Earlier this week I led the first of a new training session on this topic (Helping fee-earners prepare the perfect pitch) with 18 delegates representing global law firms, medium sized law firms, accountancy practices, economists and actuaries with varied experience of pitching and selling.

Initial discussions centred around the challenges. The two key themes emerging were time management (getting fee-earners to involve marketing early, maintaining the schedule, deadlines) and qualification (managing the “Go-No Go” decision). See the diagram below.

This naturally led to a debate about what fee-earners most wanted from marketing/BD support, which raised concerns about the lack of awareness of what was involved in preparing an effective pitch (low sales awareness) and a discussion around ownership of the process.

Perceived risk and reward for fee-earners were also a key challenge from a cultural perspective. The need to develop a better understanding of the sales process, particularly to make effective use of research and briefing/scoping meetings and identify the difference between rational and emotional decision making processes was an area identified for progress.

There was some debate about the level of involvement of marketing/BD and we explored the pyramid comprising: process and resource infrastructure, administration and processing, team support/coaching and ultimately strategic sales consultancy.

Most subsequent exercises revolved around the impact of these challenges on the process of strategy development, document production and the presentation/meeting preparation. There was valuable insight shared into how to improve the development of value propositions.

At the end of the session, the key images, ideas and actions were summarised as follows:

 Image Idea Action
Process pyramid Value proposition Review process
Go/No go decision Document to pitch Communicate process
Traffic light experience Cost of tendering Tailor to clients
Pitch preparation process Team work Revamp content
“Bored” clients Client view/empathy Increase interaction
Power of diagrams Features and benefits Adaptive behaviour
Mind maps Hidden needs Procurement learning
Colour coding Attend scoping meetings Produce toolkit
Reinforcing bad behaviour Value propositions
Metrics Research process
Costs database
Prepare Q&A


Thanks to DMH Stallard solicitors for hosting the event.

Further details of PM Forum training sessions can be found at http://www.pmforum.co.uk/training/index.aspx and this session will run again in February 2013.