In a piece first published by PSMG’s Centrum Magazine, Totum’s Marketing & Business Development consultant Jenny Owen argues the case for excellence in research across the marketing and business development function.

An important component of the ever-evolving marketing and business development (BD) team is providing up-to-the-minute business intelligence: understanding your firm’s strengths and weaknesses, client developments, and practice and sector opportunities.

But to deliver this degree of business insight that then translates into meaningful action, it’s also vital to proactively structure a marketing and BD function that has the right skills and capabilities in place to support sustained growth. Nor is this easy as firms and teams have rapidly grown both in terms of numbers and geographic spread.

Global and US firms, for instance, do not just have to consider the skills needed but where in the world to place talent, both to best support partners and from a commercial cost perspective. Ensuring a function is more than the sum of its parts, no matter where it operates, is a complex and on-going process.

No wonder then clients often ask us for advice about the make-up of marketing and BD teams as we see them operating in the market. They seek insights into new and emerging roles, how to scope out such roles, salary expectations, and the trends that might affect how they should structure the function and locate teams moving forwards. This information has become vital across all business services functions, but particularly perhaps for marketing and BD, which typically wields considerable size and influence in a modern professional services firm.

Dedicated research

Such insights into functional developments have become so important we recently launched Totum’s dedicated research division to support firms with the regular market information that helps inform decision making around roles, team structures, compensation strategies and more.

Our most recent research in this capacity was our ‘Business Services Reward Survey 2023’, which delivered to participants legal-market-specific compensation data on salaries, bonuses, and benefits across all business services functions.

The research findings revealed the significant breadth and depth of today’s marketing and BD functions. Salaries were considered across roles that encompassed a huge variety of expertise, including practice and sector-specific BD, bids/proposal management, brand/content management, client relationship/account management, digital marketing, internal communications, marketing operations, marketing technology and systems, PR, communications, and sales. The list goes on.

Interestingly, given the theme of this piece, we noted roles in business analysis and research, an area in which we have been placing more talent recently. Such roles typically focus on data analytics to support client development, provide analysis/insight on industry trends and developments, conduct in-depth competitor analysis, as well deliver analysis of their firm’s performance in the market highlighting potential opportunities.

The span of job titles at all levels of seniority revealed marketing and BD functions that are highly sophisticated, with competitive compensation packages denoting the team’s critical importance to the modern professional services business. The findings reflected the rise in dedicated roles focused on digital, product marketing, panel management and social media, with a shifting trend from traditional bids and proposals functions towards longer-term pipeline management and pursuits, including looking at alternative pricing models.

Attracting pre-manager talent

In addition, our research showed the attractive compensation and reward strategies for those in the earlier stages of their marketing and BD careers – with bonuses and a wide range of benefits offered to those at assistant and executive level. With fewer people joining firms in 2020/21, sourcing pre-manager talent is more challenging, but this means that those joining teams at more junior levels have considerable opportunity to make their mark.

This was particularly apparent to us in another project we undertook earlier in 2023 – our second annual Rising Star Award, recognising the achievements of marketing and BD professionals at the early stages of their careers. Our winner this year, Amy Groark at Gerald Eve, and our highly commended nominee, Naomi Jones at Shakespeare Martineau, stood out for their ability to step-up and use their initiative to make a positive difference.

With Amy, it was in the field of PR, managing the firm’s strategy and requirements, enabling it to sell its successes; while Naomi impressed for her ability to manage and develop the firm’s data, particularly around major CRM projects. Both entries pointed to marketing and BD functions that have achieved a more scientific and confident approach to markets – with junior-level roles playing a key role in the shift to a digital-first environment.

In this fast-moving landscape, we’ll endeavour to deliver intelligence on the developments that will define the marketing and BD teams of the future.

We have plans to publish more research dedicated to this pivotal business services function, around team size, structure and the roles that are shaping the capabilities of the next age of marketing and BD in the professional services sector. We look forward to uncovering the trends that will continue to drive exciting progress across our sector.

To read the full article as originally published in PSMG, click here.

To speak further about Marketing & Business Development research and/or opportunities, contact [email protected]

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