Business development
for professionals

Vision 2020 - Abigail Tarren February 2013

Vision 2020

February 2013

Name: Abigail Tarren

Current role: COO, Taxand, the global tax advisors.

Previous experience: Nearly 10 years’ experience in the professional services sector and specifically in building tax, legal, accountancy firms’ business development and brand equity. Previous experience over 6 years gained in the media sector managing new business pitches and campaigns targeting household name advertisers. Formative 2 years in fundraising.

1.     The pearl: What is the most valuable bit of wisdom you have gained during your career?

Keep it simple, deliver to concrete actions and communicate wisely (without the jargon, clearly articulating the benefits and focussing on key stakeholders).

2.     What do you consider the biggest frustration, working within Professional Service Firms?

I have never understood the label often given to BD and marketing departments as “support”. Now more than ever before professional services firms need to compete aggressively to retain client loyalty and increase market share delivering added value and client service excellence every step of the way. BD and marketing professionals play a fundamental part in a firm’s success and need to be recognised accordingly.

3.     What is the biggest change in professional marketing in the last 5 years?

Rigorous client relationship management programmes demonstrating tangible results have become necessity rather than merely investing in but not effectively using CRM databases.

4.     What are your priorities for the next 12 months?

Effecting BD programmes to strengthen client relationships across borders as well as continuing to build brand equity, globally, through our integrated mix of marketing channels.

5.     Any red herrings – marketing ideas and initiatives that are not going to deliver on the hype?

Social has its place but time must be invested smartly.

6.     Any organisations you admire - and why?

Taxand! Clearly a biased view but we’re prepared to be different, entrepreneurial and hungry to deliver leading client service and build global market share.

7.     Market achievement that you are most proud of (individual or firm level)?

Five years ago Taxand was an unknown alternative to the Big 4. We’re still a young, challenger brand but we’re getting on those pitch lists now, competing and winning.

8.     Where do you think firms in your sector will be investing most in 2020?

People. The need for talent (BD & marketing professionals and accountants and lawyers) to deliver excellent client service is not going to go away.

9.     What is going to be the most exciting industry sector in the next 5 years?

Energy, particularly renewables could continue to generate excitement. Technology is always an interesting space with the speed of change.

10.  What global region do you think will fly?

Individual markets rather than regions are likely to fly – a blend of old (Canada, Switzerland for example), quasi emerged (BRICs) and emerging (CIVETs).

11.  What will happen to marketing and BD salaries?

If we can address 2, above, they ought to be on the up.

12.  And finally …when I am not at work I like to …

I have a very small boat – it’s a joy to take it, the man of the house and the dog, to the pub…