Marketing Planning – where’s the business going to come from?


Any firm’s marketing and business development plan should start with a thorough understanding of your current business, clients and sources of new work. The first step is a breakdown of fee income.

Most firms can easily determine their fee income by department. But many struggle to identify the revenue breakdown within each department.For example, if your employment practice accounts for 10% of firm revenue, what specific services within that practice make up that 10%?That information, combined with an understanding of how the breakdown of revenue by service has changed from previous years and a prediction of how it will change in the year ahead will show you:

  • Where your reputation lies within the market

  • Areas of strength that are being under-utilized and may require marketing investment

  • Priority issues to focus on in the coming year

Undertaking a simple PESTEL (political economic, social, technological, environmental, legal) analysis can be a useful way to indentify the anticipated need for specific services in the coming year.

The next step is to analyze the sources of your work. There are a few critical issues to consider:

  • Do a small handful of clients make up a significant percentage of revenue?

  • How much work comes from existing clients?

  • How much comes from new clients each year?

  • How much work comes from referrals from other professionals and how much work is referred internally?

As with the breakdown of fee income by service, how do you expect your sources of revenue to change in the coming year? Which areas offer opportunity for improvement in 2010? How will you tackle these?

Finally, when looking at the breakdown of clients, do any patterns emerge which identify a typical client profile? Are you attracting clients from a particular sector, a certain size, geographical location or corporate structure which you can use to refine your marketing effort, cross-sell additional services and target new clients?

Clearly, understanding the source of your current and anticipated revenue streams will bring some immediate direction to your marketing and business development plans for 2010. It will also provide a basis for establishing some measurable objectives to benchmark your performance in the coming year. Finally, the process will help capture the breadth of work in a specific area which can be used on your web site or in new business proposals.

If you are not accurately tracking your fee income by service type or by source, you can still conduct this planning process, but, as part of your plans, be sure to put in place the procedures necessary to begin capturing this valuable information so you can make more informed decisions moving forward.

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