Working as a legal consultant for two decades, I am pleased with the development of a recent trend. No, it’s not my greying hair, it’s the breaking down of operational silos. This trend is good news for law firm marketing and business development teams. If your firm isn’t on board with this concept just yet, here’s why it should be.

Bolstering business development

For too long, finance alone owned the firm’s financial metrics, marketing kept the relationship data, the library held competitive intelligence, HR retained personnel information, and so on. The boundaries were well defined and, in some cases, fiercely defended. But this mindset is changing. There’s renewed interest in normalizing deliverables. Plus, with recent investments in master data management and relationship management technology, many firms are shifting to a much more collaborative approach. Why? Because sharing information improves the quality of decisions business leaders can make – particularly when it comes to business development.

Delivering greater strategic value

It’s no longer sufficient for the business development arm of a law firm to work solely on event management and lists. These teams are charged with adding greater strategic value to the firm. Besides, the basic reports that have been used in the past (top 200 client lists, new client information, etc.) only go so far. Mid to large-size firms require more in-depth insight into their existing and potential client base to appropriately define and support a strategy. To achieve this insight, business development departments must accumulate data from all organizational facets, including timekeeper, relationship, and activity data. With advancements in technology, much of this work can be passive and requires minimal effort from timekeepers.

With a newfound trove of information, tools, and collaboration, business development can dive into a new sector of analytics. Business development departments can identify the breadth of work and attorney exposure existing clients have with minor advancements in data accumulation and socialization. It’s been proven that the clients who have engaged a firm in a wide array of work with multiple partners are more likely to produce additional work for the firm. They also tend to be the most profitable clients. Therefore, this information is vital if firms want to identify opportunities to grow while minimizing risk.

Raising the bar on business analytics

By expanding the data set to include financials as well as relationship and experience management metrics, business development professionals can more accurately identify growth strategies. A broader view is a fundamental requirement for achieving firm-wide intelligence. From there, you can raise the bar and focus on fine-tuning your plans related to cross-selling, mentorship, client segmentation, client ranking, client feedback, and relationship strength. All tactical decisions, hiring, intake assessment, additional reporting, etc., tend to run back through to this type of analysis.

It will be fascinating to see how the next stage of analytics unfolds. If the breaking down of barriers continues, it is not a stretch to imagine firms isolating their marketing targets, creating complete risk portfolios on potential clients, and projecting lifetime value. Until then, one thing remains certain. If a firm is practicing the old methods of protectionism, they are adding to their competitive disadvantage daily.

To explain this topic further, on Thursday, May 28, 2020, Russ Haskin presented The Opportunistic Marketer: Using Metrics and Analysis to Drive Growth to TLOMA members and non-members who work in a law firm. Learn more.