Individual business development plans for law firm professionals are facilitated by a company’s or firm’s human resources department, and its primary focus is on employee actions for their career growth. We strongly recommend you develop your own plan in addition to the firm’s efforts.
You may believe you’re all set once you’ve developed your goals, action items, plan structure, and success metrics. But you need to take a fresh look at things due to new covid realities. All of your action items will be different than they have ever been.
What have you done before for individual business development?
Most firms we’ve spoken to say – Nothing!
Even if these firms had a firm-wide plan there weren’t any individual plans. Among the plans they had, no plans included specific action items to generate business. If your answer is “nothing” too – welcome! We’re glad you’re here.
Challenges With Individual Business Development Plans
Let’s see what law firm professionals are facing in today’s times.
1) Lack of Information
You might not have all the information you need. The reasons could be many, including that you’re not a partner, or because there’s tremendous data collected at your firm and you have no way to track or access it. This can hamper your ability to draft and succeed with an individual business development plan. We strongly recommend that law firms communicate information with all professionals at their firm in a transparent, prudent, and open manner.
2) Policies of the Firm
These can be communication or social media policies that discourage law firm professionals from having a plan. It is nevertheless necessary to go ahead and develop your plan. Many attorneys we’ve dealt with believe that it’s just “filling out a form,” so they add random percentages and figures and have vague action items like writing an article, attending three conferences, and giving one presentation. That’s a great place to start, but it can be so much better!
3) Time Management
If you’re struggling with time management, scheduling is critical since getting it on the calendar saves time and mental space. Business development will need time, tools, knowledge, and effort to make it happen. It’s critical to be realistic if you don’t have all of the tools and resources that could prevent you from achieving your goals as quickly as you’d like.
How can you Combat These Challenges?
Start with internal resources at your law firm, such as CRM, to determine who the firm already represents, what actions are being taken, where you fit in, and then break it all down to the level you need to perform those things individually.
Individual business development is much more important than it has ever been in your career. You must evaluate your market, where your clients are coming from, data, and what action items are accessible to you. According to the 2020 State of US Small Law Firms report published by Thomson Reuters, 14% of small law firms in the US increased, and updated their marketing, promotions, and networking efforts to generate new clients to overcome challenges. This was the second top change made after updating technological systems. That’s the level of business development efforts we’re witnessing. Let’s explore ways in which you can be a part, too.
1) Digital First
This involves legal technology education, acquisition, and attending more conferences. It can also take the form of social media through blogs and articles, and creating effective lead magnets. Assess your action items concerning your practice and where you want to go with it.
How will you gain the credibility you seek in a practice area where you have never worked before? Well, by regularly writing about it and getting published. You must devise a practical content development strategy. We understand that you may not have the time, which is why we are here to handle all of the research and planning for you.
2) Have a CRM in Place
Being digital-first enables you to be prepared with a business development strategy. Next, you must grasp your firm’s resources, such as a client resource management platform.
If you have a software like this, you can incorporate some of the aspects into your business development plan, whether that’s learning how to use it, best practices, or recording your information. This pipeline for your business development will get you clients and keep track of them while keeping your communication up to par. When it comes to communicating with new clients, engaging with people one-on-one or directly with companies, a CRM will be vital.
3) Create an Action Calendar
Spend time knowing where you’re going. It entails client research as well as tracking via CRM. CRM pipelines can help you keep track of who you’ve already contacted, your follow-up schedule, when to send an email, a new blog post, or a resource, who you haven’t contacted in a long time, and a reminder to connect with clients.
You can measure your success by completing all of the tasks you assigned to yourself. What did you learn during the process, and do you need to make any changes to your systems?
Make a Holistic Plan to Follow
If your firm does not provide you with a business development plan as part of its overall strategy, create one for yourself. If you are working towards your career goals then you can marry the two plans and that will be seen as quite positive by your firm.
Set your goals, plan your actions, execute, measure your success and make adjustments as necessary. If you want to chat, find us at firstname.lastname@example.org or engage with us on social media. We’re always around and would love to be a part of your business development initiatives.