NO DATABASE? You’re killing your rainmakers and driving up marketing costs
June 20, 2017
In the three decades we have been marketing law firms, so much has changed. But the fundamental and most common institutional weakness of even the most talented groups of lawyers has not – their mailing list (now otherwise known as their marketing database).
No matter what you call it, however, most all but the largest firms either have no database at all, incomplete lists on various platforms, or have failed to manage their database properly after buying software to manage it.
If you are one of those firms reported to have been unable to harness the software they purchased, you are not alone. Studies reveal that most firms are unable to get enough attorney cooperation to complete the install.
“The importance of an email list cannot be understated regarding your success,” blogs the Huff Post. Fail to have one and “you’re no better than wandering around in the dark.”
Insults to lawyer locomotion aside, having no database, a disorganized set of them or one that’s outdated, introduces inefficiency and alarming hidden personal and financial expense. This should be of paramount concern to your rainmakers, particularly to those rainmakers trying to transition clients to next-generation practitioners. It distorts your marketing budget, too.
Rainmakers spend hundreds of hours or more annually than service partners do on business development, according to the studies available. In the absence of a robust database, rainmakers must leave the office to make personal contact far more often to maintain top-of-mind awareness and convey their own, their successor’s and their colleagues’ expertise in the absence of a database. That’s tiring, even personally unhealthy as it needlessly stretches out the rainmakers’ business day. It’s also needlessly expensive in terms of added dues, tickets of all sorts, food-and-drink, travel, sponsorship, advertising and other out-of-pockets needed to replace the electronic communications made possible by having a database. In short, you aren’t saving your firm anything by not having a comprehensive database, you are just burning up and shortening the lives of your rainmakers. You’re forcing them to be town criers in the age of the Internet.
“Don’t get cheap here,” the Huff Post warns. “This is the community you’ve grown together, and you need to monitor and shepherd them appropriately.”
Find one of the database systems designed for a firm your size. It may be an add-on to your document management or accounting system. We write “database development and management” as a new tactic or ongoing project in every marketing plan we do for boutique firms, full-service law firms, whether local or regional, and contingent fee practices. It’s foundational. The firms that do this find their rainmakers become even more productive and their marketing budgets, as percentage of fee volume, unaffected by initial installation and ongoing software licensing costs.
Shepherding your herd properly includes executing yet another tactic that is part of every marketing plan and best practices review we conduct for law firms. The tactic is preparing a survey asking those who pay your salary (that’s your clients), how they want you to communicate with them and what legal topics most interest them. The idea is to create “thought ware”– timely and relevant information that is wanted, The Washington Post writes.
You have to have “visible experts. Without that, firms and their (lawyers) miss the personal connections that are at the heart of any professional services business,” The Post reported, adding that “Without a strategic (marketing) plan that is built around what your clients want, need and value, even the most interesting ideas and insights will fail to break through the wall of noise in business communications today.”
If your firm is interested in creating a plan to take pressure off its rainmakers’ traditional efforts, to build a succession plan, introduce efficiencies and provide clients and referral sources with the information they want in the way they want to receive it all to spur direct assignments and referrals, contact us today.