Existing Clients – The key opportunity for growth
The recent HHMC Business Intention’s Survey provides a comprehensive overview of the past and potential trends for executive placement firms in Australasia. One question in this survey focused on the area of further growth. Overwhelmingly, the key opportunity nominated for profit growth over the next two years is to upsell to existing clients.
I thought it worthwhile exploring this further. Upselling to existing clients doesn’t just happen. A client plan helps identify the opportunities within a client’s organisation as well as the gaps in essential relationships or product offerings. To remind you of your thinking in this area, here are Oconsult’s Top 10 Tips to develop a client plan:
- Start with one client: You can then tweak your processes to roll out with subsequent ones. Select a client organisation that you know has some growth and is vital to your firm.
- Company backgrounder: What do you know about this client organisation? Note their industry, financials, number of employees, key customers, competitors and company culture. You should also be familiar with their business goals and how this impacts your business niche.
- Industry: Think big – What trends are happening in the industry overall? How does this impact your client? How does your client compare to its competitors?
- Who do you know? Drawing up an organisational chart will help identify who you have a good working relationship and where you need to develop further. Think bigger than just the client organisation – also consider their suppliers and ex-staff: these may be relationships worth leveraging.
- Sizing your client: Note your business with your client over the past 12-24 months. What products and services do they buy from you? Have they purchased elsewhere? By drawing up a matrix, you will identify your gaps and know and calculate the value of this client.
- Revenue snapshot: What is the potential business for the coming 12 months with your client? Of course, in recruitment, we can’t always predict the needs in 6 months time; however, we can use past trends (such as staff turnover) to identify potential. Consider where you can cross-sell – ie: contracting and recruitment. Where can you increase the value model? – ie: moving from contingent to retained recruitment.
- Risks and Barriers: What hurdles will you face to maximise potential revenue? This may include entrenched competitors, non-existent relationships or price sensitivity,
- Milestones: So what are you now going to do? How will you overcome the barriers? Will you introduce new products or services? What is your timeline?
- Resource allocation: Who is responsible for meeting each of the milestones? Who in your firm will be the first point of contact for this client, to ensure that you meet your milestones? What happens if you get all the business? How will you manage delivery?
- Measure: No plan is solid if you don’t include metrics to ensure you are on track. To keep momentum, measure both financial and soft targets on a monthly basis.
A client plan helps to direct energy and focus without the haphazard scattergun approach that business development often takes. By selecting just one client (perhaps per consultant), you can craft a process that works well within your firm. This process is then repeatable for more clients. You will manage the whole client by identifying key influencers and decision makers, and where there are gaps, implementing a focused strategy. Measuring your success with each client plan is more than just sales, but is incremental relationship building. Overall, planning will put you on the path to success.