How K&L Gates Reengineered its Business Development Processes

Joe Berardi, law firm marketing, marketing directorWhen Preston Gates & Ellis merged with Kirkpatrtck & Lockhart Nicholson Graham to form K&L Gates, CMO Jeff Berardi had to merge InterAction CRM with web-based Microsoft Sharepoint. Once it did so, it improved the number of RFPs it won by 40%.

"What we really needed to do in January 2007 was to merge those tools into one manageable system," says K&L Gates CMO Jeff Berardi.” The key was to make it a much more formal, rigorous process to track and measure what we were doing well and where we could improve."

Over the next 12 months, K&L Gates was not only able to increase the number of its responses to requests for proposals by 20 percent, but also to improve by 40 percent the number of times it won those contests. The averages come out to a 17 percent increase in the firm's win ratio on proposals.

But it wasn't easy. A variety of lawyers, practice groups, and offices all work on proposals for new business, sometimes with the involvement of the marketing department, sometimes without.

In part because they are always under time pressure, lawyers seem to resist entering information on forms. As a result, those involved are not able to target their proposals as well as they otherwise might. When the documents are out the door, no one knows for sure what is outstanding. Business that comes in rarely gets tied back in a meaningful way to the marketing efforts. In the end, there is no way to really manage the business development process and improve it.

As Berardi saw it, K&L Gates needed three things:

  • The right data
  • Availability of the information to those who needed it
  • Evaluation of all its proposals to see what worked and what didn't.

It started with the proposal tracking programs that each of the two firms had. "A group of us sat down and took a look at all the data being captured, figured out what was most critical, how we could standardize categories and fields, what would make the most sense," says director of client development, David Bowerman.

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Jim Dee - July 14, 2008 4:30 PM

The challenge, IMHO, is not configuring the system; it's in getting the ultra-busy client service professionals to actually USE it in some fashion (or, more likely, in getting all marketers and admin personnel *firmwide* on-board with the initiative to populate the database properly so that meaningful features and reporting emerge). Major kudos to Berardi for accomplishing this feat!

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