Business development and marketing departments have one common goal: growing the business. When these teams work together, accounting firms see increased visibility, growth, profitability and more.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Time and time again, we see teams working at odds, unclear about each other’s responsibilities or the value the other brings to the table.
This lack of integration leads to wasted efforts and lost opportunities. What’s more, it may be hurting your chances of retaining existing clients and gaining new business.
It’s imperative that business development and marketing come together to find ways to support their common goal.
Understanding the players
Both business development and marketing focus on expanding your firm’s client base. However, confusion sometimes exists about each team’s responsibilities and strengths. This disconnect can make collaboration difficult.
Let’s briefly define each department and its responsibilities for the sake of this discussion.
Business development: Business development is the process of understanding a specific prospect’s needs, offering a tailored set of services to address them, and convincing the prospect to become a client. These professionals seek to form long-term partnerships, strategic relationships, and professional contacts. The same principles apply whether you have a business development team or the firm’s partners handle lead generation.
- Marketing: Marketing is the process of understanding a market’s needs, generating awareness for your firm’s services, and encouraging qualified prospects to reach out and request more information. Marketing professionals use research-driven techniques to develop messaging and collateral that communicates the benefits and capabilities of the firm.
More simply put, marketing is about generating qualified opportunities. Business development is about turning those opportunities into clients.
Why the gap?
It’s common for marketing and business development teams to work separately. Across the professional services industry, only a slight majority (54%) report their teams are strongly coordinated. This breakdown in collaboration can be costly for accounting firms.
Sometimes it’s just business as usual. There are no intentional opportunities for these two teams to communicate. And they might not realize how important it is that they do so.
It doesn’t have to be this way. These two departments need each other to be successful — and drive momentum for your firm.
Breaking down silos
Now that we have a better understanding of each team’s roles and how collaboration can be beneficial, the next question is, how can they work together? Fortunately, these two groups have plenty of opportunities for joint activities that align with client-focused priorities.
Here are four ways business development and marketing can work better together to increase engagement and drive growth: