The events of last year drove more professionals in the marketing and business development space to work from home, but they also drove tougher business conditions, unanticipated challenges and higher workloads.
Keeping people and teams motivated in the face of this was the topic of discussion at today's closing keynote at The Lawyer's Marketing Leadership Summit. Hundreds of legal professionals heard the well-qualified wisdom of our Panellists who were excellently hosted by Matt Byrne, Deputy Editor at The Lawyer.
- Michelle Holford, Director of Business Development at Slaughter and May
- David McClune, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Hogan Lovells
- Leor Franks, Director of BD & Marketing at Kingsley Napley
- Sadie Baron, Chief Marketing Officer at Reed Smith
Professional services among the most complex industries for marketing & BD
In a point well made, David McClune posited that due to their organisational structure, wide-ranging markets and knowledge-based services, professional services are not only one of the most competitive industries in the world but also one of the most complex.
Firms are coming more to terms with how to best go to market and structure their marketing and BD approaches now with proven talent in both professions in high demand.
Digital skills on the rise alongside client-facing skills
Adversity in the market has meant that clients have fallen back on their trusted advisors. A less entrepreneurial approach alongside more fixed relationships have put a focus on client-facing skills that can drive the best possible outcomes for existing clients and offer a safe & inviting prospect to potential clients.
Unsurprisingly but perhaps somewhat ironically, alongside this focus on "soft skills", digital skills have been in the highest demand in recent times. Those that are able to drive engagement and deliver value through digital marketing & BD are essential to success for professional services firms.
Talent is taking precedence over location
Remote working is nothing new to marketing and BD teams, but recent changes in attitude and the expectations of top talent are driving structural changes for the profession.
Due to the complex nature of go-to-market strategy in professional services, the marketing and BD best practice playbook remains largely unwritten. Those high performers that are defining best practice are so valuable to their firms, and the nature of their work such that compromises can be made in working location. Performance now matters more than geography.
Law firms are moving towards the "pointy end" of business development
In hushed tones, deep within the bowels of chancery lane, the "S" word is whispered in hushed tones. "Sales". While "sales" is likely to be seen as a dirty word for some time to come, law firms are focusing more on the deliberate, structured and revenue-focused side of business development.
The competitive landscape, client expectations and greater ambition from firm leadership all contributes to a more challenging and rigorous business development landscape. The nature of professional services still means that business development has to be undertaken differently, but processes resemble more and more a sales dynamic