Business development
for professionals

Vision 2020 - Nikki McGuire October 2012

Vision 2020

October 2012

Name: Nikki McGuire

Current role: Head of Business Development at Taylor Wessing (Real Estate)

Previous experience: I started my career in Corporate Finance at BDO and then spent ten great years at Reuters.

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

I suppose the light bulb moment for me was in my mid-twenties. I went to a meeting with my Sales Director at the time. I asked the right questions, went through the right process and won the business but the Director said that’s not what we recruited you for – let your personality shine through.

So the pearl is exactly that - don’t be a clone - be yourself.

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

To get lawyers to focus on the bigger picture and not the minutiae. I think this is slowly changing as BD teams become empowered to influence the approach lawyers take with their clients. In the past BD were considered to be support but as this changes the potential to make an impact on our client service is far greater.

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

Certainly within Taylor Wessing, it is the much clearer understanding of the differences between marketing and BD and appreciating the value of the advice offered.

Some of this has been driven by necessity – as professionals can no-longer be complacent – but it has certainly been accelerated by the team being confident enough to challenge the status quo – and having visionary support from the business group head – Rodney Dukes. One of the key things he grasps is that the BD team can provide added value to a client – to offer input and advice on the client’s Business issues particularly in relation to their sales and marketing strategy.

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

To continue to work with our Partners and Associates in order to sharpen their relationship and – dare I say it – sales skills. We’ve already instilled structure and process which have led to a great deal of progress at TW. However we will continue to drive improvements in this area as this ultimately will drive revenue growth. A second clear priority is to spend more time myself with clients.

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

Really – I think the biggest red herring has been the pursuit of profile for the sake of it. Marketing should be based on what the sales and relationship objectives are – so some firms need to flip from being marketing communication driven to being sales driven.

6.     Any organisations you admire - and why?

TW sponsor children's charity Kids Company, founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh, offering schemes to provide practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children. The TW team have rolled up their sleeves and got involved in Colour a Child's Life (a bit like 60 minute makeover!), Circus Skills Workshops and assisted on sports days to name a few schemes. The staff and volunteers at Kids Company are inspirational. Their dedication and commitment in what can be very difficult circumstances is truly humbling.

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

At Reuters I led a team that delivered an online portfolio management product – to satisfy clear client demand. This was one of the first of its kind and considering this was the year 2000 – it was a big achievement.

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

It’s too early to tell but I think the firms that think laterally about the full possibilities of ABS will be in an exciting space. For example, people who change the model – who go beyond adding new legal services – and start collaborating with other advisors. Lawyers that focus on the wealth of opportunities, rather than the all too common instinct to look at potential problems, could do really exciting things.

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

I suspect technology and media still have a lot to offer – and perhaps in the way they intersect with other areas – for example we still haven’t seen much in terms of the re-use of space, enabled by technology – and that could lead to major changes within Real Estate.

10.  What global region do you think will fly?

No surprise – I think it will be the Asia Pacific region through a Hong Kong hub – and also the investment coming from Asia Pacific which will fund development in other regions.

11.  What will happen to marketing and BD salaries?

I know some people have their gripes but really I think that we are fairly rewarded in comparison to people in other industries – especially when you consider that the pressure on independent sales results in professional services is much lower.

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

We’ve recently moved to the country – so just having fun with the kids (Oh – and Mr McGuire of course!).