Boston Program Recap - Drive the Conversation: Business Development Professionals Preparing Attorneys for Pitches

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Preparing Your Attorneys for a Pitch panelists (from left),
Elyse Desmarais, Chris Newman, Carolyn Manning and David Whiteside (moderator)

To play a vital role in preparing attorneys for pitches, business development professionals need to drive the conversation through a mixture of preparation, curiosity and efficiency, according to panelists at the LMANE Boston April lunch program. 

"Curiosity drives success as a business development professional," said panelist Chris Newman, Director of Practice & Industry Business Development at McDermott Will & Emery. 

A key element of delivering value is vigilantly looking for new ideas on how and when to take advantage of business opportunities, Newman said. 

Carolyn Manning, Director of Business Development at Mintz, said that effectively preparing attorneys for pitch proposals requires not only condensing considerable data but also leading the conversation. 

"It's all about preparation," Manning remarked to the approximate 70 attendees. 

Newman agreed that distilling data and providing an analysis is essential, rather than just passing along information to attorneys. 

Elyse Desmarais, Marketing and Business Development Manager at Goulston & Storrs, observed that pitch preparation requires an assessment of where in the sales process a pitch is coming into play, and, just as important, knowing the right questions to ask of potential clients. Asking informed questions demonstrates knowledge of a prospect and its industry, Desmarais said. 

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While larger firms enjoy resources such as a library staff to gather relevant data, much of what is available can be readily found online, Manning said, such that business development professionals at smaller firms can efficiently obtain useful pitch information. 

Two fruitful sources of information are job listings, which suggest areas of growth, and social media postings, which reveal topics of interest and concern of the company, Manning said. 

Desmarais added that client intake forms and information on conflicts checks are also useful sources of data. 

One-on-one meetings with attorneys on pitch proposals usually yield the best results, according to panel moderator David Whiteside, Director of Client Growth and Success at CLIENTSFirst Consulting. 

"The most effective outcomes and adoption seem to come from identifying and working with individuals or very small close knit groups within a firm on client meeting preparation," Whiteside said. 

The April program, believed to be LMANE Boston's first-ever sold-out lunch event, was hosted by Mintz and co-sponsored by OnePlace and AccuFile. 

We hope to see you at our May 16 lunch program on rethinking pricing in a changing marketplace!

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