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| 2 minutes read

Realigning BD & Marketing Departments To Ensure A Seat At The Table.

I attended the recent PM Forum virtual event this week and whilst there was some great content and speakers showcasing their skills but the session that really stood out for me was delivered by Susan Ahern (CMO at Clark Hill) and her colleague Megan McKeon (Director of BD).

The session covered a lot of brilliant advice and I have attempted to condense the key takeaways below. Susan pulled no punches at the start suggesting that there is often a journey to go on and it isn't always easy but very worth it once you get there.  Firstly though, it is important to understand where you are trying to get to and what the vision is defined as.  In the Clark Hill case, they defined it as being a high performing team, driving the business forwards whilst being agile, client-centric and all the while helping to increase market share and growth for the firm.

A framework to get there is outlined below.

Cross operational collaboration is seen as very important to achieving success at Clark Hill with shared goals, accountability and cross-functional engagement underpinning everything that the marketing and BD team have achieved.  Susan pointed to the fact that you have to actively find strategic alignments with goals shared internally and externally and not just with the marketing and BD functions.

During the session, It soon became very clear that the marketing and BD team at Clark Hill have positioned themselves as central not only to the business internally but also to clients externally as well.  This has been achieved by understanding the market and understanding clients on a very granular level.  Megan pointed to research by Thomson Reuters below that clearly shows law firms leaving revenue on the table with clients.  However, those that are good at applying specific client relationship levers, will leave significantly less. 

The mantra with which Clark Hill has gone with is termed PULSE and stands for Position, Understand, Learn More, Strategize, and Engage and is visualised below in a bit more detail.  Susan pointed to the fact that these foundation elements must be put in place to then get all of the other cogs working whilst constantly measuring where the team is against an overarching KPI set.  

The last point that really stood out was the fact that with this robust, ever moving and evolving framework in place, it is not just the clients that benefit, but also the people working within Susan's team in non-fee-earning roles.  

''Play as a team, earn your seat at the table and you will be offered it''  I left the session with Susan's parting shot ringing in my ears.

''Play as a team, earn your seat at the table and you will be offered it''


e2e, marketing, professional services, collaboration, business development

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