If there’s one thing that makes a business stand out from any other organisation, it’s the ability of your client facing professionals to foster a much deeper understanding of their client’s issues and providing advice that is directly related to achieving their outcomes.
Commerciality is going beyond technical expertise. It is probing deep and harnessing a true understanding of the prospect or client’s environment, challenges, market impact, business strategy, their audiences, political and legislative implications and a whole host of ‘commercial’ factors. It is a step towards providing a first class service, having a competitive edge and ultimately winning new business.
This is evident from a report that the FT conducted with MPF and Meridian West in 2012, ‘Effective Client-Adviser Relationships’. The concept of ‘commerciality’ and what it means to a business is explored amongst an audience of over 1,000 clients and advisers of Professional Service firms.
A lack of understanding about clients and their business can jeopardise relationships: 52% of clients cite a lack of understanding of their business as the biggest factor that could damage a client-adviser relationship. Lack of understanding is cited ahead of provision of inappropriate advice (45%) and slow response to communication (45%).
Its real-world application is evident in many leading firms from Ernst & Young, one of the world’s top professional services firms, who’ve embedded the concept in their graduate programme; to Citi, a pre-eminent Financial Services company where a senior trader has advised its members on how to get the best out of FT, using it to become more commercial.
Over 83% of the clients who are receiving professional services from the study agreed that levels of commercial awareness has an impact of selecting an organisation as well as 89% of the advisers themselves agreeing that it has an impact on winning new business.
How to become more ‘commercially-minded’
Born out of a need for these learnings to be put into practice, The Commerciality Hub, a website dedicated to providing insights and tools on how to become more commercial, has cultivated 7 useful habits to get there. Its framework is based on the FT’s Client-Adviser Relationship Report, originally published in 2012.
This has since been updated and in conjunction with Longitude research. The 2015 report ‘Embedding Commerciality’ relies on the primary research to investigate further investigations on the perceptions of commerciality and the role the FT plays in helping achieve commerciality.