At a recent training workshop we considered: What marketing and business development assistants would like to say to their fee-earners. The assistants know that they have to work hard to understand what their fee-earners do and who they do it for – they must develop empathy with their fee-earners and develop product knowledge in the technical services provided.
Marketing requires an in-depth knowledge of the markets and real insight into what clients need – both now and in the future. Whilst senior marketers have this knowledge and are involved in developing strategic plans, the assistants are often in more reactive roles – implementing plans developed by others and supporting a variety of fee-earners who have their own plans.
Most assistants work for multiple fee-earners and have an overview of what is happening across the firm and therefore access to best practice ideas. They want to help their fee-earners achieve the very best so this is what they ask.
What marketing and business development assistants would like to say to their fee-earners
Be clear on your aims It is hard for us to help you if there isn’t clarity on what you are trying to achieve. Please work with us so that we understand what you want – your goals and ideal outcomes – then we can select the most effective and efficient method of achieving those aims. If we develop goals together there will be more focus and you will be able to measure the results.
Have respect Our fee-earners well qualified, highly trained and extremely good at their jobs. They work hard to deliver excellent client service and are often under intense pressure. However, many marketing and BD assistants have also studied and qualified. Marketing and BD assistants work under pressure too. Some mutual respect would be appreciated. Politeness goes a long way!
Help us learn We know we need to learn a lot about your technical area of expertise, your markets and your clients. We also know that you are really busy. Please direct us to the best sources of learning so that we can acquire that knowledge and be more effective at helping you.
Share plans and information We appreciate that some information is confidential. However, our help will be more effective if we can see your plans and some of the financial information – for example, expenditure by major clients. And fee income and profitability by service line and market or client.
Show appreciation Sometimes fee-earners are not aware of quite how much effort a marketing assistant has done to complete a task or achieve the result required. Whilst it is “just doing my job”, it is good to receive the occasional thanks and to be appreciated. Psychologists have found that appreciation increases motivation and performance – it can even be more motivating than financial rewards.
Make face time It’s quicker and easier for all concerned if we get to spend a little face time with you. It avoids countless emails and follow-on questions. We can be flexible about when we see you and we know not to take too much of your time. So please let us know when is the best time for a quick face-to-face chat.
Give advance notice In order to do their best work, marketing and BD assistants need time. If fee-earners ask for help on a pitch, presentation or event at the last minute there is a limit to what can be done. A little advance notice often means that a much better result can be achieved.
Observe deadlines Often marketing and business development activities involve many fee-earners. The work of one fee-earner is reliant on another. There are some things that simply cannot be done in less time than advised. Missing an important deadline can have disastrous effects on a project’s overall efficiency.
Recognise we have multiple masters Most marketing and BD assistants serve multiple fee-earners. This means that as well as a heavy workload, the assistants are often juggling priorities for many people and groups. But as fee-earners know from their own clients, it is important that each client gets a responsive and reliable service. Help us know how to best direct our time by considering the firm and practice group priorities.
Collaborate While you are fee-earners and we are support staff, we are on the same side. We both want our fee-earners and the firm to succeed. So please work with us – not against us – so we can achieve the great results we want and deserve.
It’s marketing not magic We really are very skilled and experienced in marketing and business development. However, often it can take time to find and gather the right information, produce the plans, obtain the budget, get sign off from relevant partners, liaise with specialists and a myriad of other things. A lot goes on behind the scenes and not everything is instant
Details of training courses for marketing and BD assistants, executives and managers are available for Professional Marketing Forum (PM Forum)