This firm was growing at an average of 12 percent a year for over 10 years. Annual revenue was $18 million and the firm had always been on the cutting edge of growth approaches. Now they were ready to take their growth expertise to the next level. Their new focus was on growing more efficiently and effectively, while eliminating activities that wasted time and didn’t contribute to their growth. They also wanted to shed smaller clients, move up-market and reduce their reliance on their primary client industry, which accounted for two-thirds of their revenue. The firm was looking for across-the-board success and hoped to increase revenue contribution from all service lines and industries.
Gale worked with the firm to implement the comprehensive Practice Growth Model℠. This process began with enhancing their implementation of segments and industries. The firm analyzed their revenues through revenue segmentation and selected leaders for each segment. Segment leaders’ compensation plans were tied to success at meeting revenue and profitability goals for their own segments. She suggested a system to track the quarterly revenue contribution of every service line and industry, then coached leaders to find the unique strategy in each of their segments. This involved understanding the concepts of product management and the linkage between their services, distribution channels and buyer groups. Finding and confirming their buyer groups helped them determine where to concentrate their energies. This effort ultimately allowed the firm to establish a number of new buyer groups within both current and previously untouched industries, as well as to create novel channels of distribution. Finally, identifying the buyers’ issues was the foundation of innovating the firm’s existing service mix, adding several non-traditional services.
The next phase focused on current opportunities, through implementation of a firm-wide pipeline process, with training and coaching in landing large opportunities.
The firm also strove to maximize current client development through a quarterly Client Opportunity Planning brainstorming process with segment leaders and client teams. The strategy in this effort was to assess the largest clients and those at risk in order to enhance relationship development, retention rates and revenue.
Gale also analyzed the firm’s marketing and business development resources to determine their best and highest use and ensure proper role assignment. By aligning marketing and business development resources, marketing segued from a lower-level tactical response team to a key driver at the forefront of growth. The marketing team now leads and supports service lines and helps niche leaders grasp the firm’s marketing strategies. They also drive the pipeline process, as well as Client Opportunity Planning. Now marketing and partner leaders learn from each other and work in a partnership to drive growth.
The firm has seen a shift in mindset where all players have a defined position and play on the same team. Everyone contributes to overall success, whether it’s running a service line or industry, managing the Client Opportunity Planning process or closing an opportunity with a carefully selected team.
Over approximately two years, the win rate at this firm exploded from 29 to 73 percent. In difficult times, when the best large firms grew four percent, this firm grew 18 percent – over four times the rate considered top-notch. In an environment where many firms were struggling, most of their almost $40 million was organic. Among their five key services, annual growth was highest in consulting at 68 percent and lowest in technology at eight percent. Growth in the firm’s five key industries ranged from 13 percent all the way to 92 percent. Most firms have a rate of 5-15 percent for pipeline revenue as a percent of annual revenue; theirs is consistently 25-35 percent. The major market segment comprising two-thirds of their revenue now accounts for a more balanced 50 percent. With a huge pipeline, a very strong win rate and growth in all service lines and industries, this firm is a true model of success.