I recently attended the LMASE Mini Conference in Houston. As a newbie to this mini conference, I was impressed with the attendance and the “players” that I met that day. Like most LMA conferences, I always meet some new legal marketers and I left the day with some solid takeaways.
Regardless of the panel or the breakout sessions, there was one familiar topic emerging within every conversation: the importance of relationship building. Whether that was Allen Fuqua, CMO @ Winstead, talking about internal relationships, Tom Matte, Matte Pad Blog, providing his take on relationships via content marketing or Pat Patrick, Managing Director @ Waverley Partners, sharing his opinions on how building relationships positively effects his search for the right new hire for a firm, one thing is certain; building relationships internally and externally is at the heart being successful in both your personal and professional lives.
As marketers, we hear about relationship building all the time. Much of the focus with new business is creating those relationships and developing a book of business. Many people write about it and many blog about it. What you may not read about very often is how relationship building applies to internal marketing as well.
Legal marketers need to think of the partners at the firm as their clients. Imagine your marketing department as its own business – how would you manage it? How would you go about bringing on new clients while managing the ones you have? We all understand the unique challenges of working with partners and the level of commitment it takes to meet and exceed their expectations. Don’t think of this as a negative, but more of an opportunity to develop a relationship with that challenging partner or “internal client”. Remember, meaningful relationships help build a thriving business. Wrangling a partner and presenting how your expertise can help them be more successful from a marketing standpoint does several things:
- Creates credibility for your marketing position
- Builds “buzz” around your team, increasing marketing’s value to the firm
- Helps to create a seat at the table when partners meet
- Builds confidence and trust that goes a long way when offering suggestions and solutions in helping to make that partners practice stronger
Easier said that done, but if you have the mentality that your marketing department is a separate business (figuratively) and that your partners are your clients and prospects, you will have a more successful time in building relationships and managing and navigating the waters at your firm.
No one-approach will fit all situations, but we can all learn from one another. I would love to hear your success stories (or not so successful stories) on how building better relationships with your firm’s partners has benefitted you, the partner(s) and/or your firm.