Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Highlights from: "2012 Survey Results - Law Firm Business Development Best Practices & Benchmarks©" - analysis and commentary below written by Julie Savarino

The results of the survey are interesting, in that:

1. THERE IS A DISCONNECT BETWEEN LAW FIRM'S RESOURCE ALLOCATION & WHAT ACTUALLY WORKS TO GET NEW BUSINESS - This survey finds that most law firms' Marketing/Business Development Departments continue to provide predominantly marketing communications (marcom) support, which is not what this survey finds generates the most business for law firms. This survey finds that most law firms that responded continue to direct the majority of their staff's time and monetary support towards group events (seminars, conferences, speaking engagements, etc.), while the survey also shows that by far the #1 most effective tool for getting business in the door is in-person/direct meetings. Therefore, responding law firms are likely not supporting the in-person/direct meeting or "sales" process as well as they could be.

2. LACK OF TIME IS A HUGE IMPEDIMENT TO SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT - In response to the question asking "what are the top 3 hurdles/impediments that your internal marcom/busdev team faces regarding successful business development" - the response of "lack of available staff time" was voted top in 1 and 2, so one can assume that lack of available staff time is a very large impediment. The other answers that received the most responses for that questions include: lack of adequate staff to handle workload and lack of strategic focus. In addition according to the result of this survey, the #1 hurdle lawyers seem to face is also lack of time due to billable hour demands.

3. THE 'SALES' OR CLIENT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS TAKES TIME & STRATEGIC FOCUS - It is well known that the vast majority of business comes in the door for law firms as a result of follow-up communications after group events and individual meetings and both lawyers and law firm staff struggle with having enough time to do this. Therefore, appropriate and adequate follow-up may be happening for the firm's top client/client teams, but there is likely little or no organized "sales"/client development strategy or program to identify and follow-up for other, potential new business. In most law firms, individual lawyers continue to pursue their own relationship and/or "leads", in their own way, with little or no coordination, and little proactive and organized follow-up.

There are "sales"/client development programs and processes for law firms that are proven and effective at generating new business (not all are created equally). Some "sales" or client development support functions can be outsourced to qualified, experienced and competent providers. Internally, within law firms it is best to regularly and formally review the firm's entire marcom/busdev function to insure it is contributing to bottom-line growth to the extent possible.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Julie Savarino at or (734) 668-7008.

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