In this post we address the final two questions in our industry focus series.
14. Does your firm have industry focused research programs that monitor and identify emerging industry trends as a means of developing thought leadership and identifying new service opportunities?
15. Does your firm capture and leverage the industry specific intellectual assets gained from client engagements?
We address these questions together because they are both about developing and sharing industry specific insights about how clients can successfully pursue opportunities or overcome challenges. When a firm focuses on a specific industry, it quickly deepens its understanding of how to apply its expertise in that industry. The firm can more quickly identify key issues, determine best practices or spot how emerging trends may create new opportunities and issues in that industry, for example:
- focusing on specific due diligence issues when doing deals in the food & beverage industry
- highlighting best practices for managing employment disputes in investment banking
- outlining big data risks in the healthcare industry
But the real issue here is not about the deepening of industry knowledge and insight, but whether firms have a structured process for developing, refining and sharing industry insights.
Does your firm spend time:
- thinking about, and even researching, the impact of emerging issues and trends in the industry?
- reviewing its engagement experience to identify common issues, pitfalls, opportunities and best practices?
- proactively codifying knowledge to deliver high value work?
- selectively sharing insights with clients and prospects to build relationships and stimulate new opportunities?
For many firms, this activity is at best ad hoc and in some places close to non-existent. Firms and professionals instead rely on sharing industry news, updates and networking that fails to tell clients something of value.
Firms that have made a commitment to industry focus and industry teams that don’t do these things are missing out on one of the primary benefits of that focus, which is to differentiate the firm and build relationships by showing clients and prospects that you know something that they (and your competitors) don’t know.
The good news however, is that this process doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive. A little bit of discipline can go a long way. We’ve developed a practical “Insight-Led Relationship Development” framework that firms can use to both benchmark their existing activities and begin to focus and improve the process of developing and sharing industry insights with clients and prospects.
If you would like to receive an overview of this framework please e-mail me (paulATmuzeviewDOTcom).