Legal Sales Development: Start the New Year Strong

January 24, 2014

5273Discover and Redirect Underperforming Assets 

Firm marketing leadership is responsible for developing the individual selling skills necessary every step of the way – and focuses on helping your legal sales and marketing team practice these skills in preparation for closing new business.  In part, this is done by uncovering underperforming assets. Make the decisions to redirect those assets now, and start the New Year focused on winning marketing and sales strategies.

How do you recognize an underperforming asset? Here is an example:

A client came to me because, after her firm spent hundreds of thousands of dollars sponsoring customer workshops and presenting at industry and professional association meetings, only two leads resulted. While providing sales consulting services, I asked to have the chance to observe some of these workshops and meetings.

I could immediately see the problem: The lawyers assigned to attend the meetings failed to comprehend how to network when marketing professional legal services. I observed that the firm’s members congregated, talked and sat with one another, rather than meeting and “chatting up” clients and prospects. This led to a new directive for the firm. Now, each person is given targets to meet at every session. Each lawyers sits at separate tables and personally follows up after the presentations. As a result, the firm’s lead generation grew by more than 125 the following year; of those, 15 were developed and converted to engagements.

This anecdote highlights the disparity between sales training and legal education. Because few lawyers have ever taken undergraduate or graduate marketing courses, networking for business development is not intuitive for them. The good news is that lawyers are quick learners, and it doesn’t usually take more than some training, strong leadership, and effective sales strategies for any legal services firm to soon enjoy the type of turnaround my client engineered.

Success is possible – provided the sales leadership focuses on developing the right strategies, cultivating teamwork, motivating their lawyers and taking the time to practice and prepare for that success.