How can we be drivers of change in our firms?

In the dynamic landscape of modern business, adaptability and change management are essential for growth and sustainability. Recently, a group of 20 senior business development (BD), marketing and communications professionals engaged in a robust discussion chaired by ICON APAC and sponsored by ON24, sharing valuable insights into navigating change effectively within their organisations. Here’s a distilled summary of their key points and strategies:

1. Data as a Decision Driver.

Clean, consistent data is crucial, but equally important is understanding the insights it provides and ensuring everyone in the organization interprets the data consistently.  

Trend analysis and integrating external data contextualizes internal findings, aligning them with external realities.

CEOs and CFOs advocate for data-driven decisions, making it essential to have accurate data to support strategic choices.

2. Breaking Down Silos.


Effective change happens when departments work collaboratively rather than in isolation. Individual strengths in marketing, sales and other areas should be leveraged collectively.  

3. Client-Centric Approach.

Incorporate client feedback into change initiatives. Understanding client needs and preferences is crucial for implementing successful changes and driving revenue growth. 

4. Test drive.

Consider a pilot program involving feedback from clients to test how the change might work and be received, to enable tweaks and changes to be made before the full project takes place. 

5. Metrics and Measurement.

Define clear metrics and ensure consistency in capturing and reporting them. Establish a standardised approach to metrics helps align teams and track progress effectively. 

6. Demonstrating Results.

To garner support for change, demonstrate tangible results. Showing the impact of proposed changes, especially in terms of revenue generation, is crucial for gaining buy-in from stakeholders.

7. Incremental Change Management.

Break down larger change initiatives into smaller, manageable steps. Testing and adjusting along the way allows for more palatable changes and reduces resistance.

8. Stakeholder Involvement.

Involve stakeholders from various departments to ensure a comprehensive understanding and support for change initiatives. Finance departments, in particular, may require additional efforts to overcome resistance. 

9. Leadership Commitment.

Successful change requires commitment from leadership. Leaders must understand the implications of change and be fully dedicated to its implementation.  Accountability for non BDMC teams should be built into the change program to ensure compliance and follow through.

10. Advisory Support.

Marketing professionals should serve as advisors, helping partners understand the implications of change in terms of time, cost, and investment. Partners should be fully committed to change once they understand its requirements.

11. Global Considerations.

Acknowledge that change management strategies may vary across different markets. What works in one region may not be applicable in another, requiring tailored approaches.

12. Non-financial Motivators.

Recognise the importance of intangible motivators, such as ego and legacy, especially for Partners. Incentivising those who are already well remunerated requires a nuanced approach.

13. Generational Shifts.

Adapt to changing demographics and preferences among clients. Events and initiatives should reflect the evolving interests of diverse client bases.

14. Managing Constant Change.

Balance ambitious goals with realistic expectations. Incremental improvements can be just as impactful as large-scale changes, often leading to more sustainable progress.

In conclusion, the key points highlighted the critical importance of data-driven decision-making, client-centricity, and results-oriented change management for BDMC teams to be able to drive and support change in professional services firms.

Samantha Wischer. April 2024March