Buzzword: Sales! Law Firms Learning to Listen (part 3)

What else was hot? Buzzwords of the [legal marketing ] conference were “metrics” and “sales.” (The two breakout sessions I could not attend were on business development diagnostics and competitive intelligence. If anyone who attended these sessions wants to add your two cents here, please email me.)

The nut: Law firms are competing for a bigger pie, but there are fewer chairs at the table. As Adam Stock’s in-house sales and business development newsletter tells attorneys at Doresy & Whitney: “The numbers are in. Companies are drastically reducing the number of outside law firms they use and are giving more business to fewer firms.”

Stock is “Director of Sales” at Dorsey & Whitney and was part of a 3-person panel from that firm sharing their experiences on Building a Sales Focus at Your Law Firm. Joining him were Silvia Coulter, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer, and Scott Cotie, Chief Financial Officer.

The gist: as law firms wake up to these marketplace realities, they are starting to apply the same sales and marketing functions used by other service-oriented practices. These include:

– implementing a corporate model for marketing department
– evaluating historical revenue trends and identifing opportunities
– tracking marketing investments to clients to determine ROI
– analyzing profitablity by client and practice group
– creating a sales culture, both top down and bottom up
– teaching attorneys to be better salespeople
– providing better sales tools
– providing better sales messages

Stock quote: “Don’t beat your chest [saying how great you are], ask the client the questions that when answered will show how great you are.”

Coulter quote: “Tie yourself to revenues not to costs.”

See Coulter and Stock’s bylined article — The Grass Is Greener in the Fall 2003 issue of Law Firm Inc. — for tips on managing the challenge of change in looking beyond industry fences to bring in “outside” marketing and sales tools and talent.
For more on building a legal sales culture, see the newly launched Legal Sales and Service Organization.

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Posted in Law Firm Marketing