Five Simple And Effective Business Development Tasks That You Need To Do.
Lawyers spent most of 2020 adjusting to remote working and new business methods. In many cases, this involves a shift in the way companies and lawyers conduct their business development.
These five simple business development tasks will help you maximize your efforts and support long-term business growth.
What is legal business development?
Let’s first define business development and separate it from marketing.
Business development focuses on building and strengthening relationships with prospects, referral sources, and strategic partnerships – actions that contribute to the company’s growth and sales.
Marketing is outward-looking and responsible for understanding the target market, creating awareness, and then communicating the benefits, skills and messages to get inquiries.
Why Business Development Is Important to Law Firms
Business development, regardless of the size of a company, is a central part of a business strategy. And as technology plays an increasingly important role in our lives and in law firms, the role of business development continues to evolve.
Business development isn’t just about selling and it certainly doesn’t require a dedicated BD team in your company. Growing customer relationships, building referral networks, and creating your personal brand are examples of doing business as a lawyer.
Business development is less about the immediate results and more about your long-term success.
With that in mind, here’s a roundup of the five simple business development tasks you can do now to make a big difference this year:
- Analyze and evaluate your relationships
- Identify and track your recommendations
- Visit your online presence again
- Think about a solid process
- Measure your BD ROI
1. Evaluate your relationships
Your relationships are a key element of doing business as a lawyer – don’t let them get cold.
A pile of business cards won’t help you keep in touch unless you build a system of organization, engagement, and care. This includes tracking your friends in law schools, legal colleagues, professional acquaintances, and so on.
Think about your current relationships and assess where your chances are, where people have fallen away, and where you can improve.
Assess your strongest connections – especially when it comes to your customers and referral sources. Plan this in terms of resource allocation and who you want to continue working with.
With your strongest or most valuable contacts, think about how you will get in touch with them and what steps you will take to nurture and sustain the relationship. Then determine if you can flush and repeat this process with prospective clients or clients with lower scores.
A contact management system can be helpful here to efficiently manage your relationships.
2. Analyze your sources of recommendation
Analyze where your company comes from and how you ultimately worked with them or for their customers.
Your referral sources are strategic to your business – they opened you up to their network.
Keep your referral sources informed of your developments and let them know of the type of work they have put you through. Thank you to those who referred you and write down how you or the customer were first introduced.
Consider upgrading your technology and business processes to keep track of your customer interactions, recommendations, and new requirements. You can use a Legal Contact Management Tool (CRM) to track referrals and strengthen relationships with valued contacts – just like you would with a Rolodex.
Once you understand how to get referrals from sources, you can invest your time and effort in the networking and activities through which you purchased them. It also helps you stay in touch, add value, and build trust in your strategic relationships.
You are now ready to analyze your three strongest sources of recommendation and outline your business relationship with them. How did you get into a partnership? When was the last time you contacted them?
Use these insights to plan your relationship management.
3. Visit your online presence again
Your online presence is essential in a digital world. In most cases, this is your prospect’s first impression of you, and an easy way for them to access information about you and your business services.
The internet is also a way for your law firm to reach a large audience and build authority in your field.
So, be sure to visit your website and social media channels again before the holidays. Think about your elevator space, the types of services you offer, and recent important matters or events. Then check that the information on your website and on social media channels reflects this correctly.
By visiting your online channels regularly, you can keep your information updated and ensure that you are always presenting the best version of your company online.
4. Review an internal process
Lawyers spend most of the day dealing with client matters and day-to-day business operations. This can leave little time to pause and take a moment to review the efficiency and operation of the company.
Before the vacation is a good time to review internal work processes and determine where there is room for improvement.
Perhaps it is a new customer intake log or a lead / referral maintenance system. Whatever it is, even a small change, it can make a massive difference.
Some things you can check are:
- How productive are your digital marketing processes?
- What if your company has a strong management team to grow?
- Are there manual processes that you could eliminate?
5. Measure your ROI
Measure and evaluate the results of your business development efforts to determine what has been effective and where you can get more ROI.
It’s been a disruptive year to say the least, and many companies may reconsider their budget and resource allocations. Review your business development plan and set your financial goals, team requirements, and the types of activities you need to do.
It can sometimes be difficult to accurately measure effort without hard metrics as business development is mostly about building business relationships. For this reason, it is helpful to use a CRM to track recommendations and your contact relationships.
Identify key growth drivers and align them with your business strategy to plan this year’s tactics. If you haven’t already, review your business development efforts regularly, not just at the end of the year.