<<

. 26
( 92 .)



>>

The presentation is where the “rubber meets the road” in the business devel-
opment process.

OWN THE ROOM AND THE MEETING. Always arrive at least 20 minutes
early to allow time to check your appearance, set up and test your equip-
ment, and decide where you and your team should sit or stand in the room.
Sometimes, a prospective client may have requested presentations from
several firms. If you arrive early, it is surprising how often you will find a
competitor ™s materials left on a conference room table. This allows you an
opportunity to glance at your competition and to make sure you differentiate
yourself.
Once your prospect arrives and you have made all of the appropriate in-
troductions, recheck to determine how long you have to state your case.
You have rehearsed and have your presentation down to the minute. How-
ever, you always must be prepared to truncate your presentation and adapt
to changes in circumstances. It is better to know at the beginning than to
have your prospect interrupt you on his or her way out the door to another
meeting.
141
Marketing and Business Development

CLOSE THE LOOP. Be sure to restate your understanding of the prospec-
tive client™s issues, the budget, timing, when results can be expected, and the
manner in which the working relationship will be structured. Your goal
should be for you and your prospect to be clear on these issues when the
meeting ends. Mention again how much you want the business.

Postpresentation
Follow-up and pursuit after the presentation will help close the deal or, at a
minimum, glean learnings from the client to provide improvement in future
performances.

MANNERS MATTER. At this point, the firm must plan on waiting for the
client™s response. Send a thank-you e-mail and any requested materials in a
prompt manner. Also, make sure to answer any questions that may arise. If
you do not hear back from the prospect within an agreed period of time, the
firm should not give up. Stay in touch with the prospect, alternating between
leaving a friendly telephone message and sending e-mails.
Never act annoyed or impatient because of the lack of response. Seeming
curious is an appropriate approach. Remember, while closing the business
may be your top priority, hiring you may be at the bottom of the prospect™s
list. At some point, sooner or later, the target client will need the services of
the firm, and ruining a long-term relationship because of short-term impa-
tience is a bad choice.

LEARN FROM FEEDBACK. Requesting feedback is another technique.
Regardless of whether you land the business, ask what the prospective
client thought of your presentation, what was learned, what was missing,
and how you can improve. We all like to be asked for our opinion. This dis-
cussion allows you to show your respect for the prospective client”and the
process”while gaining vital insight for your next presentation.


Summary
There are numerous models and techniques that successful professionals use
to market themselves and their firms in an effort to develop business. How-
ever, there are a few essential points, including organization, diligence, and
focus. Given the cost of human capital to the professional services firm, it is
imperative to take an organized and diligent approach to ensure that you
maximize the firm™s resources. Further, remember to have patience. Devel-
oping business can be a long and arduous process. Do not expect immediate
results, and be prepared for the long haul. Additionally, perseverance is a
non-negotiable quality of any successful rainmaker. It is one of the ways you
142 The Front Office: Driving Sales and Growth

can separate yourself from your competition. Finally, preparation and focus
in pitching new business is critical and lack of preparation can rapidly undo
many weeks of business development effort.

NOTES
1. Charles Richards,
2. Rob Levinson, “Help! I Got the Meeting, Now What Should I Do?” Wall Street
Journal”Startup Journal, accessed March 2004. Available from http://www
.startupjournal.com/columnists/marketing/20031203-marketing.html.
6
Service Line and Intellectual
Property Creation
THOMAS MARBACH


They are all people who are in trouble about something and want a little enlightenment.I listen
to their story, they listen to my comments, and then I pocket my fee.
”Sherlock Holmes1

The business world is splitting into two types of companies: those that have intellectual property
and those who do not.
”Gordon V. Smith and Russell L. Parr2




This chapter presents two major elements of the professional services firm™s
creative process, the ideation and maturation of services that are offered to
prospective clients as products or firm proprietary knowledge, and the sub-
sequent protection of intellectual property that often comprises the essence
of these services. Exhibit 6.1 depicts an overview of this creative process.


Why This Topic Is Important
In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle™s first tale of his infamous consulting detective,
Holmes informs Watson that it does not matter to him whether the earth or-
bits the sun or the moon. Watson sees Holmes as a paradox. Holmes™s igno-
rance of topics such as the earth™s orbit is beyond comprehension while his
knowledge of seemingly minor and unrelated topics is extraordinary. As
Holmes reasons, he is merely being practical, and in his eminently practical
143
144 The Front Office: Driving Sales and Growth



Service offerings Intellectual property


Propose idea Identify




Commit support Raise awareness




Develop and test Protect




Launch and grow Monitor




Exhibit 6.1 The Service Firm™s Creative Process



view, he believes it is the skillful worker who focuses solely on relevant
knowledge. Similarly, Albert Einstein was reputed, when asked for his phone
number, to have looked it up in the phone book. When asked why he did not
know his own phone number, Einstein allegedly replied “ Why should I mem-
orize something, when I know where to find it?”
In deciding where to focus the firm™s service development efforts, the
skillful professional services firm will attempt to determine its relevant
knowledge, how to offer this knowledge so that the marketplace deems it of
value, and thus where to focus the firm™s new service development effort.
Further, the firm will make efforts to ensure that the knowledge is instu-
tionalized so that the firm professionals “know where to find it.” To this end,
the firm should endeavor to understand key dynamics that represent the
firm™s challenge, the client™s challenge, and the firm™s response to these chal-
lenges. Three related questions arise:

1. What forces are impacting the firm™s development of new services?
2. What are client organizations experiencing and how are they
responding?
3. How will the firm respond as it relates to developing new services and
products for its clients?
145
Service Line and Intellectual Property Creation

The Firm™s Challenge
Professional services firms face multiple forces that drive the need for inno-
vation in the services they offer to the marketplace. These forces include
competition, market trends, regulatory changes, and rapid improvements in
technology. In addition, the services firm™s clients continue to adjust their
buying tendencies over time, as well as respond to their own marketplace
pressures. These adjustments include: (1) the capability/desire to provide
their own solutions, (2) changes in discretionary spending levels due to mar-
ket economics, and (3) the extent of client deal-making or shopping around,
especially as choices in services are deemed to be more widely available.
Combined, these forces lead to difficulties in retaining long-term customers
that consistently buy predictable levels of professional services and pressures
to create new and enhance existing services that will lead to steady streams
of revenue.


The Client™s Challenge
Change is as inevitable for client organizations as it is for the professional ser-
vices firm. As the new millennium dawned, noted marketing expert and the
S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the
Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Philip Kotler3
identified general trends in the way companies are responding to their cus-
tomers™ increasing demands. Kotler ™s analysis is shown in Exhibit 6.2.


The Firm™s Response
Professional services firms are in the sometimes unenviable and yet poten-
tially profitable position of responding simultaneously to their own as well as
their clients™ challenges. In developing a response, a firm may elect to develop
its new service offerings using a mixture of reactionary, opportunistic, and
forward-looking strategic approaches. These can be a function of work the
firm is performing for current clients as well as work it hopes to do for clients
in the future. Although described as three separate approaches, many firms
find it desirable to blend the following approaches, as there are certainly
valid reasons to adopt a portion of each approach.

CLIENT-BASED OPPORTUNITY. This approach views the development of
new services as a reactionary response to existing client work. Existing en-
gagements serve as a model for new service offering development. One exam-
ple is the use of existing client projects to codify best practices to support the
delivery of future engagements. A second example is the use of multiple sim-
ilar engagements to justify the establishment of a new service line, practice,
146 The Front Office: Driving Sales and Growth

TREND FROM TO

Reengineering Functional departments Process teams

Outsourcing Internal services and goods External if it can be done
cheaper or better

e-commerce Brick and mortar store-fronts Internet for products, specs,
and face-to-face terms, prices

Benchmarking World-class Best practices

Alliances Winning alone Networks of partner firms

Partner-suppliers Many suppliers Fewer but more reliable

Market-centered Product emphasis Industry segment

Global and local Local only Both global and local

Decentralized Managed from top Local level control

Exhibit 6.2 Organizational Responses and Adjustments


or business unit. This approach has the advantage of being relatively low cost
and highly successful because the service offering is field-proven and clear
empirical demand exists for the service. Disadvantages include the risk that
this approach is unlikely to lead the firm into innovative service areas, and
there also may be issues with scalability due to firm constraints and tenden-
cies. Furthermore, it is likely that other competing services firms will have
identified the same need and will be moving to create similar service offer-
ings, resulting in rapid competitive parity in the area.

COMPLIANCE-BASED OPPORTUNITY. This approach views the develop-
ment of new services as an opportunistic response to client needs as these
organizations strive to respond to changing regulatory, statutory, and compli-
ance demands. Examples of these demands include financial reporting
requirements and state and federal legislation (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley compli-
ance, or the Year 2000 system compliance problem). This approach has the
advantage that nearly all client organizations face some need for outside help
especially as the compliance burden continues to grow. The disadvantage is
that it can take years to get individual employees up to speed on the intrica-
cies of a given industry and its associated nuances. Furthermore, there has
been a proven “gold-rush” mentality for some of the larger compliance-based
service initiatives, making it difficult for a firm to have its services stand out
from the crowd. While this pursuit can be very profitable, it can be highly
competitive as well.
147
Service Line and Intellectual Property Creation

MARKET-BASED OPPORTUNITY. This approach views service develop-
ment as a forward-looking response to anticipated market changes. In the
vein of a venture capital model, the firm chooses among competing ideas and
supports those ideas that are deemed most advantageous. Competing ideas,
for example, may include modifying existing services to enter new industries
or introducing completely new services. The advantage of this approach is
that it can be growth-oriented especially if existing capabilities are included
in the new service offering. The primary disadvantage is that it may become
inordinately expensive especially if the firm chooses the wrong services to
invest its resources. Building new service lines without market validation can
be risky. Firms considering pursuit of market-based opportunities should ex-
plore ways to validate demand for the service line with potential customers
prior to investing significant capital in the new offering.
The remainder of this chapter is organized into two sections. The first sec-
tion provides rationale, context, and suggested processes and roles for support-

<<

. 26
( 92 .)



>>