Legal Business Development: A Roadmap for Growing the Top Line
As we’ve all heard before, law firms can improve the bottom line in two ways; 1) by cutting costs, and 2) by increasing the top line. For those firms who weren’t serious about cost-cutting, before then, 2008 likely changed their focus. Expense management continues today, but cost cutting is only half of the equation. Growing top line revenue to help their respective organization improve profitability and spur sustainable growth is the focus of many firm’s today. Top-line revenue growth boils down to some combination of the following:
- Strategic Account Management (SAM)
- Requires focus, organizational alignment, a commitment by firm management/leadership, effective communication, the development of success metrics and accountability.
- Identify your top five priority industries (use your individual client list as a starting point if not the firm list).
- Create a formal Client Team program for your top 10 firm clients as a starting point.
- Create Strategic Account Plans for your top clients (hint: LawVision can help with this).
- An Industry Go-To-Market Strategy
- Taking an industry approach to the market will enable you to maximize collaboration and to deliver the more value ideas to your clients and prospective clients, because you will be thinking more like a business partner; understanding their business will enable you to know what they need, likely before they need it—btw, clients love this.
- Business Development Training & Coaching
- Focus your investment in training/coaching on your top performers and those with the highest potential; partners and associates alike. Limit resource allocation to those underperformers who need “rehabilitating.”
- An “Everyone Sells” Culture
- Provide routine training to every person in the organization related to the firm’s message and direction to ensure consistency of brand representation in the marketplace; pay particular attention to each individual who has direct client contact (e.g., Reception, Administrative Assistants, Marketing, Events, Recruiting, etc.), but don’t overlook those in Library Services, IT, Mailroom, etc.
- Not only will this deliver your message to the market in a consistent fashion, it will result in a more cohesive “team” and will even have a positive impact on morale.
- This is not a bad word! The key to having strong accountability is setting up clear objectives, metrics that matter, and on-going communication.
Focusing on as many of the bullets above will increase your odds of being able to drive your top line revenue growth. What other topics that you can share related to improving a firm’s top line?