Client: BDO Australia
Industry: Accounting and business advisory services
Services: Custom POD Program with content from RAIN Selling, RAIN Sales Prospecting, 9 Habits of Extreme Productivity, and Virtual Selling
For years, BDO in Brisbane, a leading global accounting and advisory firm, has partnered with RAIN Group to provide business development (BD) training, including RAIN Sales Conversations and RAIN Sales Negotiation, for its partners, associate directors, and senior managers.
After a successful multi-year engagement focused on improving capabilities for its partners, BDO was looking toward the next stage of its business development training lifecycle—a program designed for smaller, symbiotic groups of people across the Partner/Associate Director/Senior Manager level. They named these groups BD Pods.
“We wanted to further embed a culture of BD into the way we work (the BDO way) and create our own source of energy around business development and growing the success of our clients,” shared Naomi Lynn, Director of Business Development for BDO Brisbane.
At the same time, the firm wanted to enable stronger, trusted relationships between its people. This entailed fostering a greater understanding of the value that each employee brings to the success of their clients, encouraging more cross-firm collaboration and referrals between service lines.
With these goals in mind, BDO was seeking a customized training solution; something that wasn’t off-the-shelf and could be co-designed.
“It had to be highly tailored for our environment and business needs. Something to create a ‘centre of excellence' around the way to grow our business and our clients’ businesses. A cultural shift from ‘selling’ to ‘playing an active role in the success of our clients,’” continued Lynn.
BDO and RAIN Group collaborated to create the Pod Program and the firm implemented the first program at its Brisbane office in 2019.
Running five months in duration with sessions every second week, a group of people from various service lines attended a two to three-hour session where they shared business development principles and models, discussed and practiced application, and conducted a review of current activity and results. The sessions covered concepts from RAIN Sales Conversations, RAIN Sales Prospecting, 9 Habits of Extreme Productivity, and Virtual Selling Imperatives.
Following each session, participants worked on live opportunities, conducted pipeline reviews, and engaged in coaching with a RAIN Group facilitator.
The second Pod Program commenced in February 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic. While many other companies halted trainings, BDO pushed forward and leveraged RAIN Group's Virtual Instructor-Led Training.
“Business development and servicing our clients doesn’t stop, so why should we? We were very comfortable moving forward with RAIN Group’s virtual Pod sessions. They helped us to adapt the content and we maintained high engagement from all participants,” said Lynn.
Now in its third year, BDO has witnessed exceptional results.
Following Brisbane’s two Pod Programs, there has been nearly $17 million in new pipeline generation and activity across 36 people.
“Now our team is empowered to make business development part of their everyday habits. They’re eager to contribute to their partners' pipeline to help grow the firm. The BD culture and engagement levels are very high,” said Lynn.
BDO has also seen a significant improvement in knowledge sharing and internal networking.
“We have highly engaged associate directors who are well-equipped to actively grow our business. We’re hearing a lot of, ‘Oh, I can refer you something,’ or ‘I need to introduce you to this client.’ It’s exciting to see these natural synergies,” shared Lynn. “There are stronger, trusted relationships between our people along with a greater understanding of the value that each brings.”
And that unique training experience BDO desired? RAIN Group delivered.
“It wasn’t just people sitting in a training room, removed from their work. It was real-life opportunities that they focused on throughout the program. The coaching and dedicated time as a group was very beneficial,” explained Lynn.
While most employees dread trainings, BDO witnessed something very different: the firm has a waitlist of people wanting to nominate for the program because they see the value of how it will benefit their career.