Enterprise Improvement in Unprecedented Instances: Traits and Suggestions
As an unprecedented year closes, many companies are taking the opportunity to rethink their business development strategies, tactics, and goals. Some trends have emerged for law firms – and now it is time to take stock and make sure your law firm is keeping up, says Deborah Farone, business development and marketing expert.
Evaluate your technology. “The technology that marketing departments are using is much more strained,” says Farone. “Since everyone works from home, people need information online that is available to them.” CMOs and partners expect their teams to be able to implement dashboards that allow them to access customer data, from pitching to billing to customer service teams.
The tech marketers and lawyers they connect with on a daily basis have also found a place in the spotlight. “We’re all setting new standards by trying to be more creative with people,” says Farone. By now, most lawyers know to avoid using cat filters on their Zoom calls – but there is still a lot to learn. Marketers can lead the way in creating seminars and meetings using branded backgrounds, chat boxes, surveys, and Q&A tools.
Invest in training. Over the past year, lawyer training has increased at all stages of their careers. Farone notes, “Companies recognize that everyone has value, especially when the company has downsized or taken leave of absence. Smart companies are looking for ways to help employees get the most out of what they do. Training helps develop skills, but it also sends a message to people that they are important and that the company cares about you and wants to invest in your future. She adds, “Younger lawyers really want to be part of the business and have a sense of purpose. So I see firms taking more business development training earlier in lawyers’ careers. “
Always connect. If attorneys have not got used to personal contact with important clients and contacts, they are now endangering important relationships. “One-on-one meetings are critical,” says Farone. “If we’ve seen one attribute more than ever, it’s empathy.”
At the start of the shutdown, she advised companies, “Make sure you have a good system in place to reach customers regularly, especially when you’re not working on something with them. It is very valuable just to be in touch. Lawyers can still call and ask, “How are you, can I do something for you?” B. Advice from your IT department or help with finding a job for a family member. “Build connections by helping people where it is appropriate and necessary.”
This is another area where marketing teams can be useful, she suggests: “A good marketing department can help develop questions for partners to ask customers, or suggest some things they can offer – like participating in one Online cultural event or attend a lecture or webinar. “The personalization of these recommendations is of course important:” We have to be real and authentic. “
Businesses have gotten creative with virtual events, from yoga to gallery tours to in-depth discussions on diversity issues. Even so, Farone advises, “You can conduct all the creative events in the world, but nothing can replace that personal call. I have spoken to many General Counsel who have not received these calls and say how nice it would be if they did. I think there is a division between the companies that say they get in touch and the customers that don’t get that message. “
Beware of memo fatigue. Building on empathy, Farone says, “You really need to understand what your customer is going through and give them what they need.” Don’t feel obliged to create customer notifications that cover every regulatory evolution. Other companies may already be doing this, and customers are overwhelmed with redundant analyzes.
“It’s important to ask customers what kind of updates they want. Are they lengthy, detailed customer memos, or is it better if I give you a call, have a weekly meeting with your employees, or hold a monthly meeting with others in your industry? Have these conversations and design your reach based on the wishes of your clients and not on the wishes of our law firms. “
Look at other industries. Law firms can operate in a bubble while corporations and other organizations advance innovative ways to reach customers. Learn from them, says Farone – focus groups, for example, are a great way to gather feedback and spark ideas. Knowledge and a little creativity can trigger new marketing ideas.
Get additional insights from Farone and leading law firm partners on the Practicing Law Institute’s On-Demand Briefing, Business Development: Best Practices Post-Pandemic.
The Practicing Law Institute is a non-profit learning organization dedicated to keeping lawyers and other professionals at the forefront of knowledge and expertise. PLI was chartered by the regents of the University of New York State and founded in 1933 by Harold P. Seligson. The organization offers high quality, accredited, ongoing legal and professional education programs in a variety of formats offered by more than 4,000 voluntary schools including prominent lawyers, judges, investment bankers, accountants, business consultants, and US and international government regulators. PLI publishes a comprehensive library of papers, course manuals, answer books and journals, which are also available on the PLI PLUS online platform. The essence of PLI’s mission is commitment to the pro bono community. Watch PLI’s upcoming live webcasts here.