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| 2 minutes read

The Rainmaker Genome & The Future of Business Development - PSMG Conference Session Summary

Last week at the PSMG Annual Conference, I attended an outstanding session with Alex Lowe from DCM Insights, Gemma Prescott from Intapp, James Davidge from Taylor Wessing, and Raya Blakeley-Glover from Bird & Bird. The session delved into The Rainmaker Genome Research and explored strategies for firms to motivate their fee earners to become 'Activators.' Here are a few notes from the session.

The background

Client loyalty is waning, according to a survey by DCM Insights. Five years ago, 76% of clients preferred returning to familiar partners, but that number has dropped to 53% today and is projected to fall to 37% within the next five years.

The team at DCM Insights, in collaboration with Intapp, is working on the Rainmaker Genome Project to identify the traits and behaviours that characterise a successful rainmaker in professional services firms.

Their Findings

They identified five distinct business development profiles (see below) and discovered that partners categorised as Activators were the highest performers. They also found that "embracing Activator behaviours can boost the average partner's business development performance by up to 32%."


 Three key behaviors of Activators - Commit, Connect, Create. 

  1. Commit - Activators commit to BD as a crucial part of the job. They reserve time in the schedule for BD each week and consistently engage with clients and prospects and follow up on any opportunities discussed. They are also likely to make use of the firm CRM system to track contacts and follow-ups.
  2. Connect - Activators connect with prospects, clients and colleagues. They are skilled at networking, and building robust connections with current and potential clients, subject-matter experts, and other valuable contacts. They leverage these networks to uncover fresh business opportunities, effectively converting contacts into clients. Importantly, they extend this support not only for themselves but also for their colleagues. 
  3. Create - Activators search for ways to create value. They keep themselves informed about regulatory changes, rulings, economic indicators and news events and then proactively engage prospects and clients in conversations about potential issues and opportunities. If value creation lies beyond their expertise, activators connect clients with other partners or subject-matter experts. Their goal: avoid competing for business when clients already have identified needs. Instead, Activators focus on the future. Although some outreach may not yield immediate billable work, it lays the groundwork for future engagements.

How Bird & Bird and Taylor Wessing are creating Activators

Both Bird & Bird and Taylor Wessing participated in the initial Rainmaker Genome study. Since then, they have been implementing various programs within their firms to cultivate more activators. James Davidge (TW) and Raya Blakely-Glover (B&B) shared a few tips.

  1. Start with the MBD team. The first step is to ensure that all members of the Marketing and Business Development team are up to speed and understand the research and most importantly the specific behaviours you want to promote. Raya mentioned how she is empowering everyone in the MBD to become experts in Activator training, so they can effectively drive the desired behaviours among the lawyers they work with.
  2. Adopt the 3 C's as your BD mantra: Commit, Connect, Create
  3. It takes time, and you don't need to convert everyone into an Activator on day one. The reality is that it’s more effective to encourage everyone to gradually adopt more Activator behaviours. James talked about taking a marginal gains approach. If every Fee Earner across Taylor Wessing improves by just 1%, collectively, that would add up to 1,200 incremental gains.
  4. To get lawyers on board:
    1. Use the research to help them understand the reasons behind the initiative.
    2. Measure successes and share these achievements back with the fee earners
    3. Create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) and excitement to get everyone involved.









e2e, marketing, professional services