One of the most common requirements of a development professional is to get their client ninety percent or a minimum of eighty percent of the way to the completion line. Anyone who has been a client development leader has most likely heard this statement from partners quite often during the past five years. This statement may have been made regarding any endeavor for client development, website page, presentation, brochure or blog post.
In most instances, the partners were not asking but demanding the business development and marketing professionals take a substantial and leading role in pursuits, proposals and pitches. Since attorneys are always pressed for time, they insist their client developers shoulder the responsibility of understanding both their prospective and current clients and their businesses. The client developers must understand and have the ability to intelligently write about issues in the industry.
The client developers must also have better than passable knowledge regarding all current legal issues, be able to figure out an almost completed work project for delivery to the client with pride and minimal intervention from the attorney, and thoroughly understand both the attorneys of the firm and their experience. This first step is a challenge for business and law firm marketing professionals as well as a compliment.
This shows attorneys have developed a new respect and trust for their staff and are willing to provide equal or nearly equal status for members of their pursuit, pitch and proposal teams. This is the opposite end of the spectrum from just ten or twenty years ago. In the past, there were a lot of attorneys who believed they were the masters of absolutely everything. This included sales and marketing. This was when attorneys believed their marketing department was nothing more than and a way to fulfill their wishes and ideas.
The fact so many attorneys have made this change is more encouraging than it has ever been. This is the reason client developers performing and delivering has become more important than it ever was. The client developers for modern law firms are a lot more prepared than those from a decade or two in the past. During this point in time, law firms often filled their marketing divisions with recycled employees from administrative roles and other departments.
The client developers of today have earned relevant credentials such as business degrees. Law firms will pay more than they did in the past by offering compensation packages. These packages can compete with what is being offered in the more traditional commercial sectors. This has resulted in extremely well-qualified professionals becoming a part of the trade.
Due to the development resources being offered by numerous different organizations and outside consulting organizations, certification programs and development training have become easily available. The sales and marketing professionals of today can learn more competencies in business much faster. This competence is especially relevant to legal firms. This means the emerging expectations for sales and marketing professionals by attorneys for the delivery of an eighty or ninety percent expectation are justified.
There are also other ways business development and marketing professionals can use to ensure better preparation steps to reach the ninety percent mark. These activities should be performed by the attorneys but not only have they not been trained they usually do not have enough time. This has resulted in a tremendous opportunity for the gap to be filled by client developers. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop an excellent reputation with their clients, the attorneys.
Although taking these steps will require time, there is no priority more important than satisfying their clients. These important steps include:
• Remaining current regarding IP, transactional and litigation issues updated on a regular basis by information services.
• Adopting the clients of the attorneys the client developers are supporting.
• Engineering opportunities with the clients for interactions face to face for a minimum of educational and social events but also during business meetings. Once the client developers have completed all of the important steps, they will be able to surpass everyone else.
• Listening in on calls for quarterly earnings.
• Following the clients on client alert systems, their web sites, social media and more.
• Earning certifications for skills in business development from an organization providing these types of certifications.
• Subscribing to all of the industry reports connected to the clients who have been adopted,
• Following industry analysts.
• Learning how to interpret and read SEC documents including risk profiles, proxy statements and 10ks. Short courses in these subjects are readily available and affordable from a wide variety of sources.
• This type of preparation on the part of the client developers offers new insights that will be valuable to the service team of the firm or the client. It is important to inform the service team and relationship partner of these preparations.
Providing this kind of service for internal clients is an important step for career advancement as a professional in addition to helping develop the overall marketing team. This may be a difficult task as well as a tremendous expectation but this is exactly what the clients are expecting from the law firms and attorneys who provide services for them. The Lawyers of Distinction Community can help with additional help that law firms need.