Digest 04

We are glad to present you the fourth issue of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Digest.

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"By failing to plan, you are planning to fail.”

10 Steps to a practical 2014 lawyer business development plan

Mike O'Horo

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This is the time of year when lawyers begin thinking about the following year, or should, anyway. Perhaps your firm requires you to submit a business plan, marketing plan, or both. No matter what spurs you to do so, most lawyers struggle with (and dread) this basic function. The result is a last-second slapdash list of random marketing activities with no underlying goals, strategy, or structure. It becomes a piece of paper that allows you to check off the planning box and forget about it until late the next year. It's time to rethink this exercise.

Q: What will your business development practice do for you in 2014?

A: Exactly what you plan for it to do for you.

Conversely, having no plan guarantees frustration, wasted time and money, and a persistently uncomfortable feeling that your marketing and sales efforts are reactive, rudderless and out of control.

The late Hall of Fame basketball coach, John Wooden, was fond of this quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." For our purpose, let's change one word, which gives us: "By failing to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Forget all the elaborate, complicated planning that you may have seen or read about. A legitimate, useful plan requires only that you go through a logical exercise that engineers backward from your goal:

  1. Goal: What you're going to accomplish, expressed in specific, measurable terms

  2. Deadline: by when will you accomplish each goal

  3. Source: Where/who that business will come from.

  4. Specific market segment: description of your buyers

  5. Why those companies will need to hire you (Door-Opener problem)

  6. Who the buyers are within the companies in the sector you'll target

  7. Strategy: the essence of how you'll go to market and accomplish the goal

  8. Marketing tactics: the activities you'll engage in to generate enough legitimate sales opportunities to accomplish your goal

  9. Sales activity: ratios to assure that you have enough activity to succeed. The only number you have to pay attention to is the last one.

    • 8 clients, which requires

    • 24 legitimate sales opportunities (33% closing), which requires

    • 200 relevant conversations, which requires

    • 2000 call attempts, which requires

    • 40 call attempts per week for 50 weeks, which requires

    • 5 call attempts per day

  10. Budget: This won't happen by magic; you'll have to commit sufficient resources or forget about succeeding

    • Time: total hours per week

      • hrs per day outbound phone calls during prime time

      • hrs per week writing/publishing during off hours

      • hrs per week maintaining marketing/sales systems, info

      • hrs per week developing, polishing biz dev skills

    • Money

      • Consultant support

      • Training

      • PR

      • Travel

Yes, this is what it takes. It's simple, but neither quick nor easy. If it was quick and easy, everyone would already be doing it. To borrow from Bob Knight, another Hall of Fame basketball coach: "Everyone wants to win, but not everyone is willing to prepare to win."

Now that your eyes are open, start your thinking engines.

© 2013 RainmakerVT, http://www.rainmakervt.com/. All rights reserved

“Marketing is contextual with the success of the your choice of tools dependent on where you are in the business development life cycle, what other forces are effecting the market, and the players involved in your program to name a few dependencies”

Seven Steps to Getting Your Marketing Budget Right

Lynn Foley

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It’s coming to the end of October and if you firm is organized, you should be well into the process of working on your Strategic Plans for 2014. Along with strategic plans should be the marketing plans that support them and the budget that underpins those activities. This exercise shouldn’t be too difficult if you did your mid-year assessment.

If you’re not at this stage of planning, don’t panic!

Here are a few tips that will help get you started on the path to getting your 2014 Marketing Budget right.

Just do it already!

1. Start now

If you haven’t started working on your budget, it’s not too late. However, you should be pulling out your year to date actual and full year 2013 marketing budgets and corresponding plans and spreading them across your desk. Are they tracking? Are your projections on budget or are you cringing to see how out of sync they are?

If you don’t have those documents (or they are in really bad shape) open up an excel file and start from scratch to create a 2014 Marketing Budget. Something is always better than nothing.

2. Canvas wide

Don’t limit yourself to the usual suspects who contribute to the budgeting process year after year. Ask your accounting group to pull the 2013 actual spend by individual so you can see who’s actually spending the money. Then canvas those people regarding their plans for next year in addition to capturing the budgetary plans of those who are new to the firm (especially partners).

3. Get estimates from your outside consultants

Even if you only have an inkling that you may want to bring in an external consultant on one of your projects, reach out to them now to get a pricing estimate based on your proposed scope. Whether it’s a larger spend such as a new website, or a smaller item such as BD training for associates, get an idea of the numbers now so that you can include them in your budget. There’s nothing worse than getting the go ahead on a marketing investment and you not having an adequate budget to get it done right.

4. Track ROI

Ensure that systems are in place to track the ROI of as many budget items as you can. Partners like to know that they are getting value for money and are more like to invest more in the future if they know you are spending wisely.

5. Past, Present, Future?

Marketing is contextual with the success of the your choice of tools dependent on where you are in the business development life cycle, what other forces are effecting the market, and the players involved in your program to name a few dependencies. What that means is that you need to look at what has worked in the past, and what is currently working, and understand why they have worked.

For example, if you were the first mover on a certain type of client event that your competitors are now copying, don’t necessarily do it again. Put your money into something new that will catch client interest in a different way.

That being said, is it time for that project that the firm culture just wasn't ready for in the past but should be next year? Give it a go and make sure you have the dollars to back it up.

6. Avoid the Status Quo

Don’t leave an expense in the budget just because “it’s always been there.” If an expense doesn't make sense from a strategic and/or financial standpoint then question why it should be included. If there is push back, ask the relevant parties to take “ownership” of the expense and see if it remains in the budget.

Did I mention that you won’t always be popular when you’re in budget season?

7. Add a contingency

Unexpected items always come up from an expense perspective. Whether it’s a large sponsorship or charitable donation requested by a key client for their preferred charity or a client event a partner forgot to mention, you need to add a little extra money just in case. People take notice if you go over budget even if the overspend was genuinely out of your control.

So those are my seven quick tips for getting started on your marketing budgets. Now sit back and let the thought wash over you that no matter what I titled this post, you won’t get it right. You never can get it perfect because people are unpredictable and no amount of planning can allow for all permutations of the choices people will make in your firm. But you can get it informed and accountable. And if you’re lucky you can get it close.

Lynn is a legal marketing and professional services consultant focused on growing revenue and brand awareness for her clients. She holds a dual concentration MBA in Finance & Communications and is as comfortable discussing profitability as she is client satisfaction.

© 2013 fSquared Marketing, http://blog.fsquaredmarketing.com/. All rights reserved

Available online the III St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Final Book features results of the event

The key points of the III SPBILF discussion sessions

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56 workshops dedicated to acute issues of law brought together the best speakers from around the world. Firsthand comments, “direct speech” and current situation assessment are collected in analytical materials on each of the roundtables.

According to the business program structure the book is divided into 10 parts corresponding to thematic tracks:

1. Corporate practice / Compliance

2. Public Law / Rule of Law

3. Law Practice Management / Standards of Legal Profession

4. Litigation and Arbitration Practice

5. Finance / Investments / Trade / Competition

6. Telecommunications / Innovations / Information / Intellectual Property

7. Sports Law

8. Resources and Energy

9. Cultural Heritage

10. Notariat

Post releases present moderators and speakers of the panel, as well as outline of the discussion and bright extracts from the participants’ speeches.

Use the following link to read other commentaries and learn more about the discussion sessions of the III St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.

News of the Forum

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  • The Plenary Session on June 20 will address “The Concept of Rule of Law in Legal Systems: Key Takeaways and Future Prospects”

  • The Cultural programme is now available on the website. Please notice that you can apply for the excursion participation till the 10th of June.

  • Representatives of 21 states have already registered for the Forum.

  • We invite you to take part in the 2014 LES International Conference “Make the World Better through Licensing” which is going to be in Moscow (World Trade Centre) on May 18-21, 2014. This will be the first IP International Conference of such a range in Russia. The event will bring together Russian and foreign business representatives, investors, academics, licensing executives, IP practitioners, lawyers from all over the world. The speakers will focus on acute issues of commercialization, IP protection and transfer in various areas of information, pharmaceutics, motor car construction, alternative energy, environmental resource management, health care services, etc. Besides, special panels will be dedicated to start-ups and due diligence. The list of participants include representatives of major global companies, like «Microsoft», «Canon», «Siemens AG» «Sony Europe», «L’Oreal», «Johnson & Johnson». More information on the official website: http://les2014.org/

Coming in the next issue:

In the next issue of the Digest on February 26 we will present you the interview with Lyudmila Novoselova, Chair of the Intellectual Property Court, on the main functions of the new court and the intellectual property legislation in general, the article on the emotional intelligence for lawyers and the article on the lawyers who became Olympic medalists and legends in the history of the Olympic Games.