Sales is probably not accountants favourite part of running a practice. Cold calling, networking, building a pipeline – most accountants prioritise client work, drafting ledgers, conducting audits and working on their clients’ year end accounts.
Interestingly, when it comes to giving companies strategic advice on how to grow their businesses, maximise efficiencies and streamline, accountants always come top of the tree of the most trusted business advisers. So it’s probably fair to say that when it comes to running their own firms, they don’t always follow their own advice.
For those accountants who are not where they should be in the business development stakes, there are three key things to think about when shaping up their approach to sales:
A dedicated business development strategy and process: new business is probably quite disjointed at a lot of practices. But a clear strategy and a cohesive approach will help accountancy practices get a step ahead in the new business stakes. It has to be a cross practice strategy, incorporating all elements of the business – marketing, sales, finance – everyone needs to work together to achieve objectives and the process has to be transparent and the efficacy needs to be measured.
Embracing technology: selling is a combination of art and science. The art is the skill of the business person in building relationships and communicating the benefits of the accountancy services your practice offers. And the science is definitely the technology. The accountancy industry is probably not one at the very cutting edge of technological innovation – spread sheets are still very much in use. But a single platform not only gives practices visibility of the effectiveness of its new business operation, it provides actionable insight that new business teams can work with.
A dedicated business development team: a dedicated team can be instrumental in taking new business to the next level. Even if the budget doesn’t stretch to a whole new team, having people within the practice who are tasked with new business activities and a senior partner to lead the effort will really help.
A specific strategy, a dedicated team and all of this underpinned by technology will ensure accountancy practices are in better new business shape. And any technology in particular? CRM is an ideology many practices might not have even considered. But it’s extremely effective at helping accountants find new clients, develop their pipeline, manage their business teams and ultimately, help them grow the business.
To learn more about how CRM can help you run a successful advertising sales function, read our white paper A Practical Guide to Finding New Clients or contact one of our team on: +44 118 3030 100