If the only time we turn attention to marketing, business development or sales is when there is a fear things might be slowing down — or worse yet, after the slow-down has begun — three things are likely true. The experience:

  • is decidedly frustrating;
  • solves few if any of the short term issues;
  • in the long run, still leaves you hoping the market finds you.

If this describes your experience, one thing is certain.

Business development is not part of your organization’s culture.

The Test

Wherever practice development is given twenty minutes during a quarterly meeting, don’t expect much to change.

If integration or cross selling is left to chance — meaning there is no framework or process that ensures desired action steps — don’t hope to magically leverage the value of the relationship equity that should exist in a partnership.

If a system for religiously gathering and assessing feedback from clients and prospects does not exist, don’t hold out hope that your clients will move from satisfied to loyal…much less, that you will transform from service provider to trusted advisor.

If key relationship succession isn’t the subject of on-going conversations long before senior partners are about to retire, don’t be surprised when long-term clients evaporate as an inevitable changing of the guard takes place inside the client’s organization.

If innovative thinking around inclusion and diversity is initiated only in the wake of market pressures, be prepared to repeatedly have the same conversations.

Multiple cliches apply. Put your money where your mouth is. We measure what matters. What you do speaks so loud I can’t hear what you say.

Take your pick. But know that time is not on your side.

The hard truth is that an organization concerned with strategic organic growth reflects this in its institutional priorities.

Where the roles of marketing and business development are understood, these disciplines are not bound by a department. The responsibility for  brand equity isn’t defined by job description or title. The opportunity to market resides in every member of the organization that touches the marketplace.

A marketing culture, enduring brand equity and growth through strategic business development efforts are not the byproducts of accidental fortune or occasional conversation.

And the enterprise interested in seeding such a culture succeeds by virtue of intent, and the attention requisite to the highest priority.