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By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins.
For the past three years, the average annual growth rate of Kreston GCG in the Ukraine has been around 50%.
In 2018, 48% of sales came from brand-new clients.
They are now the 7th largest audit firm in their country.
These are astonishing figures, compared to many accountancy firms which struggle to grow at all. And it is even more astonishing, considering that Kreston GCG is less than 20 years’ old.
So how did they do it?
The secret to their success is one that every Kreston firm can emulate.
In my last email, I argued that in today’s hyper-competitive market, you have to do more than simply shift towards advisory services if you want to thrive.
Kreston GCG has understood another fundamental point.
Being technically outstanding is not enough to sell your services, particularly in a market where many services are commoditised. Most of your competitors are probably very good at what they do, too.
So you cannot expect potential clients to choose you, “just” because of excellence.
Nor can you rely on word-of-mouth if you want to see significant growth. Relying on references is out of your control, and difficult to scale.
If you are serious about growing, you need to be much more business focused, and create a reliable, repeatable system to bring in new clients and new work.
That is exactly what Kreston GCG did, back in 2014.
“We had great auditors on our team, but they didn’t have the skills, experience or desire to sell. They were also very busy with technical work,” Managing Partner Sergey Atamas told me recently. “So we decided to set up a separate sales department, just like other B2B companies.”
Nowadays there are 14 members of the department – approximately 10% of Kreston GCG’s staff – including account managers, business development managers and development partners.
They use 12 different channels to nurture more than 13,000 leads and prospects in their CRM system. A call centre handles new outgoing calls, repeat sales and cross-sales – this is their most successful channel. Sales are also constantly increasing through social media, PR, SEO, Adwords and Inbound channels.
The process is highly structured.
Each new name is led through a well-though-out, cross-channel campaign to warm them up. Only once they are familiar with Kreston GCG do they receive a phone call.
The process is carefully tracked and controlled. And with time, the results become predictable.
“If we make 100 calls, we know exactly how many commercial proposals will result,” says Sergey. “By looking at how many leads we attract today, we can predict our future cash flow, allowing us to plan far ahead.”
Similarly, the sales team each have personal KPIs, including goals for the number of proposals they need to generate.
It’s all part of professionalising your sales and marketing process – which is crucial if you want to evolve into a serious player.
“What we’ve learned is that only a sales person can guarantee the kind of growth rates we see every year – not executive partners,” says Sergey. “It takes a machine.”
Is this an approach you have tried? What works best for your firm?
I’m eager to share more best practice from all our firms, so please do hit ‘reply’ and let me know.
And if you’d like to find out more about how Sergey and his team manage their sales process, please do get in touch as well. We are all here to support each other, and I know they would be delighted to speak to you.
PS. I have another example of a Kreston firm which has developed a unique, and extremely successful, approach to its own marketing. I’ll tell you more about that next week – watch this space!
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. Since I became CEO last year, I have been visiting Kreston firms across the world.
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