3 Simple ways your business can work towards a greener future
3 Simple ways your business can work towards a greener future

Wesley Johnson, Energy Knect Adapting a green practice is rapidly becoming a leading trend for companies of all sizes. According to the KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting, 80% of companies worldwide are now reporting on sustainability, around 40% of companies now acknowledge the financial risks of climate change and one in five companies are reporting climate risk in line with TCFD recommendations. Research is indicating that businesses who are adopting sustainability practices are taking advantage of a plethora of benefits including the likes of a competitive advantage over their peers, reduction of costs, new revenue opportunities and forging stronger relationships with clients, according to McKinsey. I have highlighted a few popular “green” practices below that companies are currently adopting. Calculate your carbon footprint Calculating your carbon footprint at the first instance is a great place to start in order to obtain an idea of what areas need improvement and where you can prioritize your efforts. Thanks to the growing trend in businesses wanting to do their part to save the planet, there are now many useful and user-friendly online tools available for companies to calculate their carbon footprint. A few popular options amongst businesses right now are the Carbon Footprint, WWF Carbon Footprint Calculator and Climate Care. Depending on the complexity and size of your business, another option would be to seek support from an environmental and sustainability consultancy. They will not only calculate your net carbon output but also help you develop a plan to decrease it by providing you with a tailored and easy to follow management system to achieve your objectives. Furthermore, they typically provide the necessary training and are able to either request or offer you sustainability and environmental certifications to enhance your marketing efforts. According to a recent survey by KPMG, GRI remains the most commonly used reporting standard or framework used by businesses for sustainability. If you do decide to go down the consultancy route, it’s advisable to research firms that specialise in your field or market segment, as they are typically better equipped to understand your situation and needs. For example, the SME Centre is an advisory firm that supports SME’s with sustainability and carbon management systems and certifications. Their management systems are already tailored to suit SME’s which in turn could save your business time and money from unnecessary consulting fees. For the larger, more complex business types, top tier firms like Accenture, Bain and PWC are well-positioned to offer your business sustainability and carbon management support. Renewable energy source One of the most effective and easiest ways in which your business can reduce its carbon footprint is by switching to a green or renewable business energy tariff. As companies start to embrace their shift towards a lower-carbon future, the process of opting for a greener energy provider has become more efficient and cost-effective than ever before. Research suggests that this is a result of many challenger brands competing for their place in the market as well as the likes of low carbon technology advancements, accelerated investment into infrastructure, and concerns around climate change and fossil fuels. According to research by Forbes, right now, the big six “green” energy suppliers in the UK are British Gas, EDF Energy, E-ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE. There are also a few smaller, independent providers such as Bulb, Ecotricity and Octopus Energy that provide renewable business energy tariffs. The smaller independents often market cheaper tariffs for your business which as a result, could help your business save on your existing tariffs. If your business is interested in making the switch there are plenty of online comparison tools like U switch or Forbes Advisor that can help you explore what options are best for your business, budget and needs. Carbon offsetting Whilst most businesses do their very best in trying to reduce their carbon footprint, some forms of emissions are just unavoidable in order to remain competitive. As a solution to this roadblock, businesses can offset their unavoidable emissions, by purchasing carbon credits, which are then used to support environmental projects around the world that either reduce greenhouse gas emissions or absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Despite some controversy around the lack of transparency and concerns over the quality and integrity of offsetting schemes there still seems to be a growing trend of companies around the world flocking to purchase offsets. Gold Standard, for example, issued 151 million carbon credits from over 900 projects in 2020 according to their most recent market report and Bloomberg quoted that the number of offsets sold in the past two years has doubled. Perhaps the reason for the increased uptake is the growing perception that voluntary carbon credits can play a vital role in accelerating the transition to a global decarbonized economy and that avoiding emissions is typically the most cost-efficient way to address atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, according to McKinsey. The verdict In the past, companies typically shied away from green initiatives, as the return on investment was often difficult to quantify. However, with more companies incorporating green initiatives, it is now becoming evident that we are seeing positive and measurable impacts including the likes of improved efficiency, employee retention, cost savings and revenue growth, along with a competitive advantage and good brand reputation. Is your business taking advantage of the "green opportunity"?

4 Reasons to join the Green Revolution
4 Reasons to join the Green Revolution

Wesley Johnson, Energy Knect The pressure to shift towards a low carbon future is certainly not a novel concept. Pressures to save our planet from ‘doomsday’ has been around for decades and the discovery of global warming dates back to the late 18th century. So why the sudden change? The events of the past year have sharpened investors interests in sustainable and resilient assets, including renewables, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.  Moreover, climate change has now been listed among the top 10 risks to global businesses according to the Allianz Risk Barometer 2021. Consequently, carbon management and ESG( Environmental, Social and Governance) has now become a crucial strategy for any business that is looking to remain competitive and stay ahead in today’s economy. Deploying effective ESG and carbon management strategies boasts a plethora of benefits and opportunities for companies including the likes of accessing large pools of capital, robust relations with clients, development of a stronger brand and achieve sustainable long-term growth. We have listed a few of our favourites below. Gives your company a competitive advantage According to a report by KMPG, companies with a higher ESG performance are likely to have better financial performance, talent retention and long-term value creation. 3M’s Pollution Prevention Pays initiative(3P) is a great example of how companies can gain a competitive advantage through the deployment of effective ESG strategies. 3P prevents pollution at the source, in product and in manufacturing. 3P was introduced in 1975 and to date, has resulted in the elimination of more than 3 billion pounds of pollution and saved them nearly $1.4 billion. Supports revenue growth An effective ESG strategy that differentiates your business in the market by providing climate leadership, can lead to new client acquisition, an increase of profitability and the development of new products and services which will allow your business to tap into new markets. According to McKinsey, they found that upward of 70 per cent of consumers would pay an additional 5 per cent for a green product than for a comparable non-green alternative. Furthermore, according to multiple research reports, it is evident that sustainable investing and superior investment returns are positively correlated. Reduces costs According to McKinsey, effectively executing an ESG strategy can help reduce rising operating expenses including the true costs of raw materials, water or carbon. One of their studies found that by reducing resource costs, businesses can improve operating profits by up to 60 per cent. Brewing company Heineken, for example, is heavily reliant on quality water for their products and to sustain their business. Their latest finance and sustainability report revealed that they reduced their water consumption by 33 per cent in water-stressed areas since 2008 including a 51 per cent drop in carbon emissions from production. Consequently, this has saved the company €15 Million since 2009. Mitigates risks ESG has become an essential management tool for businesses to identify and proactively mitigate risks. According to EY, Investors increasingly believe that companies that perform well on ESG are less risky, better positioned for long growth and better prepared for uncertainty. For investors, ESG reporting is helping them avoid companies that might pose a greater financial risk due to their ESG performance. For businesses, ESG reporting is helping them shift away from traditional compliance-based thinking and reactive mindsets, helping them focus on a more proactive risk mitigation approach. Furthermore, according to KPMG, ESG reporting is challenging organisations to be more transparent about the risks and opportunities it faces which in turn pushes for more robust processes and enhances the credibility of what’s been reported. Ignoring these risks can be detrimental to businesses in the long term, as it can lead to a lack of funding, have an adverse effect on brand reputation, stagnate business growth and potentially see yourself fall behind your peers. With the increasing pressures from investors and stakeholders for businesses to disclose consistent, comparable and reliable data and the plethora of benefits attached to joining the green revolution, it probably doesn’t seem like a bad idea to hop onto the ESG train to set your business up for a fruitful and long-term growth journey, like so many businesses are already doing.    

The Oil & Gas Industry- so much pressure, little know-how
The Oil & Gas Industry- so much pressure, little know-how

Wesley Johnson, Energy Knect.

The Oil & Gas industry is under increasing pressures to reduce its carbon footprint, not next month, not tomorrow, but now.

According to a Harvard Law School article, policymakers and society are pressing change, threatening the operator’s license to operate. Investors are increasingly conscious of environmental issues and are now pushing companies to disclose consistent, comparable, and reliable data. The events of the past year, as per a recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, shows that investors have sharpened their interests in sustainable and resilient assets, including renewables.

So where does this leave oil and gas companies and how do they pivot successfully whilst remaining competitive?

According to McKinsey, there are three key questions that leaders of oil and gas companies should consider as part of their transition strategy;

  1. How can we make our core hydrocarbon businesses more resilient?
  2. Should we expand into low-carbon businesses, and if so, how?
  3. How will our operating model need to change to flourish in a low-carbon world?

As imperative as the above-mentioned components are for a successful transition, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) programs are equally as important according to a recent article by Rigzone. Albeit, a very complex program, research suggests that maintaining strong relationships with the supply chain and local communities can also contribute as a key component for transition success.

One of many companies leaning into this challenge and addressing climate risks, by first and foremost, reducing their own emissions and, secondly, by adopting a system to be more flexible and resilient, is Duke Energy.

Duke Energy aims to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generation at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. According to their 2020 climate report, Achieving a Net Zero Carbon Future, Duke Energy 2020 Climate Report, they have already made significant progress towards their goals, reducing CO2 emissions by 39 percent since 2005, ahead of the industry average of 33 percent.

In their report they highlight that one of the key success recipes to build a path to net-zero is to work collaboratively with stakeholders and regulators in each of the states that you serve and to develop tailored plans that best suit their unique attributes and economies.

We welcome you to download Duke Energy’s 2020 Climate Report here for insights into their key strategies and achievements to date in their journey in becoming a net-zero business.

The more data and experiences we share the more efficient we will be. 😊


A 2-Point Growth Plan for the next normal
A 2-Point Growth Plan for the next normal

EI Series 1, Part 4

Wesley Johnson, Energy Knect As the world slowly starts opening up again and companies begin to rebuild and restructure for the next normal, they should start thinking about the tools that will be required to capitalize on all the new and exciting business opportunities that will be up for grabs. As a result of the pandemic, the priorities of companies and the mindset of business leaders have shifted to align with a strategy that encourages efficiency across their workflows. Consequently, this has led to a change in how companies perceive and buy services and products, according to a recent article by McKinsey. Subsequently, this has also encouraged many companies to analyse their existing product lines and services, along with their strategy and approach to ensure that their products and services remain aligned to their client’s current needs and objectives. Energy Knect have devised a two-point plan to support companies with their “re-start strategy”, so that they can stay ahead of their competitors and take advantage of all the new and exciting business opportunities that lie ahead. Insights & Analytics According to research by BCG, more than 75% of CEO’s, presidents and chief operating officers believe customer insight is critical to accelerating growth, but very few companies use-or even have- all the customer information available before making major decisions. A very common mistake for businesses is to skip the ‘analysis’ stage and impatiently go straight into execution and start running comprehensive marketing campaigns with the assumption that their products and services are fit for purpose. With this approach, you risk exhausting large amounts of your marketing budget very quickly and perhaps you will drive a high level of traffic to your website, but the conversion and end commercial success of what you are trying to achieve will ultimately disappoint. Thanks to continuing advances in big data technology, client insights are becoming easier to interpret and according to research by Forrester, data-driven organisations are growing at an average of 30% or more annually. Although big data is a very effective tool to harness your client analysis, that’s really just one component you should be leveraging to achieve success. We believe an over-arching and segmented approach to your analytics strategy is key. By leveraging multiple and inexpensive tools already at your disposal such as; your CRM, Google Analytics, online survey platforms such as survey monkey, conducting traditional market research, participating in events and most importantly having insightful conversations with your existing clients will help your company identify who your target client is and what their current needs and objectives are, so that you can identify new business opportunities and align your products and services to meet your client’s needs and objectives. A great place to start to help you identify and segment your target audience is through leveraging your existing database and CRM. If you need to grow your database and reach, there are a few user-friendly and inexpensive bolt-on apps such as Sellhack or Contact Out that can support you with this. Once you have identified your target audience and developed a compelling business proposition from your analysis, the next step will be to drive awareness and engagement. According to McKinsey, one of the biggest challenges for companies is to convert their insights into actions that can drive commercial growth. In the next section of this article, we will provide you with a few handy tips on how you can monetize your analysis and drive engagement. Awareness & Engagement Although many brands may not reach eponym status like Cola, Kleenex or Xerox, we suggest that your success should rather be measured on the following key components;
  • Your target audience and clients knowing what your business is about and the services/products that your offer
  • A social media user knowing that your articles are going to be thought-provoking and valuable to them
  • Clients choosing your product/service over your competitors despite you offering higher rates
Research suggests that brand awareness is pivotal to business success, as it helps you achieve your marketing objectives and encourages your business to stay ahead of your competitors, build an audience, and generate more leads. However, not all marketing campaigns are suited for all budgets, nor is there a one-size-fits all solution. The great news is, there are multiple options and cost-effective solutions that you probably just need to dust off from the shelf next to you. We have listed a few of our favourites below;
  • Social Media is a great way to increase awareness. Publishing an article on your social feed costs nothing but your time and can be a very effective way in showing off your knowledge and expertise, and engaging with your target audience. Show your audience how great you are at solving their challenges.
  • Participate in, or sponsor conferences that are relevant to your target audience. Speaker drop-outs are very common in the events industry, so make sure your speaking expertise are known to the organiser and that you will be happy to fill a gap if required.
  • Run ads on Google Display Network. The Google Display Network is said to be the No 1 global display ad network, reaching over 90% of internet users worldwide, with more than 1 million impressions served to over 1 billion users every month. It’s a great way to reach your target audience at the right time and can be very cost-effective, as you have control over your spending. We recommend you start small with a budget that suits you and then monitor your display campaigns to explore which one is providing you with the most return. Once you have identified your top runners, just adjust your budget accordingly in favour of your winners for maximum results.
  • Corporate newsletter- introducing a monthly corporate newsletter is a great way to build loyalty, raise brand awareness and retain engagement with your target audience. It’s a very cost-effective marketing solution and allows you to continuously update your target audience on your expertise and success with your clients.
  • Host an online interactive workshop series that tackles client challenges that you have identified through your analysis. We advise your sessions to be no longer than 45 minutes and conclude with a fun networking session to get to know your prospects and clients on a personal level.
Conclusion BCG research has shown that 80% of companies have only the basic customer insights tools and capabilities, and they underuse what little they have. Companies looking to expand in the next normal and capitalise on all the new and exciting business opportunities will need to think about devising a strategy that can augment their reach with existing clients and acquire new one’s. To achieve this, a company will need to revert to the drawing board and think about who their target market is and what their current underlining intent is, to ensure their existing product/service lines are still aligned to support their client’s needs and objectives. By developing a simple strategy like the above along with leveraging your existing resources, could be the fundamental difference in setting your company apart from your competitors and being able to mop up on all the vacant market share that will be up for grabs. As a result of the pandemic and in some cases, the playing fields have now levelled out. Is your company ready to capitalise on the new business opportunities that lie ahead?  

The Energy Knect Approach

Through our vast industry experience and global network of professionals, Energy Knect can help your business devise an effective strategy that identifies the key challenges that your target audience are currently facing and help you develop a compelling business development proposition that sets you apart from your competitors. If you would like to discuss your unique situation with us and how we can support your business with an effective strategy that aligns with your budget, please feel free to ping us a note at: info@energyknect.com    

Energy Knect’s Expert Insight’s Newsletter, Vol 2
Energy Knect’s Expert Insight’s Newsletter, Vol 2

Wesley Johnson, Energy Knect Welcome to Energy Knect’s Expert Insight Newsletter series where we aim to bring you the latest insights from some of the industry’s most influential leaders, best practice tips on how to grow your business and a series of event recommendations to help you augment your network and make more informed decisions. In our latest newsletter edition, we caught up with Chris Starling from Holt Energy Advisors and discussed his thinking on how best to conduct due diligence on acquisition targets, balancing time, costs and feasibility in a COVID-19 environment. We also offer you some insight into our learnings from our most recent research that identified the top three technologies that businesses of all sizes are leveraging to generate new business and revenue. Please feel free to download our latest newsletter edition below. EK Newsletter- Vol 2, 2021 download; EnergyKnect- Expert Insight Newsletter Vol 2, 2021

Managing decommissioning risk in M&A Transactions
Managing decommissioning risk in M&A Transactions

Chris Starling- Managing Director- Holt Energy Advisors

With $14 billion of commitments before 2024, according to Rystad, decommissioning costs have long been a risk to and blocker in transactions, especially portfolio and corporate deals. The sector has moved a long way since early-stage bilateral decommissioning agreements as sellers sought to navigate Section 29 of the Energy Act 2008 and other commercial risks in pursuit of the "clean break".

As the ownership of assets has evolved, so too has the structuring of arrangements regarding the allocation of decommissioning liabilities. In 2000, 80% of licences were held by 30 operators, most of them majors. Since then, utilities have come (and mostly gone), private equity has come (and some will look to go), and the majors have rationalised portfolios. Successful "innovate" licences introduced a new breed of start-ups who then look to optimise their portfolios with production assets.

What are the options when it comes to deal structuring? In our experience, this depends on the assets, counterparties and deal objectives. Some companies have benefited from acquiring "cheap" production due to asset valuations being reduced by future decommissioning costs. Others have preferred to pay a higher price to avoid dealing with the decommissioning costs.

Ithaca were early pioneers with their Beatrice acquisition in 2008 before returning the asset to Talisman in 2015 for decommissioning. Variations of this model including lease arrangements have been used especially where the seller is better positioned to decommission due to experience and economies of scale. This makes most sense where the seller holds 100% interest as this requires "policing" of the asset prior to return.

Other models have seen the seller retain all or some of the liability upon exit, paying its contribution at the end of field-life or even an up-front "pre-payment". For example, Premier-EON shared the costs of decommissioning the Ravenspurn and Johnson fields, and Shell and Esso's sale of the Anasuria cluster allowed the buyers to contribute to a decommissioning fund subject to profit levels. In these models, sellers often seek to mitigate loss of control over decommissioning spend using a cap or take a view on the consideration level. In other deals cash security from profits has allowed the build-up of provision in a more gradual way than traditional DSA models but this approach is often seen as unattractive financially.

Whilst the 2013 introduction of decommissioning relief deeds proved successful in freeing up capital by making provision on a post-tax basis, there still often remains a discrepancy in the credit rating of deal parties. Sellers have taken the "credit risk" where the buyer's back-to-back security is weaker. Where the seller may be able to provide a relatively costless PCG, this model has been particularly successful given the buyer might otherwise have to post a LoC, encumbering its borrowing base or even posting cash collateral. The new transferable tax history is yet to see deployment, but it is another tool to manage commercial risk within deals to ensure companies avoid being on the wrong end of decommissioning defaults.

Chris Starling | chris.starling@holtenergyadvisors.com

3 Technologies that can help companies drive new revenue
3 Technologies that can help companies drive new revenue

EI Series 1, Part 3

Wesley Johnson, Energy Knect

One of the many positives that the pandemic has brought to companies, is the encouragement to figure out ways in which they can better connect with their clients and support their needs. This has resulted in many companies having to embrace in digital transformation, and for those who have, they have been rewarded with multiple benefits such as revenue growth, stronger customer relationships, efficiency and optimization across their workflows.

Following our research for this article, we found that companies who embrace digital technologies are not only able to find the edge that is required to stay ahead in today’s competitive market, but are also likely to be 26% more profitable than their peers, according to a study by MIT.

Below, we have highlighted our top three technology solutions that are currently driving new business and revenue growth for companies along with the key benefits that are associated with leveraging these technologies.

AI

According to an MIT Sloan Management Review and BCG AI survey, almost 90% of executives agree that AI represents an opportunity, but only a mere 18% have tried to use the technology to generate revenue.

AI improves a company’s capability to grow revenue and generate new business in two distinct ways, according to BCG. It has the ability to detect weak signals, which can help companies develop, refine and generate multiple forecasts. Secondly, the speed at which AI works provides companies with the ability to analyse large amounts of data to make more informed decisions in real-time. By improving the accuracy of forecasts coupled with making real time decisions, AI can help companies generate more revenue.

AI has the ability to act as your sales teams most valuable partner by offering them insights into what the next best actions are to take, based upon a menu of high-end options that are more likely to drive commercial results. Furthermore, AI technology can improve accessibility to client data wherever and whenever you may need it, helping your team be more efficient when working remotely. AI also has the ability to offer more data-driven insights into your customers to help identify sales trends and buying signals and streamline workflows which can automate communications and trigger notifications.

As companies focus on growth after the pandemic and economic crises, they should consider not only cost-cutting, but also long-term revenue creation. AI is positioned to help companies make faster decisions and tailor their solutions to gain a competitive advantage over their peers.

Predictive analytics

According to Sales force’s most recent State of Marketing Report, 70% of high-performing teams are far more likely to use tools such as predictive analysis compared to 35% of low-performers. As technology has evolved, it has become much more affordable and accessible for companies of all sizes, not just the giants like IBM and Amazon with the expertise to leverage the tech in their favour.

Gain a competitive advantage – one of the primary benefits of predictive analytics is to identify market trends and gain a competitive advantage. Your client’s buying behaviour is forever changing and if you can identify these changes first, you will be better equipped with the insights to align your product or service to your customer’s needs.

Client insight – being better informed will autonomously lend itself to a more productive salesperson. Predictive analytics can provide you with information about your client’s buying behaviour, their expectations, whether there are any cross or upselling opportunities, or whether there is any competition moving in on your territory. Using this data, your team will be better positioned to tailor their sales and marketing approach to your client’s needs, which will also result in more meaningful conversations.

Personalization – analytics can help salespeople drive more personalization at scale. It allows companies to offer more personalised and targeted products which can encourage greater sales success. Companies who can segment their audience and target their prospects with a personalised message that has resonance, will have greater conversion success.

Automation

One of the primary components that determines a successful salesperson is the time they spend on selling. Sales Automation has the potential to reduce the costs of sales by freeing up time spent on repetitive and unrelated tasks and to unlock additional revenue by automating outreach to clients in the sales funnel. On average, high performing sales reps spend 20-25% more time with customers than lower-performing reps, according to McKinsey. Companies that standardize and automate non- customer-facing activities, such as admin tasks, free up time for activities that directly deliver commercial results.

According to McKinsey, early adopters of sales automation consistently report increases in customer-facing time, higher customer satisfaction, efficiency improvements of 10 to 15%, and sales uplift of up to 10%.

While sales teams make more data-based decisions, winning deals still takes a human touch. According to the state of the connected customer survey by Salesforce, 81% of business buyers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. In this regard, selling is a deeply personal activity that requires a great deal of soft skills and trust. We believe automation is not the process of replacing human workforce, but rather the process of working collaboratively to provide optimal service to clients.

Deployment of tech

Bringing in technology is arguably the easiest bit, but to capture the real benefits from automation, companies will need to find ways to ensure their strategy is embedded into the culture of the organisation. McKinsey highlights that, those with standardized sales processes in place and collocated sales support functions usually capture bigger benefits from technology integration and see an impact faster than their peers. This is because their costs of integration, technological deployment, and change management are lower.

Having everyone on board and everyone driving it forward, will be pivotal to the success of the integration, and that’s why we believe that the Money Ball Strategy could be an effective approach in deploying technology. If you are able to build a strong team of champions who can demonstrate their success from using the technology to the rest of the team, we believe that this will help you obtain the adoption you need.

We suggest that your integration process should also be rolled out fairly slow, perhaps in bite sizes, allowing the end-users time to digest the real benefits and value of their new digital sales partner. This will also offer you the time to develop successful narratives to showcase to the rest of your team, to help you gain the additional internal support you might need to roll out the tech successfully.

Conclusion

Research suggests that the net global spending on digital is expected to increase to more than $2 trillion by 2022. Moreover, 79% of companies have admitted that COVID-19 has encouraged an increase in their budget for digital transformation. This is perhaps an indication that technology has become more accessible and cost-effective than ever before. The value and benefits of adopting technology have evidently become far more significant than the efforts and the expenses companies have to undertake to deploy the technology.

When you allow your company to embrace digital transformation, you will not only see benefits such as revenue growth, but also the optimization and improvement of your existing workflows and operations, which will provide you with the edge that is required in today’s competitive business landscape.

The Energy Knect Approach

At Energy Knect we believe that every client we work with deserves a tailored approach to their unique challenges and goals. Our extensive experience, business knowledge and expertise is stimulated through our continuous engagement with our senior advisory board and global network of senior industry professionals. As a result, Energy Knect are well positioned to identify potential improvement areas within your business development function and employ proven business development strategies to support new business and revenue growth without the heavy investment tag.

We welcome you to join our free online networking community for senior Energy professionals here.

www.energyknect.com / info@energyknect.com

Top 3 revenue-generating strategies for Professional Services Firms
Top 3 revenue-generating strategies for Professional Services Firms

EI series 1, Part 2 Wesley Johnson, Energy Knect In the current economic climate, businesses have been encouraged to re-strategize and find effective ways to remain competitive, or face the risk of being left behind. Firms are typically faced with two primary options, inter alia to remain competitive and generate revenue in today’s market. There is the so-called traditional approach which entails increasing rates and reducing expenses, or the other approach, which is investing more in business development strategies to ensure that you are set up for sustainable and rapid revenue growth, according to Boston Consulting Group. In Part 2 of our EI Series, we researched multiple revenue-generating techniques from across our network to identify the top performers to share with our network. When deciding on which strategies are best suited to drive new business growth for your firm, it seems only natural to undertake multiple options, in the hope that one or two of your invested strategies produce results. However, it’s no secret that this approach can result in a waste of your time and money and become a challenge for you to identify the techniques that are delivering the ROI. Following our research, it was highlighted that a well implemented strategy underpins the success of new business and revenue growth. Being able to connect your plan with your vision, will result in being able to identify the target clients that are aligned to you. By understanding your target market and client’s, coupled with clarity of your competitive advantage, will help your business prioritize its efforts. Out of the many business development growth strategies that were identified through our research, which included the likes of; cross-selling, referrals, sponsorships, attending conferences and joining committee groups, there were clearly three top performers. Develop Your Business Development Skills When it comes to business development, there are typically two types of professionals. The naturals and the ones that are slightly more introverted. It’s no secret that lawyers are not taught how to be salespeople in law school. By building up your business development and networking skills, you can gain that competitive edge over your competitor and increase your revenue opportunities. Lawyers, being the primary revenue drivers for your firm, need to be equipped with the skills to be able to network, deliver presentations and close deals. These are all very important skills that should never be overlooked. According to a survey orchestrated by introhive with more than 100 legal firms of all sizes, firms that recognized this gap and provided sales training or business development coaching, saw their lawyers generate more revenue and grow their client base faster. As a solution, try to increase your firm’s business development coaching with one-to-one training sessions, group training, online seminars, or by partnering with third-party consultants to increase penetration in markets with limited sales presence. By employing a specialised outsourced consultancy to support your objectives, you will have the advantage of saving time, money and resources. Client Education When stepping into your client’s shoes, they typically hire legal firms for their legal advice, expertise and thought leadership. One way in which you can position yourself as a leader in your field and benchmark yourself against your competitors is to share your knowledge and expertise. The more you can share your expertise and educate your clients, the more valuable you become, which can improve retention, loyalty and support new business growth. A few education techniques include; Provide regular market intel – educate your clients by developing informative articles and Insight reports which includes your firm’s deep industry knowledge. Providing insights into upcoming challenges which impact your client’s industry, including how you are planning to deal with these challenges, is a very effective way in marketing your firms expertise. Client (In-House) training – one way to get valuable face time and educate your clients simultaneously, is to provide online and onsite training to inhouse lawyers or other employees about a particular area of the law or a specific challenge. Due to the enforcement of remote working following the pandemic, online video conferencing and webinars have become an inexpensive and effective solution for onsite training and has the advantage of reaching out to a wider audience. Networking – an effective approach to provide your clients with intel, is to host your own professional networking platform to help your clients meet other businesses and identify new business opportunities. Try to make a conscious effort to introduce your clients to each other and to third parties that can support their businesses. To enhance the effectiveness of this solution, couple this approach with a training session for your clients. Strengthening relationships Existing and potential clients want to work with professionals that understand their business and the challenges that they face. By having regular touchpoints with your clients, sharing your unbiased advice coupled with providing your professional expertise consistently will help strengthen your business relationships. Moreover, understanding the competitive environment your client operates in also provides your firm with a competitive edge. Investing in technologies such as data-gathering tools, which include the likes of customer relationship software can be very effective in strengthening client relationships, as it allows you to identify your client’s preferences. Furthermore, technology can streamline and automate your businesses process which improves efficiency and reduces costs. Strong relationships are not only for client retention and loyalty, but for driving new business and growing your firm too. In many instances this also becomes a catalyst for identifying cross-selling opportunities for your firm, which in turn, encourages revenue growth. Conclusion With the growing trend of fierce competition, coupled with challenging market conditions, legal firms will need to find effective ways to ensure that they remain competitive. By implementing a well-crafted strategy which helps connect your plan with your vision coupled with the use of technology resources, can help support new business and revenue growth success.

The Energy Knect approach

At Energy Knect we believe that every client we work with deserves a tailored approach to their unique challenges and goals. Our extensive experience, business knowledge and expertise is stimulated through our continuous engagement with our senior advisory board and global network of senior industry professionals. As a result, Energy Knect are well positioned to identify potential improvement areas within your business development function and employ proven business development strategies to support new business and revenue growth without the heavy investment tag.

 

Look out for our next article in our EI series, where we will provide you with insights on how to leverage inexpensive tech to drive new business and revenue growth.

Energy Knect’s Expert Insight Newsletter, Vol 1
Energy Knect’s Expert Insight Newsletter, Vol 1

Wesley Johnson, Energy Knect

Welcome to Energy Knect’s Expert Insight Newsletter series where we aim to bring you the latest insights from some of the industry’s most influential leaders, best practice tips on how to grow your business and a series of event recommendations to help you augment your network and make more informed decisions.

In our latest newsletter edition, we caught up with Ian Cogswell from Portland Advisers and discussed his thinking on the risks in which lenders specifically focus on, when financing those new oil and gas projects that are designed with the transition towards net-zero emissions in mind.

We also offer you some insight into our learnings from our most recent research that identified the key challenges that businesses of all kinds are facing with regard to new business growth as a result of the pandemic. We provide you with simple techniques and solutions to overcome these challenges.

Please feel free to download our latest newsletter edition below.

EK Newsletter- Vol 1, 2020 download; EnergyKnect-Expert Insight Newsletter Vol 1, 2020

3 solutions for effective online networking
3 solutions for effective online networking

EI Series 1, Part 1

Wesley Johnson, Energy Knect 

With the growing impact of COVID-19, it has become increasingly difficult for professionals to find effective networking tools whilst live conferences have been temporarily suspended. Businesses have had to embrace new ways of communicating online to ensure that they remain relative and stay ahead of their competitors.

Energy Knect understands the importance of networking for businesses and that’s why we have established our EI Series, to help address core challenges that professionals face in today’s working environment and provide effective solutions to overcome those challenges to set them up for sustained success.

As part one of our first Series, we reached out to our global network of Energy professionals to identify 3 core challenges that businesses currently face with online networking. Following the results from our EI survey, it was apparent that Tech knowledge, Engagement and Sponsorship values were the 3 core challenges that businesses face in today’s working environment. We have addressed these challenges below and provided effective solutions to overcome them.

Technology knowledge

Virtual event technology is fairly new and therefore, as much as there is a keen interest for professionals to engage in online networking, navigating through this newly established way of working can be quite daunting for many. If you plan to partake in an online event, you will need to feel confident in the technology that you are using to ensure that you can successfully access all relative content and networking opportunities from afar, with no in-person event attendees to help support you along the way.

Virtual events remain the safest option for businesses to remain relative, develop new business and learn the latest industry trends. Unfortunately, there is no alternative right now and this will likely be the case for some time to come. Even when live events get back to the new normal, it’s quite possible that we may see a hybrid approach as more and more users get acquainted with the technology and realise the convenience and cost-saving benefits of virtual events. An informal survey by Nature showed that 80% of 486 respondents believe that some meetings should continue to be held virtually, even after the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst most professionals are coming to grips with the technologies that are required to work remotely, they should fully embrace virtual technologies. Event organisers should work closely with the industry to help educate them with virtual event technologies, and companies must embrace the technology transition to avoid the risk of being left behind whilst their competitors grab vacant market share.

Engagement

Alone in the office, speakers must struggle not only with technological demands but also with connecting with their remote audience. Not all of us are lucky enough to find a quiet corner in the house. With professionals now embracing the new way of work-life at home, there can be many distractions such as technology glitches, your dog barking, your neighbour drilling and even the possibility of your kids hi-jacking your conversation. Although these challenges are typically accepted for virtual networking, it is still somewhat distracting. The results from our EI survey concluded there seems to be a large amount of communication being lost through online networking. Consequently, this has to be supported in other ways, in how we follow up, and how we ask questions to ensure that we are capturing a complete understanding of our prospective client’s objectives.

Networking within a virtual event is much more scalable than a live event. It is much easier to connect with multiple professionals that have the same interest and challenges and stay connected. Overmore, event organisers are making online networking very effective by using multiple AI technologies coupled with human intervention for a complete networking solution. They are providing matchmaking features that autonomously pairs you up with potential prospects, and allows you to further your discussion through your preferred video conferencing solution. Following results from our EI survey, it seems as if companies are also benefiting from short and impactful online webinars and workshops. It’s simple, efficient and cost-effective, and companies are using these platforms to educate their target audience and help them overcome challenges. This approach allows you to be seen as a thought leader and sets you up for greater follow up success. If you are going to go down this route, engagement is key to keep your online audience interested. Innovative ways that companies are using to keep their audience engaged include the likes of gamification, polls and Q&A features.

The value of sponsoring an online event

One of the primary benefits that physical events can bring to a sponsor, is the access to their network and target audience. Sponsors are typically given a platform to update, promote and engage with existing and prospective clients. There are multiple ways that conference organisers can bring value to their sponsors to ensure that their sponsors business development objectives are met such as; physical speaking opportunities, exhibition booths, private networking functions and physical onsite branding. These opportunities are typically associated with physical events, and the perception of this may leave many potential sponsors a bit uncertain about how live events can offer the same value for their investment.

Relocating conferences online has made them accessible to a larger and more diverse audience. Because of lower price points and the ability to join from anywhere in the world, sponsors will now have the ability to capture more leads and make new professional contacts that were perhaps not able to join live conferences in the past. Virtual conferences do not require any physical presence and therefore, there are no additional overheads such as flights and accommodation. Your content can also be easily recorded, which means it can be repurposed at a later date or used in conjunction with a future marketing campaign. This saves you time, money and makes your business development approach more efficient. Data analytics is also much easier with an online event. Virtual platforms can let you know who your audience is and what they do which in turn allows you to make more qualified connections with the help of the event organiser. Having something tangible in this regard can assist you with your post show reporting.

Conclusion

Because physical events have been put on hold this does not mean that business leads have to be put on hold. We already use virtual networking services such as LinkedIn and other platforms to build new connections and identify new opportunities. Online events can be very effective for networking and comes along with benefits such as a reduction in costs, time efficiency and accessibility to a wider and more diverse audience. Embrace the technology transition and work closely with your event host to ensure you have the necessary tools to extract the maximum value out of your online networking experience.

Energy Knect has created a free online networking platform to support Energy professionals. Please feel free to visit our website to register.

www.energyknect.com / info@energyknect.com