Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Greatest Marketing Challenges

At a recent meeting of an international association of professional services providers, I posed important questions using interactive audience response technology (graciously provided by Express Solutions). When over 100 attendees were asked: What is the single greatest marketing challenge your firm is currently facing?

The response was:
1) Developing more rainmakers and effectively following up on current opportunities (TIE)
2) Helping practitioners find/make time to develop business

Interestingly enough, when I asked this same question over 8 years ago to the over 250 attendees at the 'Marketing Partner Forum' (which up until 2000, I invented, designed and operated), the response was very similar. So the question is -- why are firms still unable to develop more rainmakers?

In my professional opinion, the answers can be found within any single firm by analyzing the three most critical pillars needed for an effective business/client development program: people, processes/procedures and technology. Unfortunately, because of the demands inherent in the billable hour business model, the majority of firms - at best - have only piece-meal or short terms solutions/efforts supporting these three pillars necessary to consistently develop more rainmakers and new business. For example, consider one aspect of the first pillar -- people. In the hiring process, it is one thing to hire great lawyers. It is another to hire great lawyers who can evolve into business advisors able to provide counsel and advice in a consultative manner. Without an overall business orientation and mind set, lawyers can remain myopic with a narrow legal focus and tend to have less productive people skills necessary to develop new work. How does your firm's recruiting, hiring, selection, development and retention processes support and encourage the development of rainmakers?

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