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| 2 minutes read

How do you win at marketing in a Partner-led business? - A Summary #MLSUMMIT20

It was the first ever Marketing Leadership Summit last week run by The Lawyer.  It brought together around 70 senior business development a marketing executives from some of the world's biggest Law firms.

It was great to chair the panel on "How do you win at marketing in a Partner-led business" with an amazing line up of experts which included:

  • Nathan Butcher, Partner, Head of Clients & Markets, DAC Beachcroft 
  • Nick Jones, Director, Client/Market Engagement, Forensic & Integrity Services, EY
  • Amanda Wadey, Head of Practice Development – Commercial Disputes, RPC
  • Richard Foley, Global Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons

The panelists not only brought great theory to the stage but also lots of real life examples of what has worked really well in their organisations.  I thought I would write this quick post to share some of the insights from the experts on stage.  There were a lot so the below is just a very quick summary with some of my favourites:

  1. NICK JONES:   It was great to get the insights from one of the "Big 4" accountancy firms.  Nick explained the importance of making sure that the marketing team is close to the client facing staff and not a centralised function removed from the sales process.  He also mentioned that when you are engaging busy Partners in BD and Marketing, it's really important that they understand the value and the benefit.  Then, once they get going ensure that you follow up and allow them follow up training.
  2. NATHAN BUTCHER:  Nathan was able to speak with great authority having been on "both sides of the fence".  He was originally a fee earning Partner before moving to head up all of the Business Development and Marketing.  He spoke of how he has found it really important to hire specialists into his team and not generalists.  This means that every part of the BD and marketing function is being done to an expert level.  He also talked about the investment they have put into Partners and future Partners by linking up with the Oxford University SAID Business school to train the lawyers in Business Development.  It was clear that this investment has been key to top performing lawyers driving the firm forwards.
  3. AMANDA WADEY:  Amanda added some brilliant tips on how to fit Business Development into a 7.5 hour billable day.  She told us how she focusses on keeping things really simple.  She gets the lawyers to create a list of their most important clients (and future clients) and then do a "little bit" of business development every day.  It might just be one email, or one message saying "I saw this and thought of you".  It might even just take a couple of minutes a day but if you set yourself the goal of doing one small thing every day with one key individual and you are disciplined in doing it - then this can form a very effective business development strategy.
  4. RICHARD FOLEY:  It was great to listen to Richard and his angle as a Senior Partner at one of the UK's largest law firms.  He talked of the importance of having BD professionals meeting clients and building those relationships.  He said that having professionals has made a huge difference.  He also said that lawyers and BD professionals should not always be chasing the most senior person e.g. the General Counsel, The CEO,The CFO etc.  This is because a lot of the time the work is not being given out from the most senior roles.  Instead it can often come from more junior in house lawyers, often those who are 3 or 4 years qualified.  So he said it's important to stop always trying to meet the most senior person at a client and instead match your team with the client's team and build those relationships and start to influence at all of the different levels.

See you at #MLSUMMIT20

Recent years have seen a tremendous shift in almost all aspects of the UK legal services sector, but few have been more tangible than the transformation of senior marketing roles. What was once seen, somewhat disparagingly, as a ‘back office’ position is now taking its place shoulder to shoulder with the leading firms’ most senior rainmakers. . Law firms are finally waking up to the fact that marketing makes money. Not all, however, have quite yet cottoned on to precisely how. Most firms now recognise that as they and their clients grapple with the realities of digital transformation, the specialists leading this thinking are unlikely to be lawyers.


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