The partnership model at accountancy firms is a ‘win win’ for clients, because it means even the most senior accountants are hands on. But because accountants spend so much time on client work, there are other areas of the business that maybe don’t receive as much attention as they should.
Take business development – it is often not the top priority at accounting firms because of the focus on providing excellent service. This is where new business leadership comes in. Having a senior partner to have ownership of sales keeps the practice focused on it – the right personality to provide guidance to the team, help them develop their pipeline and assist in closing new business deals.
But sales leaders can’t do this job alone – because of their day job and the likelihood that they will still have client responsibilities, they need as much assistance as possible. A CRM system pulls the different strands of an accountancy sales process together to provide the sales leader with the information and tools he or she needs to do the job:
- Managing pipeline and forecasting: CRM can help sales heads analyse what is happening across the pipeline – the conversion rate, the win and loss ratio and badge deals according to what stage they are at in the cycle, or what member of the team owns it. This type of management information is valuable – for example, if the conversion rate is 30%, the sales leader can forecast how much of next quarter’s pipeline might convert.
- Analysing sales team performance: using CRM, accountancy sales leaders can look at the performance of individual sales people, which at an accountancy practice, might be accountants or support staff with sales responsibilities. By tracking activity levels, meeting reports, deal planning and conversion rates, the sales leader can see what is and isn’t working. For example, one team member might have a lower number of sales but a high conversion rate, so they might need help managing workload, whilst another might have a low conversion rate so they might need training. CRM provides an important insight as it tracks good performance and identifies areas for improvement.
- Integrating sales and marketing: CRM allows the sales leader to define what a marketing qualified lead looks like – for example, targeting CFOs at medium sized manufacturing companies – which in turn influences the marketing strategy and ensures the practice’s marketing function is engaging in sales driven behaviour. The sales leader can also set lead generation targets. For example, if the conversion rate is 33%, the average deal is £10,000 and the average sales cycle is three months, there needs to be £1.5million of qualified leads next quarter in order to convert £500,000 of business, so marketing and sales need to generate 150 new opportunities to fill the pipeline.
CRM gives sales leaders the insight and transparency they need to help them formulate the right strategy, execute it and learn from it. It means the sales process becomes a continual cycle of improvement – sales leaders and their teams can monitor and understand their performance, learn from their mistakes and share best practice.
To learn how CRM can support your business development team at your accountancy firm, read our white paper A Practical Guide to Finding New Clients or contact one of our team on: +44 118 3030 100