Marketing and Business Development can work together

We often hear the words marketing and business development uttered in the same breath, or even used synonymously. While these two departments certainly cover similar ground and ultimately contribute to the growth of a firm’s business, they can be quite different and should each have clear and distinct responsibilities. By clarifying what each department is responsible for and communicating these responsibilities up front, professional service firms can better play on the strengths of each department and have them collaborate with one another for greater success.

What is Marketing?

Marketing involves developing a strategic plan for the firm, establishing the firm’s overall message, benefits, and capabilities and making sure this information is consistently and accurately expressed through all communication. The marketing department should also be responsible for executing a number of strategic tactics including design of marketing materials and Web sites. The following are responsibilities that should fall with your marketing department and/or Marketing Director:

  • Create annual marketing plans and budgets.
  • Lead team marketing meetings and track progress towards reaching marketing goals.
  • Develop firm messaging and ensure consistency across all communication.
  • Create and maintain the firm’s visual brand to include logo, colors and fonts.
  • Help to evaluate firm strategy as well as service capabilities and make recommendations for bundling and/or expansion.
  • Create and oversee development of all collateral including: newsletters, direct mail, service sheets, alerts, white papers and more.
  • Develop and distribute news/press releases.
  • Create visibility for the firm. This includes working with teams to create story pitches and try to get them placed as well as pitching speaking engagements for the firm’s professionals.
  • Maintain and maximize the firm’s Web presence to include updated photos, collateral, news releases, content, bios, blogs and more. Monitor the effectiveness of the firm’s Web sites through analytics.
  • Put together proposals (often in conjunction with business development).
  • Run social media programs and training.
  • Continuously research best practices in marketing, especially with regard to electronic communication tools.
  • Create and maintain the firm database.
  • Maintain schedules, tasks, and calendars of events on firm Intranet.
  • Evaluate firm’s senior professionals on their marketing efforts and provide written feedback to the firm’s Managing Partner.
  • Spearhead firm events (in person and Webinars).
  • Create and maintain the firm’s client satisfaction survey program

What is Business Development?

For professional service firms, business development should have a stronger focus on developing partnerships and strategic relationships with other firms in order to bring in new clients. This might also include developing new markets, such as different geographic areas, or identifying new potential markets for an existing service. Here are a few responsibilities that you should expect your Business Development Specialist to cover:

  • Join trade association committees specified in the marketing plans and develop relationships.
  • Attend trade shows and make connections with prospects and potential referral sources.
  • Develop a top 50 referral source list and work to develop solid relationships with each.
  • Develop a top 50 prospect list and work towards filling the pipeline with meetings and opportunities.
  • Assist team members with their business development efforts (working their referral sources and prospects).
  • Setting referral and prospect meetings for and with the professionals.
  • Conduct business development training for firm professionals (group and one-on-one).
  • Make suggestions to the team about new venues for making connections that will lead to sector growth.
  • Evaluate firm’s senior professionals on their business development efforts and provide written feedback to Managing Partner.
  • Assist sector teams in getting prospects and referral sources to attend firm programs and events.
  • Make recommendations to marketing about forms of communication which will make the sales process more effective.
  • Assist with the follow-up of any direct mail efforts through emailing and cold calls.
  • Work with the firm’s senior professionals to get additional business from existing clients.

Working Together

Once your firm has developed an understanding of what tasks each department is responsible for, it becomes easier to see how marketing and business development can work together and support each other, so that they are complementary departments, rather than separate entities. In our experience supporting our clients we have found that events and programs and direct mail campaigns are some of the most conducive areas for marketing and business development to partner together. For events, the marketing department can execute messaging, collateral and mailings; and the business development department would do the follow-up and help to get attendance and follow-up after the programs. The process should be similar for direct mail campaigns. Marketing does the design, messaging and mailings and business development should do the follow-up to set meetings with prospects. The proposal process is another ideal area for these two departments to partner together. Business development should inform marketing about “hot button” topics and strategies that will speak to the prospects and marketing can incorporate these ideas into the proposal template and design.

These are just a few areas that lend themselves to collaboration, but the opportunities are plentiful. Have you had a unique and/or successful partnership between your marketing and business development departments? How do you view the relationship between these two groups? We’d love to hear your stories!