Rating the marketing function


BD and marketing teams in professional services firms today are larger, more sophisticated and frequently global. They include generalist and specialist roles, sitting in both centralised and distributed functions across firms. Other roles – like pricing, project and process management, technology and innovation – plug into marketing, while BD and marketing professionals increasingly prove their abilities to move into these other specialist areas too.

This reflects what we see daily: BD and marketing is not only one of the busiest business teams, it is also critical to the smooth and profitable running of the professional services sector.

But for all their worth, how do firms show that BD and marketing teams are truly valued?

Recognising value


Salaries represent the simplest way of rewarding value. And it is one in which the professional services sector rarely struggles to prove its credentials. In law, for example, business services salaries are generally highly competitive with most firms also offering discretionary bonus schemes that increase with seniority.

But compensation is never the best indicator of recognition. In our view, the clearest evidence of how much firms value their BD and marketing teams can be found in the investment they make in building teams and offering candidates genuine and long-lasting career opportunities.

In the legal profession, the scope for building a fulfilling BD and marketing career has broadened considerably. Joining law in a marketing capacity now offers candidates a full career-development ladder – from entry-level roles right up to ‘Head of’ and Director level positions, who typically today have a seat on the leadership board.

A candidate joining a global firm as a Marketing and BD Executive is likely to be involved in all activity from assisting in client pitches and proposals to managing social media channels and project managing campaigns/initiatives. From there, though, they can look forward to a wide choice of paths – from specialising in areas like key account management, industry sectors, and strategic bids and proposals, to focusing on digital marketing, communications, brand development, thought leadership and social media. Alternatively, they may cross over into other parts of business services like project management, innovation, technology or central management. 

At more senior levels, we are seeing teams growing and new roles opening up. For example, we have seen firms hiring Commercial/Panel Managers – to work with the bids and account management/BD teams on panel appointments for their clients. Another rising role is in BD and marketing operations, acting as a trusted advisor to the business in all aspects of global marketing operations. Typical responsibilities include overseeing central functions such as bids, CRM, technology, shared services centres, budget management and ensuring that not only are BD and marketing teams working at their optimum with the support that they need, but that all processes across the firm demonstrate best practice. It’s a great role for a marketeer who wants to do something a little different.

Investment too has gone into sophisticated internal and external marketing training programmes. Some firms even have their own ‘BD university’ offering training schemes to marketeers on a wide range of topics including sales, relationship management pitching, creative writing, plus sessions with PSLs and lawyers to better understand their area of focus or other parts of the business. As firms have grown, international secondments are also becoming more common, giving a global dimension to BD and marketing practice.

Supportive mind-set


Firms are more open-minded about finding ways to meet career aspirations. Firms know that the best talent is in high demand, so they are keen to show off how much they can offer to retain good people. That means that if someone wants to take a different direction within the marketing and BD team, not only are there more avenues for people to follow, but firms will help them to succeed if it is appropriate. An example is the increase we are seeing in job-share arrangements as firms look at different ways to hold onto talent who want to work more flexibly.

Across professional services, there will always be more that firms can do to recognise individuals and teams. Better internal communication can help articulate the contribution made by people across the firm in terms of project wins or positive client feedback. But overall, BD and marketing in the professional services sector has changed massively as firms have increasingly recognised the value of the professionals within it – and as they have supported their development.

BD and marketing professionals can change the perception of what businesses can deliver. And it’s why they are increasingly recognised as lynchpins around which the modern professional services sector can grow.

Click here to view a PDF of the article as it appeared in PM, PM Forum's magazine.



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