For the last several weeks, I’ve been focusing on discussions about client teams in law firms. Business development, cross selling, and lawyers as business people are all topics front and center. Some of my clients in the legal vertical deliver business of law services to law firms. These suppliers’ law firm clients, mostly large, seek improved efficiencies, technology to improve productivity, and a greater slice of the decreasing client pie.
Law firms are grappling with lawyers who are not traditionally good in business or sales; they practice law. Most of us in professional services would prefer to practice our trade than sell. Unfortunately, it’s a survival tactic, and universities are rushing to rectify this oversight with more business education in law schools.
In BtoB magazine May 3, 2010, a panel of marketers gathered at a Forrester Marketing Forum to foretell the new era of “adaptive marketing.” In a keynote address, David Williams, chairman-CEO of CRM agency Merkle, said, “Marketing’s day for transforming competitive advantage inside the organization has arrived. Competitive advantage in the future will be based on how well we can change and influence the behavior of an individual consumer.”
Williams adds, “Marketers need to build an enterprise-wide strategy that is focused on the value of the customer as a core business strategy.”
Perhaps lawyers need to be better marketers rather than experienced business people, eh?
My objection is about the descriptors and vernacular being tossed around as labels for plain old client service. When referring to “client behavior” (like at the Forrester symposium), it feels like something akin to a science experiment. Hey, we’re people here!
I appreciate and respect industry analysts’ programs for the good of marketing’s future. The more I read, the more I’d prefer to focus on relationship building and delivery of leading- edge, results-driven marketing public relations oriented to keeping clients satisfied with high-quality work product.
I realize there are metrics, measurements, KPIs (key performance indicators), and whatever quality standards are in force on a given day. What I see missing are people skills that lead to strengthened relationships.
A few buzz words might get you thinking along my lines — politeness, respect, courtesy, and trust.
Am I barking up a lilac bush or an oak tree here?