Program Review: Adding Value by Getting Specific: How You Can Dig Deeper to Become a Trusted Advisor

On May 25, Adam Severson, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer at Baker Donelson and Immediate Past President of the Legal Marketing Association, shared with the Capital Chapter his perspective on how to use marketing and business strategies to gain a greater market share of your top clients’ business. 

Among many great takeaways from his presentation, Adam shared the following: 

It is important to align lawyers’ business development time with activities that have the potential to reap the greatest benefits. Adam recommended that they should be focusing BD efforts on regular visits with top clients. Much more so than a phone call or email, face-to-face visits nurture the personal relationship and keep you top-of-mind for when future legal issues arise. 

Know your market opportunity and current market share. Understand that you are not necessarily the top law firm in your top clients’ roster. A lot of these companies spend far more than you would think on legal fees. Your firm may be billing a top client several million dollars each year, while the client may be actually spending in the billions total. Try to find out how much your top clients are spending on outside legal services and where you stack up in their roster of law firms. By knowing what their legal spend is overall, you are in a better position to try to gain a greater share of their work and move up the chain. The goal is to be a primary provider among your top clients' law firm roster. What is the best way to find out their overall spend? Ask them! 

Make sure to maintain current work before attempting to grow business with top clients. You must make sure that client satisfaction is high. What types of programs do you have available to those clients to move up the value chain?  

Get specific: Pick a client and make a plan. What are the specific developments in their business or industry and how will that affect their need for legal services? How are we positioned to capitalize on those opportunities? What does the client value in terms of law firm service? Understand your top clients’ buying patterns and get to know the key decision makers responsible for hiring outside counsel.

By Emily Flowers, Manager of Content Marketing & Communications, McDermott Will & Emery for the May/June 2016 issue of Capital Ideas.

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