Teams of the Future – what will change and how might it influence your career?


In 2023 a considerable number of firms are driving change, transformation and innovation agendas, against a back-drop of one of the biggest changes in technology to affect our generation.

With so much changing it’s important for BDMC professionals, no matter their level, to stay ahead of the curve on where the industry is going.

In August 2023, Katie Rosser moderated an ICON APAC panel discussion to a room full of BDMC professionals in Singapore which explored several major disruptors affecting the industry and how these will affect the Teams of the Future.  The panel shared insight, opinion as well as advice on how to best prepare yourself and your teams to be ready.

Thank you to the panellists who joined us:

Dawn Westerhout, Head of Corporate Affairs & Marketing, KPMG APAC

Roy Ang, Executive Director and Head of BD & Marketing APAC, Withersworldwide

Sue-Ann Wilson, Head of BD & Marketing APAC, Clyde & Co.

Here we share some of the high-level insights coming out of the discussion.  This is a snapshot of a dynamic and deep conversation on the day, and we appreciated such active contributions from all.  It’s clearly a topic that resonates!

  • Client expectations are changing as technology evolves in all areas of our lives and the expectation is of fast-paced, personalised, all-encompassing solutions.
  • Data strategies and team development will continue to be of huge importance. “We will use data to assess client initiatives.”  “Technology only works with good data.”
  • Operational aspects of BDMC will move to Technology and/or offshore/low-cost centres. Whilst firms have different strategies, generally the trend to move the operational out of BDMC teams in major centres will continue.  This means roles will continue to become more about strategy and facilitation, at junior levels too.
  • Technology should be embraced not feared. Some areas will always need the human approach, not least building trust and relationships.  Staying at the forefront of technology, the strategy to utilise it and the most creative ways to prompt technology (like ChatGPT) will be important. “The opportunity is where we bring the human and tech together.”
  • The success of Offshore/low-cost centres depends on how well they are set up and managed. One panellist encouraged attendees to persevere if it doesn’t work the first time.  when done right it will save teams so much time and allow focus on more pro-active activities. “With all this change happening, don’t give up on something new if it doesn’t work the first time.  Keep upskilling, keep pushing, stay resilient, stay collaborative.”
  • The increase in truly client-facing roles will continue.  Though it was acknowledged that this needs to move at the right pace for each business and whilst we can predict this future, not every firm is ready yet.
  • Firms may start to bring in more BD professionals from other sectors, seeking the deep sector knowledge expected by clients. It was acknowledged this change would be quicker in larger markets like the UK and Australia. “This isn’t something you should see as a risk to your career if you’ve always worked in professional services.  It’s a positive for everyone in the room.  But only if you take advantage of the diversity.  Make sure you learn from new team members and get the most out of experiencing their ideas.”
  •  Increasingly global roles are being based in the APAC and this means a candidate in Singapore for example could be competing with candidates in the US, the UK and Australia for a role. This trend has brought more career development opportunity to markets like Singapore.
  • The increase of growth areas like ESG, Cyber, Risk and New Law models have added diversity to the types of BD roles in traditional BD teams. These roles can often be more market facing and/or have a sales component.
  • Some trends in major markets may come to Singapore in the future. Examples of newer roles receiving investment in larger markets were shared and discussed: Truly client facing account roles  |  Sales roles / lead generation BD  |  Sector BD leaders from industry  |  Account based marketing  |  Increased digital and content (thought leadership) investment  |  Business insights and research  |  Data experts  |  Editors (testing the validity of all information).
  • Soft skills seen as vital for BDMC professionals in teams of the future: Critical thinking  |  Creativity  |  Curiosity  |  Desire for continued learning  |  Self-awareness in order to grow  |  Empathy & kindness  |  Strategy & facilitation  |  Relationship development and ability to build authentic trust  |  Curiosity and ability to keep up with new technology.
  • We asked the panel to share the most audacious prediction they would dare to make about what a career in professional services marketing will look like in 10 years’ time. If you’re reading this and you have your own idea, please get in touch to share it with us!


 “A lot more than we are currently predicting will be done by technology, it will be a good thing and propel BDMC teams into higher level value.”

“Our BDMC teams could be resourced to scale up & scale down on an as needs campaign basis making a career choice to specialise in contracting, freelancing in this space common.”

“People with a desire to be CEO will choose to start their career in professional services marketing.”


We hope you’ve found this useful.  Each insight is a discussion topic in itself and if this gets you thinking about the future of your own career then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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