Back to The Pulse
Be Counted! Top Tips for BD Professionals for Engaging with Fee Earners
Mar. 11, 2021

Some marketing and business development (BD) teams struggle to engage with the fee earners in their firms in a meaningful way. Despite being specialists in their field, they are perceived as providing a tactical 'support' function – often to their consternation.

Clearly, a change in tack is needed on the part of these skilled marketing and BD professionals to ‘be counted’. Here are my top tips:

  • Collaborate to 'problem solve'

Fee earners have new business goals to reach, but most prefer to remain focussed on their core area of work – i.e. delivering legal advice to clients. Help solve their problems – be that suggesting creative ways to enable them to reach their new business targets or identifying potential opportunities. Here’s a scenario that you may recognise. A Partner of a practice has been running seminars at periodic intervals as part of his/her BD activity. On interrogating the data, you find that these events have generated minimal or no new instructions. Why? While these are good networking events, typically, the same people attend the event, no consequential information is imparted at these events, and limited follow ups are conducted post the event. You conclude that the ROI, in both time and effort and new business is negligible.

To help overcome this problem for the Partner, you could suggest a dynamic email or social media campaign that offers timely advisories, potentially requiring minimal or no budget. Simultaneously you could track the Partner’s Key Clients to help highlight opportunities for proactive outreach based on internal and external developments related to the client contacts.

  • Collaborate with your internal BD peers

Especially in large firms, commonly there are multiple BD executives who are assigned to the various practice groups within the organisation. Build relationships with them to identify joint areas of opportunity and then work with the respective Partners and fee earners to execute the ‘line of attack’ (so to speak!). This will facilitate reinforcement of the ideas/approaches from multiple touchpoints and help move away from the common sentiment towards BD professionals of “do as I tell you to”.

  • Stoke fee earners’ competitive nature

Act as their ‘peer’. Don’t hesitate to walk through their door to suggest news BD ideas. It’s crucial that you go armed with information to make the case – take information on their Key Clients to illustrate the business opportunity, how their peers in other firms are approaching and winning instructions, the strength of relationships that exist in the organisation already, and so on.

Data is your ammunition. All the above can be easily done if you have insightful information at your fingertips. The best part is that today, CRM systems are designed to surface information at your ‘point of need’ – i.e. within your workflow – so access to the data is effortless. In fact, highlighting the data from a system that is used by both you and the fee earners may even convince the latter to pay a little more attention to the intelligence that resides in the technology.

Fiona Jackson

Fiona Jackson has spent over 15 years implementing and working with InterAction in professional services firms, including legal and accountancy. In these in-house roles, supported by InterAction, she managed marketing communications, devised and implemented business development strategies as well as trained and mentored fee earners. She worked closely with internal clients to understand their business processes end-to end and guided them in utilising the 'intelligence' gathered via InterAction to help them be successful at customer relationship management.

Fiona was previously a Client Advisor for five years at LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions; and was often described as "an extension to our business" by her clients. She has now returned to the company to drive an InterAction ‘repositioning’ project for a large London law firm. Fiona is also working with other firms to help them align CRM to wider business development strategies. She specialises in strategic and tactical CRM best practice, and as an expert in devising user adoption strategies, her experience in rolling out and repositioning InterAction as a business tool is proving invaluable to clients.

Fiona is mother to two teenagers, who keep her firmly on her toes. Living in Hertfordshire, she loves walking, is often found obsessing over the latest box set and enjoys all that country pubs have to offer. She also has a spectacular Gin collection of her own. Recently, Fiona has discovered a love for cooking – the varying degrees of success hasn’t stopped her from continuing to giving it a go!

Read More View All Posts by Fiona Jackson
We use cookies to deliver our online, application, and email services. Details on the cookies we use and instructions on how to disable them are set out in our Cookie Policy. Read our Cookie Policy. Please click the appropriate button to enable or disable cookies.