By: Sharon Berman,
Published: Verdicts & Settlements
The elusive corporate counsel! Most business litigators want to get in front of corporate counsel, if not become corporate counsel. But how can you differentiate a firm from the pack? Some essential elements make a difference.
Effective marketing is about execution. To get the most bang for the buck, the firm needs a plan and a focus before execution. The first step is to determine objectives. The more specific the goal, the greater the possibility that the firm will reach that goal.
There is a wide array of in-house counsel. Who specifically does the firm want to reach? Any particular industry or geographical location?
Once the firm has determined its target audience, on what basis do they select outside litigation counsel? What is important to the company? What is important to the firm’s referral sources?
The purchasing criteria of corporate counsel have been studied and surveyed extensively. The firm should review these studies and take the findings into account.
The marketing plan also needs a specific time frame, perhaps one year. The firm should further break that down into smaller increments of time, each with its specific goal or goals.
Each goal requires a tactic. There are a limited number of general tactics, such as direct mail, cold calling, advertising and all the activities that come under the heading of public relations. Most firms don’t create new tactics. Rather, they find unique ways to implement them. The key is to execute, execute well and execute consistently.
Do you have the essential tools to execute an effective marketing program? If a glowing article about you or your firm appeared in the newspaper today, would you be able to quickly get a reprint out by mail, email or fax to your former, current and prospective clients, as well as your referral sources?
If the answer is “no,” then developing a database should be at the top of the marketing to-do list. The database is the core of the firm’s marketing program. It provides an organized method of keeping track of contacts and assures efficiency and speed.
If the contact list is up-to-date, but resides in a word processing program, there is more to be done. There are more effective tools to create databases. The firm needs to invest in a program that provides relationship-building power and is flexible so it can keep notes about contacts with corporate counsel and also provide “ticklers” for follow-up.
Some litigators are naturals when it comes to wooing prospects, but skill always can be enhanced. Marketing and business development activities require distinct education and training. Even attorneys with business development training may want to consider having it again. It may not “stick” if you only do it once.
How can the firm “sell its services to corporate counsel when it can’t get in front of them?”
One of the most effective ways for litigators to get the attention of in-house counsel and other referral sources is to continually educate them. Send them informative letters, offer in-house seminars or e-mail them links to the firm Web site’s educational content.
This must be done on a consistent basis so the reader gets accustomed to seeing the firm’s name in connection with up-to-date intelligence and pertinent messages.
The firm should not expect the phones to ring off the hook the moment it begins its educational campaign. The firm is developing name recognition and relationships to build the client base. The challenge is to be patient.
Remaining consistent will build momentum. Books of business are built one by one. The idea is to generate opportunities to be in front of prospective clients and referral sources.
Sharon Berman is principal of Berbay Marketing & PR, a marketing consulting firm specializing in working with professional services firms. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The firm’s website is www.berbay.com.