Challenge:

This $70 million firm with 35 partners in 10 locations was seeing a lot of opportunities for new business. This was great news, but with no tracking system in place, the managing partner had no visibility into the firm-wide opportunity development, and their overall win rate was purely anecdotal. The firm had no way to institutionalize growth or to know where new opportunities existed. This firm was the perfect candidate for a pipeline so they could spot, track and maximize growth opportunities and make sure that they closed as much business as possible.

Once on board, they wanted to get a pipeline process up and running as quickly as possible. They didn’t have two or three years to implement a CRM; they needed a system in place yesterday. They also wanted to drive individual accountability and push forward with existing opportunities while also tracking progress over time, getting instant analysis of the largest opportunities and seeing where the firm’s human resources were allocated at any given moment.

Solution:

Gale helped them create a very easy-to-use, short format tool so partners can see all the firm’s large opportunities at any point. She instituted a strong revenue management system as a historical record and also as an estimation tool to assess the pipeline’s strength and project future revenue. With that in place, they saw that their opportunities had diminished due to economic conditions. But now that they were tracking the data efficiently, they were aware of this trend and could respond accordingly.

In addition to the pipeline, Gale encouraged the firm to establish communication protocols for partners and staff to take advantage of all their relationships in a coordinated way. In this fashion, if someone at the firm has a relationship with a prospect, that team member can be brought onto the opportunity development team at the beginning so there are no surprises half-way through the process. Every other week for half an hour, all 35 partners review the pipeline together. They discuss what is working and what is not so they can learn from each other, and in the process drive higher win rates.

Results:

Once the firm could see their wins and losses over time, they could observe seasonal variations as well as analyze the pipeline’s strength and gauge their overall successes with precision. The firm can project future human and technical resource needs by analyzing the opportunities in the pipeline. With proper reporting, better opportunity pursuit and enhanced win techniques, their win rate doubled in only a year to over 60 percent!

Most importantly, with Gale’s guidance they have created a firm-wide growth culture. Growth is their number one priority, and with renewed focus on it, positive peer pressure ensued. More people are involved in opportunity pursuit because it’s culturally important and a way to earn recognition. The pipeline now serves as the firm’s financial statement of opportunity management and is as important as its balance sheet or income statement. This firm now has both the focus and the systems it needs to make healthy and sustainable pipeline growth a reality for years to come.