Gaining trust with your firm’s key stakeholders is key to successful marketing and business development. But engaging attorneys in your key marketing programs can have its challenges. Limited time, resources and visibility within the firm can stifle even the most effective marketing initiatives.
This is why Edward Lovatt is so lucky to welcome Morgan Horvitz, Chief Client Relations and Business Development Officer at Galloway to the CMO Series, to share her experience in gaining attorney engagement.
Ed and Morgan cover:
- Morgan’s career journey to her current role at Galloway and how those experiences have shaped her approach
- The point at which Morgan identified the importance of strong stakeholder relationships, particularly with attorneys, in driving successful business development
- Successful projects implemented at Galloway including the CRM
- The more traditional and in-person activities that create wrap-around support for attorneys
- How to go about building the brand of the marketing and BD function within the firm to help build trust with attorneys
- Key stakeholders and functions that need engaging for wider firm buy-in
- Challenges or roadblocks when it comes to engaging key stakeholders and how to overcome those
- Advice for marketing and BD professionals looking to effectively engage their attorneys and key stakeholders within their firm
Ed: Gaining attorney engagement in key marketing and BD programs is the topic of today's podcast, mostly all about gaining trust with your firm's key stakeholders and how it's key to successful marketing and business development. This is why we're very lucky today to welcome Morgan Horvitz, the Chief Client Relations and Business Development Officer at Galloway. She's going to share her experience in gaining this attorney engagement and the variety of techniques and approaches she's taken throughout her career to build trust with the marketing and BD function. Morgan, welcome to the podcast.
Morgan: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.
Ed: Absolute pleasure. Now you and I have been chatting for I think just over a year now and I'm really excited to get you on the pod. You have a wealth of experience in business development and marketing. So before we dive into the topic, please, can you give me a little bit of background or give the listeners at least I know your background, give them a bit of background about your journey to your current role at Galloway and how those previous experiences have shaped your approach now.
Morgan: Thank you. So it's a long journey. So I'm gonna try and keep it short. My second year in graduate school in Boston, I decided that I could take a full-time job at the same time that I was doing school. So I had moved to Boston from Oklahoma where I had been working in TV and radio and didn't have a good grasp on the job market there. Ironically, my father who was also in legal marketing had just come back from an LMA Conference and met people in Boston and he had me give them a call. So from there, it was really informational interviews until someone knew someone that knew someone with an opening. And I was interviewed for my first law firm marketing job at Wolf Greenfield which was an IP Boutique and I got the job and I was hooked.
Like going to work every day with smart motivated people with enough autonomy to really make a difference and build relationships was exactly where I wanted to be. So I stayed there for that year then for another year after grad school but I really wanted to make my way back to Texas. So I then went to a similarly sized firm with about 100 attorneys in Houston with a litigation, oil and gas focus. Again I was hooked, I was a solo marketer really they're building relationships, getting to know people and making a difference. I was able to build relationships there with incredible trial attorneys and I decided that that was also something that I thought was really exciting and as far as the practice of law. So after about five years there, I decided I wanted to try working on a larger team with more resources. I really wanted to see what I could do if I could learn what it looked like to have more resources and that larger team. So I went over to at the time, Sutherland now Evershed Sutherland, to work in their texas offices with litigation and oil and gas. Then I was there the year again for about five years after I had my son, I really wanted to make a move that would require a little bit less travel. At that time I was travelling overseas and to Atlanta and Washington D.C. And I was hoping to do something that would allow me to be at home a little bit more.
So I started working at Jackson Lewis which was an even larger team and I was overseeing the business development of their huge litigation team as well as a number of industry teams and technologies. I was there for a while and then when the opportunity became available at Galloway to once again be at a mid-sized firm where I kind of where I started but with all the information and knowledge I gained from working at the larger firms with big teams and deep resources I had to jump at it.
Ed: Yeah, it sounds like with that experience behind you Galloway might be quite lucky to have you as the chief relations and BD officer. I imagine that they're quite happy to have you on the team.
Morgan: Thank you. I hope so.
Ed: So more gun given your illustrious career so far, can you pinpoint or do you think you can define a pivotal moment that maybe you identified the importance of strong stakeholder relationships and gaining the particularly with the attorneys gaining maybe their buy-in to drive successful business development?
Morgan: So I'm not sure there was a pivotal or defining moment, but definitely early, early in my career I learned that gaining the trust and respect of the attorneys was key in allowing me to help them. If we talk and really listen and build a relationship that helps the attorneys understand the value that I or my team is going to the table as business professionals, they have to understand that we have a different skill set than they do, but that it is valuable to them and it can help them achieve the success in their careers that they're looking for. And once we achieve that understanding that buy-in really the sky is the limit.
Ed: It was a bit of a tricky question to ask you to define one specific moment because if there is one that would maybe be like the absolute piece of gold dust that everybody's looking for to get that buy-in from attorneys, you maybe had the key to it. But it was, it was perhaps a big ask now I know from, as I said speaking to you for for over a year now, a couple of the projects that you've been working on if you could explain for some of our listeners. I think implementing a CRM was quite recent. Could you maybe detail a little bit about how you went about getting the attorney engaged in that and getting the buy-in from them?
Morgan: Absolutely. So I've had the opportunity to, to do a number of like big and important projects so far at Galloway, it's been a lot of fun, but CRM it was really the speciality and specifically the passion project that I've been able to get so far. And it really started with me bringing in a few key stakeholders. So when I was looking to come to Galloway, there was a long list of things, a wish list of things that they wanted their new CMO to be able to take on and CRM was very low on the list, but it struck me as something that was really, really important since they didn't, they'd never had one before and I wasn't sure you know, really how to go about doing a lot of the other projects and the things that the firm wanted to do without that.
So I found I found a few people from our technology team and then a few attorneys that had been at firms previously that had had a CRM and I got everyone together and we really talked about why it was important and then I outlined kind of the process for them about what I was thinking about how we would pick one and then move forward, I got that initial buy-in and then when fourth we interviewed a number of CRM companies picked one. I brought that group back together with our entire technology committee and we did demos and we talked about it. We decided it was a good idea and then worked with the folks, both the interaction and my firm to build a plan and kind of an education plan where we could do kind of a drip campaign and process to make sure we had really good buy-in.
So we rolled the project out initially from our managing partner and then our technology committee took on some of the pieces of communication and the marketing team and myself took on the rest and then we went office by office to really get the first small offices and then building up to the larger offices to get them implemented one at a time so we could start with a few small successes and build from there. And that was really successful. We ended up and we still have 100% attorney participation and buy-in in our CRM.
Ed: 100% is the number that I think everybody would aim for. So that's pretty amazing to then achieve it. Do you think is it beneficial to sometimes target the committee that you mentioned to assist you with getting the whole buy-in from maybe some of the other more tricky attorneys and senior partners for example or do you try and just do a bit of a blanket approach on that?
Morgan: I really tried. Our technology committee are some of the loudest voices at the firm, which is fantastic. Right. So I feel like a lot of the time is starting with some of those trickier stakeholders and the people that could end up kind of taking the project down at the end and having them be part of the process of looping them in from the beginning often turns them into, you know, your biggest champions and even spokespeople for the project.
Ed: Technology clearly plays a key role in your approach and when we spoke previously, you talk to me about some of the more traditional and in-person activities that you've implemented that create wraparound support for attorneys and key stakeholders. Could you detail those a little bit further for the listeners?
Morgan: Absolutely. And I'll use the CRM project again as an example. But instead of just sending out emails and doing webinar training for the CRM, we took a really, really traditional in-person approach and my whole team did a roadshow as we were rolling out the different offices for interaction. We went in-person to every office as we were rolling it out, and we did in-person breakfast training with our legal assistance and paralegals and we did lunch in-person training with our attorneys and then literally sat down with each of the attorneys in their office and showed them which buttons to press and how to use the CRM to make it useful for them and really focused on the key benefits and the three things that they could do that would make it useful for them. But it really did require to get that success and that 100% by in that we stop and do a roadshow and go and listen and talk in person and sit down with individuals to make sure that they understood the value and the use of the product.
Ed: I think you and I would both agree having just attended a conference last week that in-person and face-to-face activities are definitely back. I think that the MPF that we were just at was completely sold out. So people that still may be the main way to get things done or get the buy-in from people, isn't it?
Morgan: It really is. There is no substitute for sitting down in a room with someone and breaking bread or drinking a glass of wine or just sitting across the desk for them and listening.
Ed: Yeah, I think you're right. It really is coming back and or it's completely back now as well. Covid just had a little bit of a pause on it. We've talked before and I've heard you talk on a panel before about building the brand of marketing and BD function within the firm to help build trust with attorneys. How do you go about that?
Morgan: So I learned again really early on that the sentiment about the marketing and business development team at any firm is a key indicator of how effective the team can be. And now as a leader of that team, I think that branding and honestly marketing the team internally is a very important job function. It gives the attorneys the trust and the team and the visibility of that team which allows us to do our job. So at Galloway, I started by naming the team, the CD Team like short for the Client Development team, capitalising the first letter of each word like you would any proper noun. And the CD Team has an email group address that's properly titled for the attorneys or others to reach out to the full team at the same time. And then I created a menu of services that goes out to various groups on a very regular basis. It's a branded document that includes our brief purpose statement categorically lists the primary services that we provide and the best person to go to for them and then at the bottom our contact information both individually and the full team email address and that goes out monthly with our CD update, also branded, which is an internal newsletter about what everyone is doing on the BD front and then it also goes out to each group individually when we do training or webinars and give presentations. In fact, there was a nicely printed version in the folders that went out to each of our attorneys at our firm retreat just last week.
Ed: Everything sounds like it runs so smoothly and effectively. And I wondered, have you ever had any challenges or roadblocks? I'd love you to say no, but I have to ask the question, have you ever come across any of these challenges or roadblocks when it comes to engaging with these key stakeholders?
Morgan: Oh my God, there are always challenges engaging with attorneys always. I mean they're hyper-busy and hyper-focused professionals. Really I found it's again the age-old idea of starting by working with the willing and then marketing and selling their successes to others at the firm. So never, it's not ever about me, me, me or marketing, marketing, marketing or Client Development, Client Development, Client Development. It is always about the attorneys and their successes. But again, I've also found that engaging those potential naysayers, especially with the strong voices of the firm at the beginning of the project and really inviting them to be part of the process often ends with them becoming champions.
Ed: I really wanted you to say that there were no roadblocks. It was smooth sailing the whole way. I know too well that that's not the answer, but I'm glad that everybody grows from the challenges that they face and the roadblocks, it’s a bit of a lesson as to maybe how to do things slightly differently or how to approach some things a little bit differently. So I think maybe it's a good thing sometimes to have a couple of those. Well, we now have a quick fire round Morgan, where we'll ask a few questions that are a bit more personal based maybe. So if you're ready to go, we'll just fire straight into the quick-fire, which is what's your favourite business and non-business book?
Morgan: So the business book that has had the most impact on the thus far is Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It really makes you stop and analyse the amount and type of effort that's needed to do various tasks and make decisions throughout the day. It led me to do things like create a capsule wardrobe because packing and picking out clothing requires slow thinking where you have to really think and be deliberate. Often, especially these days with a lot of work from home and it doesn't add very much value. And my favourite non-business book it's hard to say, I read a lot of fantasy novels, I find that they really kind of take me out of reality and give me a really good escape when I need it.
Ed: Fair enough. This is my favorite part of the podcast sometimes because I get to write these books down and then buy them and read them myself. So it's very useful question. Next question for you is what was your first job?
Morgan: My very first job was waiting tables at Johnny Rockets in a high-end shopping mall in Dallas called North Park. So it's one of the restaurants where the waiters stop every once in a while and they sing and dance. I was super industrious and I made a few extra bucks by volunteering to be the dance captain.
Ed: You're going to regret telling me that the next time I see you.
Morgan: All the waiters had to sing the songs and the dances and we used ketchup bottles with microphone.
Ed: I'm definitely requesting this next time I see you, Morgan. What makes you happy at work?
Morgan: I mean just because of the theme of the podcast, I mean it's the people 100% so having a great team with diverse backgrounds, professional experience and ideas that find joy in working together is something I'm grateful for every single day.
Ed: I wholeheartedly agree with that. It's a great sentiment. What are you listening to at the moment? And that could be podcast music. Maybe audiobook or even Tiktok videos.
Morgan: So there's a fantastic playlist on apple music called Feeling Happy and when I'm not listening to my five year old’s music on the way to school or talking with my friends, that's always on.
Ed: I’ve noted that down as well. Finally, what is your favourite place to visit and why?
Morgan: I think we touched on this earlier, I've been on the road so much for the past few months, both for business and vacation. But I've got to say my favourite place right now is my house. So my five-year-old son Arthur is a maniac and a dream. He's very clever and mischievous. So I'd say really sitting down to dinner at home and talking and laughing with him and my husband is probably my favourite place right now.
Ed: I think that's a really lovely answer. Last question to wrap up the whole podcast. It's been an absolute pleasure having you on Morgan. What would be your one piece of advice for other marketing and BD professionals looking to engage or to effectively engage their attorneys and key stakeholders?
Morgan: I know it sounds like common sense, but really picking up the phone instead of writing an email and there's no meeting on the calendar just to connect a dot or to ask a question or if you're in an office walking down the hall to do that. If it's an option and taking the time if your firm allows it to travel and sit down with people with your key stakeholders regularly, really helps you build a strong foundation and pave the way for your next big initiative.
Ed: I think that's a solid answer and kind of goes back to what we touched on briefly about that in-person connection really, that seems to be more popular every week, every month since Covid.
Morgan: Aren’t you glad?
Ed: Yes, very much so Morgan. It's been an absolute pleasure to have you on. I know we've been talking about doing this for a while, so I'm really glad that we got to get it recorded and we'll send it out to the masses. Thank you very much. I look forward to seeing you soon.
Morgan: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me on. I'm very grateful for the opportunity.
Ed: Absolute pleasure.Thanks very much, Morgan.