Many professional service firms’ CEOs and managers are convinced that time spent on overhead activities detracts from the revenue of the company by lowering billability. This is one of the largest misconceptions I have seen. In both my corporate experience and with clients I applied a technique that maintained high billability and generated sales, even at the junior staff level.
Several of my staff scientists and engineers frequented project sites. I sat with each one and mapped out their client organizations and even organizations of potential clients that were near their driving route. I encouraged them to stop in and meet new people on their way to the client site. They did. And, after six months, and many more “stop-ins”, their new contacts were giving us work. The incremental time for them to do this was so small that their utilization was not impacted. Yes, they did receive some training on how to conduct themselves in such a call. Yes, they did get coaching between meetings. And yes, at some point they did involve a principal to work through the scope, budget and to close the deals. And, most of this booked work was sole source. The cost of sales were measured at less than 1% of revenue, compared to an industry standard of 4-5%. Has this or a similar approach worked for your firm?