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Case Study: Getting the Whole Team Onboard for BD



Many of my clients struggle with engaging their Associates in the task of promoting the Firm: Why do they show no initiative? Why aren’t they more hungry? What more can I do?

Do these questions sound familiar?  There can be many things at play, of course, however, our work with an IP Boutique found success in engaging the firm’s Associates and bringing back enthusiasm and confidence to the partners. A BD reset, if you will.

1. Step One: A Written BD Strategy for the Firm

Our first step was to ensure everyone was on the same page. We facilitated discussions with the partners which resulted in a concrete strategy for the coming year; including 5 objectives, associated target audiences; desired outcomes and activities for achieving them. It is surprising, even to our clients themselves, how few of them have written BD strategies. The Managing Partner of this Firm noted “Like many firms, although the partners had a general idea of what our goals were, we had not taken the time to write a detailed Business Development strategy nor had we shared specific objectives with the other professionals and other role players in the firm.”

2. Step Two: Share the Strategy

Once you have a written Strategy you can set concrete expectations for your team. Sharing your Strategy with your Associates – especially when it includes concrete objectives and desired outcomes – gives them a sense of purpose and sets expectations. These are two things that we are all motivated by. This is the time to inform them that you expect that the whole firm will find a way of contributing to meeting the Strategy objectives. Assure them that you understand that everyone will contribute differently depending on their experience and aptitudes and that you will be providing them with training and mentoring to help them meet their potential.


3. Step Three: Provide Experiential Learning Supported By Coaching

Many of us have sat through business development training only to go back to our desks with great plans but no ideas for implementing them. This is made worse when our “day job” is staring us in the face. As such, SC&C provided a three hour experiential workshop for Associates.  It was designed to create a mind-set shift among Associates to begin thinking of their practice as a business that was in support of the overall firm’s business. The course took them through the practicalities of creating S.M.A.R.T. goals and tracking their success and was supported by group and individual coaching.


4. Step Four: Learn and Practice Together

A second experiential learning session included Partners and was about the fundamentals of BD, namely, fostering a relationship with clients and potential clients. It included role play, a chance to practice in teams and groups and a chance for Partners to assume a structured mentoring role that they have now institutionalized at the firm.


5. Step Five: Mentoring

Partners were given training and tips on how to mentor Associates to raise their BD potential. They had the chance to practice the tips and see the results during our Firm session of experiential learning. Each partner was given an Objective and a Team who they would be working with to meet that objective.

5. Step Six: Set Up an Accountability System

Using the firm’s existing resources, we co-created an internal system for all professionals to submit and be held accountable to their individual BD Strategies. Mentors scheduled on going accountability appointments with their Team and individual Associates. The BD and Marketing Department knew what everyone was working towards so they were able to provide targeted support to the lawyers throughout the year.

The Results?

The following are testimonials provided by the Managing Partner and another Senior Partner of this IP Boutique, respectively:

“As Kathryn predicted, this had the effect of engaging all members of our Team. It also gave us the opportunity for every member in our Team to prepare his/her own Business Development strategy, which falls within the ambit of the firm’s BD strategy. It enables everybody working on different aspects of the firm’s goals and doing so as a Team. We could also formulate a plan for execution with a timeline and deliverables. We are very optimistic about the new business that this spike in BD activity will bring to our Firm.”

“It was fantastic having you here. You gave us a big push in the right direction … I like that what you have left us with is focused and very practical yet would have taken us years to reach ourselves, if at all. As a firm we are re-invigorated and excited about our BD”.

About SC&C: Our Team of coaches, facilitators and trainers, work with lawyers and law firms to build their capacity to bring in bigger and better business, leading to a more profitable and satisfying practice. Based in Canada, with ties around the world, we can help you where you are to build the international clientele that you want. Contact us at info@sccignites.com.

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