How Not to Structure the Marketing Department

A chief marketing officer was on the phone with me, looking for research on how to structure a law firm's marketing department.  The Made Guys at the firm had just separated marketing from business development.

I didn't need to find any research.  The decision of the partners made as much sense as separating a fisherman from his lure.  Marketing and business development ("sales") are vitally intertwined.

Business development cannot succeed without marketing. Direct mail, advertising, newsletters, email broadcasts, events, print collateral, public relations, branding and the Web site make the law firm a known quantity.  Without marketing, business developers are facing this guy in the chair:Temp_3

From marketing you get strategy, without which sales has no direction. From marketing you generate leads, without which the sales pipeline is empty. From marketing you identify a firm's unique sales proposition, without which business developers have nothing to say.

Marketing is the hook and Business development is catching the fish.

Business development is creating personal sales plans that the attorneys will carry out to generate new files.  BD is training attorneys how to fish and showing them which techniques to use to acquire a target client. BD is rehearsing the partners before they go out on a sales call. BD is meeting the prospect face-to-face, asking questions to determine client "pain," and offering to help.  BD is asking for the business.

Without fishermen there is no catch. Should law firms separate marketing from business development?  Only if they want to sleep with the fishes.

Trackbacks (1) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Business Sanity Blog - March 28, 2007 3:53 PM
There's been alot written about the importance of closing the loop between sales and marketing. In many companies these two departments (that should be so connected) are working independently and not integrating their efforts. As a result, lots of new
Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Patrick Hillman - March 28, 2007 2:02 PM

I agree, as do many firms, I'd guess. But, I have seen the function quite separate at some larger firms (though the departments certainly interfaced routinely).

(My title, btw, is "Director of Marketing & Business Development.")

Bill Crooks - April 26, 2007 9:36 AM

Although I agree with your premise that effective marketing and business development departments use an integrated approach, it is my belief that the best talent usually excel if their focus and specialty reside in one of the two camps.
Either a strong tenured external and internal communications skill set or a track record of focusing on working closely with partners on overall firm, practice and individual partner development plans (industry sector intelligence, competitive intelligence, curriculum tailored for coaching partners on how to use a consultative approach whenever communicating with a partner (customizing to the strengths of the particular partner).

It is my belief that these suggested client development tactics incorporate communications strategies but are carried out by individuals who are specialized in those areas. Just because the department has been separated into two areas with each side staffed with talent who specialize and focus in those areas does not necessarily mean that the integration of both functions does not take place. In fact I have observed firms with this model tend to have less confusion and "internal turf discussions surrounding executing programs" It is the overall leader supervising both functions responsibility to integrate. The separation merely allows the staff to have a better understanding of their responsibilities and focus on what they do best.

Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.

Remember personal info?