In my last post, I wrote about metrics and reports you can create to get your arms around the value of various forms of attorney business development. My post prompted a phone call from the President of a leading training company, where we discussed digging deeper into these business development metrics.
He has worked with law firm partners and tracked their business development activities and success since 1988. With more than 16,000 data points in his database, his company tracked partners' marketing and business development time (as lawyers reported it) as follows:
- Creating visibility
- Gathering market intelligence
- Face time with clients and prospects in targeted business development activities.
The findings are staggering: Among all the 16,000 partners tracked, the average of all partner face time is only 30 hours per year. The median is 21 hours per year, less than one hour every two weeks. I think if law firm partners realized they were spending so little time face-to-face with clients and prospects, they'd be startled – and perhaps, embarrassed.
The next step, this consultant said, is to "Measure face time as an accounting code by client/prospect and by lawyer." You will be able to track the in-person touchpoints for your clients and prospects, as well as determine how well your partners are doing.
He continues, "There is a direct correlation for those firms that have this as an accounting code to greater revenue growth. Where firms were spending 80% of their time on non-face time activities (numbers 1 and 2 above), it has now shifted to 80% of their time focused face-to-face." He mentioned two firms that have created accounting codes for this, and noted their revenue increases. I hope to interview one or both of them for a future post.
It can also be tied directly to new clients and matters, so the often-elusive return on investment is palpable.
Finally, he said, "This is a trust-based business development model." I like it because it's the most real – the most authentic.