Playing the Relationship Game in Today’s Connected World: Insights from the LMA Annual Conference

John Simpson, CEO, and Kalev Peekna, Managing Director of Strategy for One North Interactive lead an engaging session during the LMA Annual Conference entitled: Playing the Relationship Game in Today’s Connected World. The session focused on the effects relationships have and how they can impact a firm’s business and opportunities.

John and Kalev showcased how other businesses are using interactive marketing to reach their clients at every point in their decision-making experience. They also shared how essential it is to align your digital marketing and business development efforts along “The Relationship Cycle.”

Relationship Cycle

From the session, the key lesson that resonated with me was that in the relationship cycle many firms are not participating in the “Active Evaluation” phase. It is in the evaluation phase that you can really learn about your business; then by following-up on the feedback, it formalizes a relationship and creates loyalty.
My favorite quote from the session reinforces this:

 “Loyalty counts more and costs less than awareness.”
– Harvard Business Review

It shocked me to learn from the session that only 1 in 8 (12%) of firms always meet up with their clients to see how satisfied the legal department was with their work and 18% NEVER meet with their clients to discuss satisfaction. By engaging your clients and asking for feedback it opens the dialogue so that in future situations if an issue arises they may feel more comfortable coming forward with issues or input. Client retention should be a key part of the marketing and business development plan.

INTERACT: Does your firm actively seek feedback?

Leadership, Change, and Driving Innovation: Insights from the LMA Annual Conference

The LMA Annual Conference kicked off this year with an inspirational keynote speaker, Kat Cole, President, Cinnabon Inc. Kat’s presentation “The Difference – Lessons in Leadership, Change, and Driving Innovation” provided concrete leadership examples while tying them back to practical applications within firms.

During the session Kat shared her inspiration as she moved up from working as a hostess at 17 to becoming one of the youngest executives in the hospitality industry by the age of 26. Throughout the session she discussed the importance of partnerships in building brand reputation. Here are a few of the key snippets from the session:

Partnerships

  • What Makes Sense
    You should be thinking about what strategic partnerships make sense to expand your business and brand. When being approached for a partnership, you should always ask “will I be a competitor or a collaborator,” make sure it is the right fit.
  • Build Relationships
    You need to be building relationships or the competition will. Think about how you can partner with the people who can help your business grow.
  • Key Advice
    You should be looking for partnerships, not waiting for them to knock on your door or you will miss out. Lastly, no matter what, none of the above matters if you are not making a positive impact on the people around you!

Branding

  • First Things First
    You need to know how your brand got started… what got you to where you are today? Cinnabon focused on relevance and differentiation to build their global brand and firms should too! Products have to be differentiated to stand out in the market, services are no different.
  • Value
    In order to build your brand you need to deliver value to those you serve. Cinnabon’s goal is to WOW their guests. Kat listens to feedback, reads tweets, and completes searches to see what people are saying about the brand. That’s how you innovate and create new products or offerings. Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out to your biggest critics and ask them “how can I help you?” They may become your biggest supporters!

Kat’s transparency and authenticity made her an amazing speaker at this year’s conference. The way she linked her personal and professional life experiences to practical business applications was spot on. With that, we will leave you with our final favorite advice from Kat:

The Hot Shot Rule: Think what would a hot shot do in this situation? You have to be willing to do things differently! Bring new ideas to the table and don’t be afraid of change.

Settling and just being grateful for what you have can also lead to complacence. Make sure you are always evaluating yourself and striving for excellence.

Question yourself and listen to others, make the call to make a change.

“If you don’t do it someone else will. That should be enough motivation to innovate and create.” – Kat Cole

INTERACT: If you attended the session or have seen Kat speak in the past, what were your favorite key takeaways?

Insights from the LMA Annual Conference

If you weren’t in attendance of the LMA Annual Conference last week don’t worry!

Over the course of the next two weeks we will be recapping the key sessions and takeaways from the conference in our new blog series: Insights from the LMA Annual Conference. Tomorrow’s post will recap the keynote presentation from Kat Cole, President Cinnabon Inc: The Difference – Lessons in Leadership, Change, and Driving Innovation.

During the conference we also asked attendees what they would suggest others do to continue to keep their firms moving forward this year. We will be posting a new suggestion each day. Make sure to check out our Twitter feed and follow us www.twitter.com/contactease.

Client Satisfaction through Training and Technology

ILTA just released their March edition of Peer to Peer that focuses on client satisfaction as job number one. One of the articles, The End of Ignorange, emphasizes many of the points already brought to light this year. More specifically, the same point that came out of the Chief Information and Technology Officers Forum, lawyers need to use technology to serve their clients better and stay profitable.

Results from the most recent PwC Law Firm Survey suggest that the majority of firms are facing flat margins and an ever-increasing struggle to differentiate themselves. Meanwhile clients are demanding more and literally putting firms to the test. Casey Flaherty, General Counsel for Kia Motors, has designed a technology audit that he gives to his outside counsel to see how technologically proficient they are. If firms are inefficient in their use of technology, he argues that he should not have to pay the additional cost for the extra time it takes them to complete the work. Ben Weinberger, Chief Strategy Officer for Phoenix Business Solutions, and author of the article gives two key solutions to the problem training and the right tools.

TRAINING
A lawyer’s ability to use technology efficiently is now a must with recent changes to the ABA Model Rule 1.1. The “duty of competence” has been amended to include that a “…lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology…” Firms spend millions of dollars on tools to create efficiencies, they should ensure that their lawyers know how to use the tools otherwise they are just throwing away money. Weinberger suggests that firms need options and creativity when it comes to training. Training should be interactive and offered in various methods such as e-learning, podcasts, walking the floor etc. The most important aspect is that it should be mandated.

The Right Tools
Firms are continuously looking at newer systems and tools to help provide that competitive edge. The right tools should provide a comprehensive view that enables lawyers to manage their clients more efficiently. The real value comes from providing simple, efficient access to information from multiple sources in one single system while having the ability to implement workflow components.

Market pressures and client demand will continue to drive changes in the way legal services are offered and the way a firm operates. What’s your take, do you think firms should have to complete a technology audit to prove they are technologically proficient?

10th Annual Law Firm Chief Information & Technology Officers Forum

If you are in New York this week for ALM’s 2014 Legal Technology Trade Show, we encourage you to stop by the 10th Annual Law Firm Chief Information & Technology Officers Forum. Sam Shipley, Chief Information Officer for ContactEase will be on the panel “Why Does it Cost $800,000 to Edit a Document” this afternoon at 2:35PM EST, we hope you can join him!

The session will explore the challenges of keeping corporate counsel and law firm partners happy. Law firms are being tested on how efficiently and effectively they use of technology. The panel will discuss how law firms are addressing those issues as they relate to technologies such as but not limited to document production, contact management and attorney time keeping. Also, this panel will give examples of success stories of how the right technology and training have been used to compete effectively for new business; create efficiencies, and increase profitability.

We hope to see you at the session or you can stop by and visit us in the America’s Hall II of the Hilton New York Hotel. If you are not able to make it or not at the event, stop back to the blog tomorrow as we will recap the session for you.

Marketing Partner Forum: The Client Experience

This year’s 21st Annual Marketing Partner Forum in Naples, Florida has been focusing on redefining client value in a competitive & changing industry. If you were not able to attend the conference, make sure to stop back throughout this week and next as we will be recapping the sessions and sharing content from the event.

Yesterday, kicked off with various pre-conference workshops and champagne roundtables. We were able to attend the “Client Experience – Competing on Service or Using Metrics to Enhance the Client Experience” roundtable, which provided great advice for and key considerations when benchmarking the client experience. Deborah Farone, Catherine McGregor, and Lesley Wan had the following to share:

When measuring the client experience, it is first important to establish what it is that you are exactly trying to measure. Are you measuring your brand awareness or client satisfaction, or are you mining for client opportunities. If it is the client satisfaction that you are measuring what are you really trying to find out more about: the work, the lawyers, the fees, the service, or the overall client experience? You must then decide which clients you will study: legacy, recently retained, or clients with untapped potential? There are numerous ways you can move forward in surveying your clients.

The most important advice they provided, which has been reiterated in numerous sessions today, was that once you get your findings make sure you ACT on them. Share the information with relevant parties both in your firm and outside the firm, report back to the client if problematic issues were discovered and how you will address them, and make sure to capitalize on any unexpected opportunities that are discovered.

INTERACT: How have you measured your client’s experiences and what are some of the biggest challenges you have encountered?

Hello to a New Year and a New You!

As everyone is settling back into the office after the holidays, this is a great time to take a fresh look at your plans and objectives for 2014. Reflect on your initiatives from 2013 and identify what was successful and where improvements could be made. When creating your plan for this year, consider the following:

Make Your Plan Sizeable and Scalable
It is important to make a plan that is achievable. There is always a multitude of projects that are urgent and at the top of the list. Evaluate each of them carefully and understand which ones are actually achievable. Someone once gave me great advice which is to always under promise and over deliver. If it is unrealistic due to approvals, budget, buy-in, etc. that a project will get accomplished add it to the wish list but don’t promise to deliver on it.

Add Process Documentation as a Part of the Plan
This is going to be another year of a lot of change as the market is starting to pick up again. As personnel change they take along their knowledge of the firm culture, systems, styles, etc. It is key to document and set expectations of processes in your department. For example event planning is an area where a specific process can be created and documented so that as new members join the team the process is not being re-created from scratch with every event. This frees up time to work on other initiatives and tackle some of those wish list items.

Measure, Report, and Share
Measuring and reporting are key to identify success and justify initiatives. When measuring success it is important to understand not only what should be reported but how it should be reported out. With so much content, it is hard even to break through internally. Make sure you are reporting on the things that matter the most. Opt to go with a quick synopsis that is easy to scan instead of that lengthy report, PowerPoint presentation or Excel spreadsheet. Many times reports are created and only shared with select recipients; plan a way to periodically share your teams’ successes firm wide.

Unfortunately and all too often, by the middle of the year the marketing plan that was created becomes more of a marketing wish list. That is why planning ahead and having specific goals for the year are key to your team and own personal success.

We would love to hear from you… what are your firms’ goals for the year, as well as your professional personal goals?

Which Hat Are You Wearing Today: Part 3

Continuing our series “Which Hat Are You Wearing Today” we literally took it to a new level at the New England Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference. Amber Elliott, our ContactEase Director of Implementations, and Chris Fritsch, President and Business Development Consultant, Clients First Consulting presented the session Which Hat Are You Wearing Today: Balancing Marketing, Business Development and Client Services.

During the presentation Amber and Chris took turns actually wearing different hats to represent the different functions marketing takes on from a day-to-day basis. Below are the different roles and associated tasks:
Fire Fighter & Builder Traffic Cop & Miner

Stop back as we will cover the technology that can help streamline the tasks and make success a possibility.

Which Hat Are You Wearing Today

We are excited to announce that Amber Elliott, our ContactEase Director of Implementations, will be speaking this week at the LMA-NE Annual Conference. Joining her will be Chris Fritsch, President and Business Development Consultant, Clients First Consulting to present the session Which Hat Are You Wearing Today: Balancing Marketing, Business Development and Client Services

HatsManaging the marketing for a firm is not what it used to be. The demand for proactive business development and better client services combined with ever-changing technology makes marketing a juggling act. With innovative relationship management you can move your firm forward. Join Amber and Chris to learn how to apply innovative ideas with the right mix of technology to gain profits, satisfy clients, and successfully market your firm. They will discuss trends, provide a high level overview of what firms are doing today to move their firm forward, and go through case studies to showcase how marketers are successfully wearing multiple hats.

The session is on Friday, November 22nd at 2:45PM. Learn more about the overall event by checking out the LMA NE Conference’s website and make sure to stop back on Friday for a recap and pictures from the session.

CRM and Email Marketing: Not Sexy, But Essential

Last week we had the opportunity of attending the LMA San Francisco Chapter’s Tech Conference, Reboot for Success. Prior to the official conference start we participated in the pre-conference session CRM and Email Marketing: Not Sexy, But Essential. Panelist included:

  • Chris Fritsch, CRM Success Consultant, CLIENTSFirst Consulting, LLC
  • Corey Cooper, Sr. Business Development Coordinator, Knobbe Martens
  • Jasmine Trillos-Decarie, CMO, Foley Hoag

The session was well attended and received rave reviews. Below we have summarized the highlights from the session:

CRM & EMail Marketing Not Sexy But Essential

Let us know your thoughts and see the full presentation on Slideshare.