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One on One ã ã Broderick’s “One-on-One” series with Reggie Van Lee from Booz Allen Hamilton Reggie Van Lee is a Senior Vice President with Booz Allen Hamilton, specializing features interviews with leaders in corporate transformation and business model redesign projects for many of the at top professional services firms world’s leading communications, media, around the world. Discussions focus and technology companies. He is the former on market strategy, best practices, Managing Partner of Bo
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  Reggie Van Lee is a Senior Vice President with Booz Allen Hamilton, specializing in corporate transformation and business model redesign projects for many of the world’s leading communications, media,and technology companies. He is the former Managing Partner of Booz Allen’s New York office and served on the firm’s board of directors. He has co-authored articles on the topic of strategy implementation and developed an innovative and integrat- ed “tool kit” for management with techniques designed to help CEOs realize new strategies and institutionalize existing strategies.With over $2.5 billion in annual sales and more than 14,000 employees, Booz  Allen Hamilton provides services in strategy, organization, operations, systems, and technology to the world’s leading corporations, government and other public agencies,emerging growth companies, and institutions.Van Lee met with Broderick in his New York office to discuss brand, marketing,business development and client loyalty. with Reggie Van Lee  from Booz Allen Hamilton One ã on ã One Broderick’s “ One-on-One  ” seriesfeatures interviews with leadersat top professional services firmsaround the world. Discussions focuson market strategy, best practices,opportunities and challenges.   What does brand mean to professionalservices firms?  When your product is a service, clientsview your brand as both what they receive and how they receive it. It’s both“What do I get and how do you deliver?” Within the professional services arena,the experience—the how—matters asmuch to clients as the results delivered.It’s the combination of the deliverableand the experience that differentiates aservice firm.For example, the way we interact with aclient, the partnership we create—theroll up our sleeves mentality—creates adistinctive experience for clients that work with Booz Allen. It is the way wecome to the answer as well as the answer we deliver that makes us different. Forproduct companies, the differentiationhas historically been focused on theproduct—faster, more safety, betterdesign, great performance. Increasingly,however, product companies are facing what service companies grapple withevery day. They need to focus both onthe tangible and the intangible. Brand isabout the total experience.  As a global firm, how do you ensurebrand consistency worldwide?  We operate from a global mindset. Ourentire business model is based on aglobal platform. That means our profitand loss, our performance reviews,everything we do centers on the supportof our global team. Within other firms,operational priorities often createdisparities—you are accountable to theprofit line of your practice and youroffice or region. That creates internalconflicts. With our global focus, we canensure that every client, regardless of  whether they are in Texas or Tokyo, willhave a similar experience when they  work with Booz Allen consultants.  With so many smart, independent-minded professionals, how doesthe firm balance individual marketing styles with the need to put aconsistent face to the marketplace? Partners gravitate to what they believe isbest for their group. There is no mandatethat everyone march to the same beat—if there was, it would fail miserably. Onesize does not fit all. Instead, we adopt athousand points of light approach.Different industry groups need differentapproaches based on where they are inthe market and the unique climate of their industry sector. The marketingapproach that works for telecom today,for example, is not necessarily the rightapproach for our retail team or ourfinancial services team. How do professional services firmsdefine marketing?  At Booz Allen—just as in many servicefirms—there are wide-ranging perceptionsabout marketing. To some, marketingmeans sales—sales support, what do Ineed to close a sale? To others, marketingis business development—what do Ineed to target the right people and starta conversation with them? And to others, “Your firm’s idea of marketing depends greatly on where your operation is in itslifecycle and the overall environment you areoperating within.”  “You don’t sell clients. Clients buy. It’s our jobto be there when the client is ready to buy.” an interview with Reggie Van Lee  from Booz Allen Hamilton  marketing means brand and awareness—ease of name recognition among a broadaudience. Some think marketing is PR,some advertising, some pitch packages.In reality—marketing is all these things. Your firm’s idea of marketing dependsgreatly on where your operation is in itslifecycle and the overall environmentyou are operating within. In a boomingmarket, little in terms of sales support isneeded—the focus is on building brandrecognition. But in a tight economy, thefocus is on sales, on getting and closinga transaction. If your company is quitemature, your marketing approach willbe quite different than for firms juststarting out. How do you keep a pulse on themarket and market demands? Insight into our clients’ hot buttons isvital. The crux of our knowledge aboutthe market comes from our everyday dealings with clients, and the best way togather that information is via our partners.The challenge, of course, is to unlock that information so it does not remain with one individual but is shared acrossindustry groups and the firm as a whole.To help do this, we deploy two partnersagainst every opportunity. The morepeople involved, the better the odds thatthe information will be shared.  What other processes does Booz Allenhave in place to facilitate sharing of client insights and knowledge acrossthe firm?  At the end of each engagement, wecreatea summary of the engagement. We strip out all confidential client infor-mation and catalog it on our internalsystem in a way that can be easily retrieved. In addition, we have intel-lectualcapital fairs, team meetings andother ways to share information. Eachquarter, we have a home office day, where all consultants in that office arerequired to be at their home office formeetings where we share informationand discuss strategy and client serviceissues. We also have an internalProfessional Excellence Award thatcelebrates the good work of our consult-ants—the application and awardselection process serves as a way to shareinformation about key engagementsacross the firm. The award carries with ita great deal of prestige within the firm, which encourages teams to participate. Between client engagements, what isthe best way to keep the Booz Allenbrand strong in your clients’ minds? There is no secret—it takes old fashioned,personal contact. You need to find any reason to make meaningful contact.Drop a note, prompted by something inthe industry. Offer insights on news.Give your client a heads up on how thenews may—or may not—impact theiroperations. Some would call this freeadvice, but I call it investing in the long-term relationship. Keeping the dialoguegoing does not happen with genericmailers and advertisements. The best way is to engage the client in meaningfulconversations. That way, when they have a project, they think of you. “Keeping the dialogue going does not happenwith generic mailers and advertisements. The best way is to engage the client inmeaningful conversations.”  continued on back  In addition to staying top of mind,how do you deepen relationshipsand client loyalty?  We assign a client service officer toevery client. Each partner’s compensa-tion is based not only on annualbillings, but also on the length of theclient’s relationship with the firm andoverall stability of the client’s billings.This mindset causes you to manageclient relationships differently. Youdon’t sell to clients. Clients buy. It’s our job to be there when the client is ready to buy. Client service officers need tobe focused on the long term, not thismonth’s billables. Many professionalservices firms do not have the culture tosupport this model. Accounting and law firms, in particular, need to reevaluatetheir models. Too often, they compen-sate partners on that year’s clientbillings, not on the overall value of theclient relationship to the firm.  What strategies does Booz Allen useto manage its client pipeline?  We think of the pipeline in thirds: We want one third of our clients to besizable clients, accounting for about60% of billings. We’d like one-third of clients to be “in development”—we doproject work for them, but they are notongoing or significant billers. And, we’dlike one-third of our interactions to befocused on “wooing” clients—ondeveloping new client relationships.Keeping the balance is key, but notalways easy. The goal is to move every-one up to be a sizeable client. You needto keep replenishing and moving clientsup because your large clients’ relianceon consulting support varies over time.  Will professional services firms ever support a stand-alone sales function? Ironically, hardcore sales companies—including consumer goods companies—are seeking ways to build relation-ships with customers just like we mustdo in the professional services industry.They are moving away from sales trans-action models to find ways to make thebrand experience more memorable anddifferent. To sell what we do, you haveto understand the work. I think it would be difficult for a professional who is not a practitioner to sell ourservices. When you are selling to CEOsand board members, the client musthave the trust and the assurance that theperson they are buying from will bethere through the experience. The salesforce model may work in some profes-sional service environments, but forBooz Allen, our best sales force comesfrom within the partnership. continued from inside “When selling to CEOs and board members, the client must have the trust and theassurance that the personthey are buying from will bethere through the experience.”   ABOUT BRODERICK  Broderick works exclusively with professional services firms to developand implement market strategies that build brand awareness andgenerate business. Our clients include some of the world’s leading professional services firms. For more information, please visit our websiteat www.broderickco.com. Broderick & Company 100 Tiburon BoulevardMill Valley, CA 94941 Tel: 415–944—8107Fax: 415–388–0667
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