Law firm business development is getting a facelift in 2016 according to Matt Thompson.
In an article for LawFuel titled, 6 Ways to Shake Up Law Firm Business Development in 2016, he cites a two key factors: A fiercely competitive legal market along with a fundamental shift in how law firms buy legal services.
The outcome is motivating law firms to experiment with different ways of marketing the firm and approaching business development.
Law firms are honing in on thought leadership to drive growth. Its sage advice given the rise of “content marketing” however Mr. Thompson notes in content, there’s a difference between signal and noise.
True thought leadership in the legal sector requires equal parts attorney insights and expertise as well as a steady commitment from firm attorneys. Content must be both engaging and of unique value:
“Your content must be differentiated from the other content options to which your targeted audience has access.”
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Law Firms in Business Development Transition
A Survey of 400 Legal Marketing and BD Pros
Focus and BD Metrics that Matter
Law firms can get a leg up on the competition focusing on the 15 people that can make or break a law firm, rather than casting wide net and trying to see what sticks:
“In this ultra-competitive legal marketplace, firms are realizing a more effective approach to business development is focusing on a smaller pool of prospects and working on building those relationships from the ground up.”
Equally important is leading metrics. Mr. Thompson writes law firms “tend to track lagging indicators for BD metrics” and while those are important, hindsight is always 20/20. Predictive analytics are all the rage in litigation circles – what are the leading indicators in law firm business development?
He offered few examples of leading indicators:
“For example, the number of client or prospect touch points, relationship and engagement scoring, number of opportunities in each deal stage, and opportunities that have spent over a certain amount of time in a particular stage.”
Marketing vs. BD Work Better Together
Upwards of 90% of 400 legal marketing professionals agree marketing and BD are similar…but different. In fact, the passion runs so thick, nearly half of all respondents wrote in to provide 197 law firm marketing and BD are different.
Mr. Thompson suggests marketing is about putting the law firm on the map, whereas business development is about human interaction and making real interpersonal connections. Both strategies, he says, are important, but they are only truly effective to the business development process when they are working in tandem:
“The opportunity for firms going forward is not in making further distinctions between marketing and BD, but rather in how the two functions intertwine as part of a full prospect or client journey.”
Even as an attorney is building client relationships, marketing aims to continuously add value throughout the lifecycle.
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