business development dependent upon the individual actions of your partners and managers? Looking for something more streamlined and consistent?
Yes, there is a better way.
While many partners and managers do a fairly good job drumming up new business, we recognize that well, life happens. People get busy and sometimes they don’t follow up as quickly as they could have and that business opportunity slips away …
Each firm has different business development strategies – this we know. But we also know that implementing a practice management system like TCPM or Microsoft Dynamics CRM can automate your workflow and make your life a whole lot easier – whether you are cross-selling, re-selling, up-selling or new selling. The process becomes predictable and consistent.
One of the challenges many firms face is a lack of consistency in their pipeline for new and existing business. This is one of the first things a CRM system gives you. It also offers an ability to manage a pipeline and a firm wide sales process that is team-driven, not siloed. It provides a platform to look at all the potential opportunities, the next step for those opportunities to become sales and the individual who’s responsible and, therefore accountable.
If firms do not yet have a structured sales methodology, it can be a dramatic cultural change to transition into using one that is managed well. When you implement an automated workflow you can set up each stage and type of opportunity – whether it’s new or reoccurring business, in accordance to your firm’s needs. You can choose what strategies and functions you want to use and grow into the system over time.
Say for instance you are scouting a prospect. You can set your workflow up, make an initial call within 24 hours of the lead and simultaneously schedule a conflict of interest check to verify this is approved business to pursue. With this type of workflow you can set up a prompt for responsible parties to follow up within a day – regardless if the lead comes from online or an individual. Someone with authority within the firm will be reminded to make that call. This task will be on the calendar where it will sit until the call is made and the individual acknowledges success or failure with that prospect.
The great thing about setting up an automated workflow system through CRM or TCPM is that if your partner or manager gets busy (which we all know happens) time passes and that opportunity begins to age, workflow can also be waiting for a completion of events. If that follow up contact is not completed, let’s say two days after, that task can be reassigned to another individual and the system will send you an alert to remind you to do so. This is most likely a process many firms would go through anyway, but with CRM or TCPM consistency offers a predictable response – and there is less room for individuals dropping the ball.
It’s always ideal if a firm knows how they want to manage their sales process in advance – as the more this process is defined upfront the more quickly the benefits of cross-selling, up-selling and new selling will be realized. But there is a tremendous benefit to firms who want to grow into the system. CRM and TCPM are scalable and grow with you as your team’s needs evolve. And who doesn’t want a more empowered business development team?
For firms who decide to use TCPM or CRM it helps to refine the very best practices they have already discovered. It also helps those younger CPAs learn business development– as it is an automated institution of knowledge of a firm’s insight. It provides an extra level of assurance as those younger staff members go through training on the way to the partner track and it creates a long-term transition plan for more veteran members on their way to retirement.
In addition, implementing automated workflow indirectly works as a relationship management tool with clients – providing reminders to your clients once the current engagement is over. What better way to remind your clients about their business for next year than with an email you don’t even have to think twice about sending. In a very subtle way, it provides partners with follow up reminders to look ahead and plan for those upcoming projects, while also nurturing client satisfaction.
Investigate how you can create a more consistent workflow with TCPM or Microsoft CRM. We’re ready when you are.