Genna Stainforth, Relationship Manager,
From collaboration, to sector focus, to the rise in millennial clients, Genna Stainforth, Relationship Manager at Acritas, shared a few of her insights with us ahead of the Law Firm Marketing Summit.
LFMS: What do you consider to be the biggest opportunity for law firms over the next three years? And what would you consider to be the biggest challenge arising?
GS: 8 in 10 buyers have a legal need outside of their home country, so having a global platform to service clients’ global needs – either through increasing the firm’s footprint, utilising networks, or creating effective referrer firm relationship management programs – is a huge opportunity. There are two challenges arising from this. The first is creating a consistent client experience, which can be best achieved by asking clients what their expectations are routinely and at sensible junctures: when they work with a new office or practice for the first time, when a large matter is opening and has closed, and after a high-value pitch. The key is to actively listen during each of these conversations to gain insight into how the client likes to work, which then gives lawyers the information they need to service the client to their expectations – creating a consistent experience. The second challenge is getting people to collaborate across borders and act as one firm. Barriers need to be broken down and structured support from functions like the marketing department needs to be put in place to achieve effective collaboration.
LFMS: What do you consider to be the key buzzword in law firm marketing and business developments, and do you think that it deserves the hype?
GS: Sector focus is a key buzzword in law firm marketing at the moment, and when done properly it definitely deserves the hype. Clients organize themselves by sector and look for business savvy law firms that are able to provide practical advice in the context of their world, rather than the silo of legal. Properly executed, a sector focus can increase a firm’s understanding of, and connectedness with, industry verticals. Therefore, the firm is able to better understand its clients that play in that sector and provide more practical advice, shape services applicable to that sector, and position itself advantageously to win other clients in that sector.
LFMS: With more millennials on client panels, do law firm business development and marketing teams need to adapt their approach for the new generation of clients?
GS: Definitely. On average, younger buyers have different expectations from their law firms across myriad areas: they favour international reach, a practical approach and law firms who provide AFAs. All of these are important to weave into conversation. Internally, they are more likely to set objectives, meet their budgets and be more international in terms of the number of countries where they have legal needs. There is also a higher proportion of female representation among younger GCs, so firms will have to think long and hard about replicating the diversity of their client within their own teams.
Genna will be running our breakout on developing an effective sector strategy at the Law Firm Marketing Summit this November 5. See the agenda HERE.