September 19, 2021

Volume XI, Number 262

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September 17, 2021

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Law Firm Sales and Marketing Professionals: Off the Sidelines, Into the Fray

A quote commonly ascribed to Mark Twain says: “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Attending law firm marketing conferences reminds me of that quote. Those who do not bill time and who do not face clients and prospective clients talk ad nauseum about client-provider dynamics, value, and about lawyers’ deficiencies in interpersonal skills, business acumen and project management. In this, the premier football week of the year, I’d like to observe that marketing and business development people who do not go to the point of service, or the point of sale, are akin to sideline reporters, who know the rules and who observe and comment, but don’t really understand the game.

Heading into 2013, I challenge those in the field of law firm sales and marketing to insert themselves into the client-facing lineup, so that we can develop a true understanding of the game. This, I believe, will better inform our commentary and almost certainly make us a bit more forgiving of those who have been on the field all along – the lawyers.

As part of this exercise, it’s time for us to stop just talking about value, and start adding it. I’ve been thinking of specific ways that sales and marketers can take responsibility for adding value, and hopefully in the days ahead, I’ll share some of these ideas.

Here is the first one:

  • Connect the dots. In-house lawyers, like every employee at a commercial enterprise, are expected to focus on revenue and profit. These in-house counsel improve their corporate standing and job security when they land, or significantly help to land, new customers, or when their actions shore up relations with existing customers. Those who are in the law firm sales and marketing business have a good handle on , and perhaps relationships with , executives at the law firm’s other clients and prospective clients. With just a little thought, it would be easy for any of us with a sales and/or marketing role to identify potential leads for our in-house counsel friends, and to connect the dots, helping them get credit for new sales and customer up-sells. At very little incremental cost to the law firm, business developers can add tremendous and tangible value for our clients… in a way that truly shows up on in-house counsel’s scoreboard.
Copyright © 2021 Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume III, Number 32
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About this Author

Steven Bell, Womble Carlyle Law Firm, Chief Client Development Officer
Chief Sales & Marketing Officer

A pioneer of professional services sales with more than 25 years of experience in the field, Steve Bell was the co-founder of the Sales Department at Price Waterhouse, the founder of Sales at Grant Thornton, and the legal profession’s first director of sales.  In his current role as Womble Carlyle’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Steve is responsible for engaging and serving clients ranging from entrepreneurial companies to major multinationals, principally in manufacturing and distribution, telecommunications, technology, hospitality and financial services. Among...

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