Wednesday, December 3, 2014

So,... How Did You Do? 10 Questions to Ask about Your 2014 Business Development Efforts

In a few weeks, you will all be besieged by scores of emails, promotions, and invitations, etc. asking you to begin the new year “right” by purchasing whatever product or service is certain to make 2015 the “big” one in terms of revenue, new client generation, and cost efficiency.

But before you begin the 2015 planning process, this may also be a good time to take a step back and assess 2014, because all products and services aside, this is the best way to ensure that successful initiatives are duplicated or enhanced, and that any mistakes made are avoided.

So, that in mind, I offer you the 10 questions every managing partner/legal marketing professional should ask as 2014 winds to a close:
  1. How successful was 2014 in terms of new client generation?   Were increases in firm revenue a result of ongoing or repeat client business or the result of the firm’s business development initiatives?
  2. Where did new business come from?  Was new revenue concentrated amongst a relatively small group of clients or scattered across a wider range of new clients?
  3. Which marketing activities were most effective in generating new business?  This is a trick question, because not all marketing tools can be easily measured and most new business comes through exposure to a number of different types of business development efforts.  That being said, either quantitatively or qualitatively, is there a sense as to what worked this year and what did not?
  4. Which practice areas benefitted the most from business development initiatives?  Very important.  Different practice groups have different marketing needs. Did the firm ”do right” by each group in terms of implementing the most effective marketing strategies?
  5. Were human resources employed in the most profitable manner possible?  Let’s face it.  Not everyone is good at everything. Some individuals are natural salespeople while others are more comfortable sticking strictly to “lawyering.”  And even among those who are particularly good at generating new business, different people have different skills.  Some write brilliant articles.  Others are terrific presenters. And still others are just gifted when it comes to making small talk at a social or business function. Did the firm take all of this into account in implementing its 2014 plans? 
  6. How efficient was the business development function?  It’s great to have generated new revenue, but far less so, if the expense involved outweighed that revenue. Aside from obvious out-of-pocket costs, how did internal processes affect the business development function? Were marketing committee meetings productive? Did outside vendors get clear direction from the firm and did the various projects flow through the firm smoothly and swiftly?
  7. How was the firm perceived?  Did the firm get adequate feedback from current clients, new clients and prospective clients as to the perceived quality of a) the firm’s work product, b) the firm’s image and c) the firm’s sales “pitch.” 
  8.  How successful were firm competitors in 2014?  Did competitors make inroads into the firm’s business?  Steal any clients? Did any new competitors emerge? If so, what are their strengths and weaknesses?
  9.  What relevant issues, trends, news events were “hot” subjects during the past year?  Did the firm leverage its expertise in certain areas of the law? Did it keep an eye on happenings in the world, the community, the legal industry and its target industries?
  10.  How did the results of 2014 compare to what had been anticipated and planned for one year ago?  How good was the firm at forecasting its future and spotting opportunities and potential trouble spots?  What might the firm have done differently to better anticipate and meet its practice-building needs?

So, there you go.  Ten questions to ask yourself before the curtain drops on 2014.

But think, once you’ve answered them, you’ll truly be ready for the next big assignment – developing your attack plan for generating more business in 2015.

If you would like to discuss strategies for marketing your practice in 2015, contact us at (856) 810-0400.