It’s all about client focus…

There has been a paradigm shift in expectation regarding how to service clients; those expectations must be met. The latest PM Forum conference theme, ‘Sharpen your client focus’, made me think about what marketing and business development strategy is being applied to help service clients in order to add ‘real’ value and better support fee earners in what is becoming an unpredictable world to do business.
These are my four essential tips to make integrated marketing and BD work best so that client focus is sharpened and a competitive advantage maintained.

Honest and genuine relationships
How well do we really know our clients? Do we know them well enough to enquire about what is going on in their world? If not then perhaps think about forming a personal relationship with them; in the long run this will benefit both parties and will allow for a closer, easier to manage relationship. An integrated approach would see a key account manager making sure that fee earners are finding ways to push this personal approach.

Understanding technology as value added
The way we work is changing. Clients are demanding innovative solutions to working practices and are using technology as a catalyst around digital transformation. It is crucial to understand what tools are available and are being used in-house that can be offered to clients so they can also reap the benefits. This is one of the best ways to add value to a client relationship. A key account manager (or the BD team) is required to ensure this is not only developed with the client, but also to track what impact it has generated.

Sector approach
Having the ability to speak a client’s language and know their marketplace is more important than ever. The best way to achieve this is a sector approach to identify key trends. This is where thought leadership is at its most impactful and not just a buzzword. It is what makes a fee earner stand out as an advisor. The role of sector based marketing and BD is to transcend and connect all practice groups and provides the best avenue to ‘cross-sell’. In conjunction, the role of tailoring sector based initiatives towards specific clients while supporting fee earners would fall to a key account manager and BD.

Commercial acumen and accountability
The biggest challenge of ‘fluffy’ marketing and campaigns is demonstrating what return on investment they have achieved. Clients are demanding more commercial based proposals and solutions as well as associated value. It is here where fee earners require marketing and BD to think outside the box, while also being accountable to ensure activities result in fees and profitability.

Amit Champaneri, Committee member, PM Forum Yorkshire