New study reveals key behaviors of top rainmakers at partner-led firms

Intapp and DCM Insights’ Rainmaker Genome Project identifies the leading approach to winning new business

PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Intapp (NASDAQ: INTA), a leading provider of cloud-based software for the global professional and financial services industry, partnered with DCM Insights to produce the Rainmaker Genome Project, a quantitative study designed to understand what makes top-performing business developers different from their peers. In addition, the study will drive Intapp's product investments to ensure solutions continue to enable and reinforce Activator behaviors.

In this era of diminished customer loyalty and increased market competition in the professional and financial services sectors, this report has the potential to fundamentally shift how firms coach, enable, measure, and incentivize partners’ business development efforts. The research found that successful rainmakers at partner-led firms prioritize network building and information-sharing. It describes the combined consistency, rigor, and collaboration they bring to business development activities as the Activator approach. And it shows that leaning into Activator behaviors can increase the average partner’s revenue generation by up to 32%.

“Partner-led firms run the risk of becoming overly reliant on a handful of rainmakers to help reach organizational revenue targets,” said Lavinia Calvert, VP and Industry Principal at Intapp. “This research lays out a roadmap for how they can cultivate firm-wide Activator behaviors to help them remain competitive in an increasingly challenging landscape. Simply put, rainmakers are embracing a set of skills and accessing a cache of tools that their colleagues are not. They have developed a proactive system for building, evaluating, and serving their network of contacts, and view business development as a constant rather than periodic activity.”

The Rainmaker Genome Project surveyed nearly 1,800 partners from 23 global accounting, consulting, investment banking, legal, and other professional services firms to better understand the types of behaviors most commonly exhibited by successful business developers. The full survey report, “Unlocking the secrets to successful business development,” is available now. Research highlights include:

Five business development profiles

The study revealed five contrasting business development profiles that are equally represented across the partner-led firms surveyed:

  • Experts: Reluctant business developers who rely on their reputation as deep subject matter experts to bring in new business
  • Confidants: Client-centric partners with a track record of strong work who are highly protective of and responsive to their clients
  • Activators: Network builders with a proactive business development approach that includes information-sharing and making high-value introductions
  • Debaters: Subject matter experts who have strong opinions on what’s best for a client’s business and are not afraid to share them
  • Realists: Partners who are transparent with their clients about capabilities, cost, outcomes, and value

One clear winner: the Activator

The research found that Activators represented the largest proportion of the high-performer population and the smallest proportion of the low-performer population. Put differently, a partner who chooses an Activator approach is disproportionately more likely to be a successful business developer than if they choose any other approach.

"What's most interesting is that our findings run contrary to the conventional wisdom that if you build a handful of deep, trusted relationships, the next business with that client will naturally come to you," said Matt Dixon, Founding Partner at DCM Insights. "In light of lower loyalty across the board in professional services, the rainmakers of today are taking a different approach. Activators build broader, more robust networks to cultivate new business, and build relationships with that network — ultimately turning contacts into clients — through sharing new ideas and collaborating across their ecosystem of contacts."

A deeper dive into the data reveals three key behaviors that are central to an Activator business development approach:

  • Committing time and effort to consistent business development
  • Connecting with others, both in person and online, to work to grow their network
  • Creating opportunities to proactively engage with clients on potential new business opportunities

Implications for firms

Today’s clients are less loyal to incumbent firms and partners, and “soft-spend” categories are increasingly being vetted more stringently to reduce costs. At the same time, the gap between top business development performers and average performers is widening.

For the first time, the Rainmaker Genome Project provides professional and financial services firm leaders with key data insights, a system for benchmarking professional development goals, and a roadmap for facilitating firmwide accountability.

The research suggests that firms should take a closer look at partners’ business development approaches with an eye towards supporting and enabling Activator behaviors to transform more partners into rainmakers. Firms looking to inspire an Activator mindset should consider a multi-faceted strategy focused on enhancing professional development, empowering partners with supporting technology and marketing intelligence, and encouraging and rewarding Activator behaviors.

More information on the Rainmaker Genome Project is available at

About Intapp

Intapp makes the connected firm possible. We provide cloud software solutions that address the unique operating challenges and regulatory requirements of the global professional and financial services industry. Our solutions help more than 2,300 of the world’s premier private capital, investment banking, legal, accounting, and consulting firms connect their most important assets: people, processes, and data. As part of a connected firm, professionals gain easy access to the information they need to win more business, increase investment returns, streamline deal and engagement execution, and strengthen risk management and compliance. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter (@intapp) and LinkedIn.

About DCM Insights

DCM Insights brings to bear several decades of research and data science expertise which results in an ever-evolving, insight-based point of view about client behavior.

We use research-backed methods to help professional services partners improve their business development effectiveness. Our research shows that as client buying behavior continues to evolve, the best “doer-sellers” adjust to these new realities.

The Activator Development System is a research-backed learning program focused entirely on why clients buy and how to replicate top rainmaker behavior. We are proud to work with many of the world’s leading professional services brands, across law, accounting, consulting, investment banking and talent advisory. This method has already been installed at 30+ global professional services firms and 10+ global 100 law firms. For more information, visit

Ali Robinson
Global Media Relations Director, Intapp