The 27th Annual Marketing Partner Forum 2020

Posted by: Allison Nussbaum

Greetings from beautiful south Florida, where it is 50 degrees warmer than at my home in New Hampshire! 

Last week Pitchly was a first-time sponsor at the Legal Executive Institute’s Marketing Partner Forum in Miami and I was privileged to attend. This was my 10th time at this conference and it gets better every year: the speakers, the topics and the venue are always top-notch, but this year the team at Thomson Reuters outdid themselves. 

While I could not possibly attend every session, I was able to pop in on a few each day and I have to say that every one of them was like attending a master class with the best-of-the-best in our profession.

No one who knows me will be surprised that my two favorite sessions were about marketing technology (Designing a Bespoke Martech Strategy hosted by Chris Fritsch, Founder, CLIENTSFirst Consulting) and strategic account strategies (Adaptive Engineering: From Key Clients to Strategic Account Management moderated by Sylvia Coulter.) 

In the Martech session, I found myself agreeing with Adrian Lurssen, CEO of JD Supra whose answer to the question "What is one of the hardest things at a law firm?" was “Deployment, adoption and ongoing engagement of technology.” 

Having spent the majority of my career in the tech trenches either as service provider to law firms or as a law firm business developer trying to drive change, I have witnessed great successes and abject failures with technology. What I have come to understand, and what the panelists reinforced for the audience, is that people, process and change management are the most important elements of any technology project.  If technology is not a means to a defined end, it will not succeed. No one wants to change for change’s sake: the technology is a tool and it must support and help drive the change that the firm is looking to achieve.  

The panelists were clear in reminding the service providers in the audience that we need to be in the problem-solving business. If we focus on features and functions, we are not creating solutions and we will struggle with the adoption and engagement of our products. To get there, we must be people-focused, communicate like crazy, and understand that change is hard for everyone, not just lawyers. 

At the request of the panelists, I cannot comment specifically on the content shared in the Strategic Account Management session. However, what I can share is that my key takeaway was, “it’s about time!” The fact that firms are moving towards managing their clients in the way that those of us in the corporate world have done forever, is a good thing, just a little late in coming. As I sat there, it occurred to me that law firm business development is effectively serving as Sales Enablement, ie: they are enabling their sellers – the lawyers – with what they need to successfully engage their prospects throughout the buying process and to drive revenue. Client relationship executives, like Alvidas Jasin who sat on the panel, are effectively serving as Client Success Managers, ie: relationship-focused client managers, aligning client and firm goals for mutually beneficial outcomes and value. 

Last but not least, I attended David Ackert’s talk, Motivating a Sales Force of Lawyers. I have known David for many years, and his messages always resonate very strongly with me. This one was no different and my key takeaway was that finding, understanding, and leveraging lawyers’ inner motivators is critical to creating successful sales initiatives and sellers. While we are focused on lawyers at this conference, this is, of course, true for anyone. 

All in all, this was a terrific conference, and the Pitchly team is looking forward to many more years of sponsorship.

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