Recently, I receive an RFP to provide marketing services to a large regional firm with a deadline of today. I declined. The request included strategic planning, advertising plan, pitch training, part-time consulting, and more. Nothing sought in the RFP I had not done in some fashion in my 27-plus years as a legal marketer. It was a large project that was going to be very expensive. A consultant’s dream. Nevertheless, I decided not to bid as I thought in the end the client law firm would not be happy.
I extended the courtesy of telling the managing partner of the firm why I declined. A combination of too general an approach, and the amount of time it would consume to the detriment of other clients. Mainly, I saw a lot of planning effort but not a lot of focus on individual lawyer efforts. The one thing I have learned in my quarter century in legal marketing is that lawyers are pretty good at planning, but when it comes to implementation, not so much. There is a lot of money in planning. I once saw a national consulting firm rip off hundreds of thousands of dollars on planning efforts that wouldn’t likely (and didn’t) go very far. All C-level staff was opposed to the effort, but attorney management was in favor.
So, how can marketing and business development work? By ensuring that the individual lawyers plan and implement individual action plans – whether part of a larger group or firm plan. It could happen with the firm in question, but the RFP didn’t point in that direction. But, it isn’t just individual plans that are needed but a structure that actually ensures the plans are implemented. Honestly, the only way I see that happening is for the lawyers to have an internal or external coach (aka nag and motivator) to assist with and ensure the each lawyer implements his/her plan. And further, there needs to be assurances that regular coaching progress reports are submitted to management so it can see and evaluate the success of the firm’s overall business development efforts.
It seems like a really nice firm. I merely think they are trying to do too much all at once, which can result in wasting time and money.