Future Leaders SIG Program Review: Pitch and Proposal Management 101

The Future Law Firm Leaders Shared Interest Group (SIG) serves in-house legal marketers with fewer than five years of in-house legal marketing experience by providing them with support, mentorship, peer networking opportunities, and relevant training. 

On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, the Capital and New York chapters’ Future Leaders’ SIGs presented a collaborative program that discussed best practices for managing the pitch and RFP response process. Attendees heard from a panel of professionals dedicated to the proposal process that included: Vanessa Petrea, Pursuits and Proposals Manager at Akin Gump Stauss Hauer & Feld LLP; Matt Loomis, Business Development Specialist at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP; Danielle Lopez, Business Development Manager at Kaye Scholer LLP; and Geoff Baszczuk, Marketing and Business Development Manager at Mayer Brown. 

Presented in four distinct phases, the key takeaways from the event were:

  1. Intake Phase
    • Read and conduct an initial assessment of the opportunity.
    • Check for conflicts and vet outside counsel guidelines with firm leadership.
    • Use firm resources to gather intelligence about the company and the key contacts.
    • Reread the RFP and complete a checklist of the requested items.
    • Identify team leaders and a project manager, communicate expectations, and create and distribute a timeline.
    • Organize an internal kickoff call; be sure to lead the conversation and close with clearly identified action items.
    • Identify obstacles and spot potential issues.
    • For complex RFPs, prepare a tracking document at the outset and use for status updates to team.
  2. Proposal Management Phase
    • The use of technology, specifically proposal management software, improves the quality and consistency of proposals and client-facing collateral.
    • Keep a repository for tried and true responses to questions frequently asked in RFPs.
    • Maintenance is important for success; be sure to update your content regularly.
    • Integrating your software system with your CRM will help to track outcomes.
  3. Development Phase
    • Engage the client or potential client early on by providing an executive summary, an introduction to the firm, and highlight key differentiators.
    • Show knowledge of the client’s needs and issues and offer a solution.
    • Showcase relevant experience including practice overview and key matters, current key clients, notable recent matters and specialized experience, awards and accolades, and biographies of team members.
    • Demonstrate flexibility on fees and highlight any value-added services.
  4. Follow-up Phase
    • Always try to “continue the conversation.”
    • Identify key partner(s) for continued outreach and track and share (internally) all communication with the target.
    • Seek feedback on your proposal from the client/potential client, whether negative or positive.

If you are interested in joining the Future Leaders group or being added to our mailing list, please contact Ashley Briggs at ashley.briggs@arentfox.com.

By Lara Knowles, Marketing Specialist, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP for the March/April 2016 issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter. 


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