I was delighted to be invited by the Yorkshire Committee of the PM Forum (http://www.pmforum.co.uk/)  to lead a lunchtime session (hosted by DLA Piper in Leeds and organised by Amit Champaneri) on planning and campaign management. I was even more delighted to find that over 50 folk turned up to hear a re-run of the session I had facilitated at the West Midlands branch back in June (see http://kimtasso.com/mavericks-measurement-and-impatience-campaign-management-in-the-professions-highlights-from-the-west-midlands-professional-marketing-forum/ )

As usual, at the end of the session I asked what they would like me to write about after the event. And the unanimous decision on the day and also in subsequent emails was “Please persuade our fee-earners to let us help them develop campaigns”. So here goes.

Dear busy lawyer, accountant or surveyor

Your lovely marketing and business development people have asked me to write to you to urge you to consider allowing them to help you adopt a structured, campaign approach to your marketing and business development activities.

I know you are very busy and really, really focused on delivering great service to your clients and generating fees and profits so I will try to explain why very quickly.

You want to save time

Your focus is naturally on doing great technical work and developing relationships with your clients and referrers. You don’t want to spend lots of time doing marketing and business development. So if you give us a little time at the outset to clarify your aims, learn about your market, appreciate your strengths and preferences and plan a programme of activities for the next six or 12 months it will save you time in the long run. We’ll all know what we are doing and when and we won’t have to keep coming back to you in an ad-hoc and reactive way.   It will also prevent you wasting time pursuing ad-hoc “flavour-of-the-month” marketing and business development activities that are not effective for your market, your service line or your clients/referrers.

You want to meet your targets

The firm has given you chargeable time, fee and profit targets. You’re busy. We get it. So let us work with you to break those targets down to see what you need to do with existing and potential clients and referrers that will enable you to meet those targets in the most effective and efficient way. The danger is otherwise you will invest lots of precious time doing things that might not be the best way to meet your targets.

You want to protect your reputation

You are concerned about your professional reputation and also that of your team and the firm. You are concerned about being seen in a poor light or doing something that may in some way detract from your hard-earned professional reputation. If we are allowed to help you prepare a proper campaign we can take your concerns and preferences into account, do research to assess the views of clients, measure and mitigate the risks and create a campaign that enhances and protects your reputation – and help it grow in a sustainable way.

You don’t want to do seminars/social media/selling

There are marketing, selling and relationship management activities that either you prefer or that you don’t understand or like or feel are inappropriate for you or for your market. That’s OK. If we learn about your aims and focus on the right market, we can craft a campaign that addresses those concerns and issues and allows you to market and sell in a way that feels right for you. We will not force you to do things that feel uncomfortable or unprofessional or inappropriate.

You want to spread the load

You are fed up carrying the marketing and business development effort on your own. You sometimes despair that others in the team don’t pull their weight and leave the lion’s share of marketing and business development to you. If we develop a campaign together, we can identify the things that you need to do and that we can do to help you but we can also explore those things that others in your team can do so that they contribute – in an appropriate way – to the overall marketing and business development effort.

You want to avoid feast or famine

The nature of your professional work sometimes means that there are times when you are frantically busy and other times when you are despairing about not having enough work to do. In those famine times it’s a frantic rush to generate profile, leads and work to fill the void. And that’s tough because the sales cycle of your business is likely to be long and overnight results are rare. It’s an unpleasant way to live life – always pressured. With a campaign we spread activities out over time, ensuring that we are fuelling the start of your sales pipeline in times of busy-ness – when the last thing you want is more work – and focus on converting leads we have been cultivating for a long time when you need work in the short term.

You want measureable results

When you invest your precious time in any marketing or business development activity you want to know that it’s working – and that you have achieved a satisfactory return on investment. Well, it’s rather difficult for us to measure the effectiveness of a single seminar, or a couple of newsletters, or a daily dose of social media. Yes, we can give you attendance, visitor or open statistics but it’s not the same as reassurance about reaching the right target audience, promoting the right dialogues and generating the right instructions, fees and profits. Yet if we work with you to properly research and plan a campaign, identify the right targets, blend an appropriate mix of communication and selling activities, schedule them across a period of time and allocate scarse resources when they are needed it will be easier to measure progress and results against the objectives we set.

What we will do

For our part, we will ensure that we have up-to-date knowledge of that latest marketing, selling and relationship management techniques. This will save you the effort of having to try and learn all about the many different ways of marketing and selling.

We will ensure that you have the research and information you need by developing systems and investing in technology where required. We will invest our time learning about your markets and clients and services so we have adequate market, product and technical knowledge and you don’t have to spend too much time telling us about what you do and for whom.

We will understand that you are busy and that there are some times when it is simply not practical to meet or talk. We will learn about the firm’s goals so that we ensure your activities are aligned with those of others and we will try to help co-ordinate and cross-pollinate your efforts with others in the firm.

So please, dear fee-earner, give us a little time at the start to help us develop a campaign with you. And understand that we are both on the same side – wanting our firms to prosper with great marketing and selling that results in happy clients, a great reputation and great profits.

With love from Leeds

I’ve written a couple of simple step-by-step blogs for fee-earners who want to learn more about campaigns and want to have a go but are not lucky enough to have a team of enthusiastic, skilled and experienced marketing and business development folk around them to help: