Strategic Account Management is a practice of focusing on the key relationships within your law firm’s client base. It involves developing long-term relationships with your clients and understanding their needs and challenges to become a valuable partner. This approach has become increasingly important in the age of remote working, as law firms must be able to maintain strong ties with their current clients while also cultivating new relationships. The forefront of strategic account management is developing plans that drive lawyers to reach their KPIs and long-term goals. In this blog, we interviewed the knowledgeable Alistair Marshall, the Director at Professional Services BD. We took a deep dive into understanding the significance of Strategic Account Management for law firms by evaluating these questions:
1 – What is Strategic Account Management?
2 – Why do law firms need Strategic Account Management?
3 – How should law firms identify their Strategic Accounts?
3 – How can Nexl help law firms execute their Strategic Account Management initiatives?
What is Strategic Account Management?
At its core, Strategic Account Management is about fostering and maintaining strong relationships between a law firm and its clients. It therefore, requires a deeper understanding of the client’s business objectives, industry trends, challenges, and opportunities-all of which can help inform the services provided by the law firm. However, the struggle for lawyers is that to understand these core aspects of their key clients, they need to perform an analysis and develop a plan to effectively target and service each key client.
“The plans that got you to where you are now will not get you to where you want to be in the future.”Alistair Marshall, Director, Professional Services BD
Strategic Account Management Structure:
- Know which clients your law firm wants to target as Strategic Accounts.
- Create a strategic team internally that consists of the correct people for targeting those chosen clients successfully. A strategic team should be a mix of dynamic lawyers, marketing team members, and business development professionals.
- Analyse and map client relationships. Understand each individual’s network within the specific account teams that your firm has chosen to target. (Nexl’s “Who Knows Who” intelligence is incredibly effective for this step.) By having a rich understanding of each person and knowing exactly who that person knows within your firm, you can maximise the efficiency and reliability of your firm’s insights.
- Perform in-depth research into each client to identify potential legal needs. Uncover topics such as what the client’s current business initiatives are, what risks are involved, and what their appetite for risk is.
By gaining a rich understanding of key clients, law firms will be able to better serve each client as well as identify opportunities to upsell and cross-sell their services.
Why do law firms need Strategic Account Management?
An astounding statistic revealed that most law firms only supply between 1-3% of their legal service offerings for each client. Ironically, many of these law firms claim expertise in 20 different practice areas, when a thorough analysis of key clients would reveal that they make the most profit from a small fraction of their legal offerings.
A jack of all trades is a master of none – This saying has never held truer for law firms. There is a major opportunity for law firms to specialize, niche down, and choose what they want to be famous for. Strategic Account Management helps law firms uncover the services their top clients value most and empowers firms to stand out within a competitive legal market. By staying informed about their clients and strategic marketing expertise in the correct industries and practice areas, law firms can improve their brand positioning, capitalize on their most unique insights, and maximize their revenue.
How should law firms identify their key clients?
When choosing the key clients and accounts to target within a Strategic Account Management initiative, law firms should focus on three things:
(1) Which clients bring in the most profit?
(2) Which accounts have the greatest potential for growth?
(3) What core legal services does the firm provide in relation to these clients and accounts?
Before setting KPIs and long-term goals, law firms must know which clients are the most profitable and have the greatest opportunities for account growth. Performing this analysis will help drive the strategic vision to help law firms reach their goals for the financial year.
How can Nexl help law firms execute their Strategic Account Management initiatives?
Developing an effective SAM strategy involves utilizing multiple systems and tools for keeping track of client information, conversations, and relationship milestones. Having an organized system in place helps keep teams aligned across departments when it comes to managing accounts. Additionally, leveraging different technologies such as customer relationship management (CRM) software can help automate tedious tasks associated with account management, so that teams have more time to focus on building relationships instead of managing data points. Finally, having a clear set of goals will ensure everyone involved stays focused on achieving specific targets while developing meaningful partnerships with key clients over time.
Nexl’s no-data-entry CRM, relationship intelligence (ERM), and revenue operations system automatically captures all of your lawyers’ interactions. Any email sent or received and any meetings with clients, prospective clients, or referral sources are automatically captured, analysed, and turned into actionable insights to help you accelerate your revenue growth.
Nexl has key features that are critical to knowing and understanding client’s needs and aspirations to ensure law firms gain a rich understanding of their key clients, such as:
- “WHO KNOWS WHO” INTELLIGENCE: Nexl’s automatic data capture instantly enriches every contact and maps every interaction. This allows everyone in the firm to better understand who knows whom, across clients, prospective clients, and shared third-party contacts.
- STAY-IN-TOUCH REMINDERS: With Nexl’s stay-in-touch reminders, lawyers don’t forget to follow up with individual contacts, and relationships across firms are seamlessly tracked and maintained. By staying proactive and regularly reaching out to clients, law firms create better client relationships and keep an open dialogue-allowing them to identify even more potential business opportunities.
- PROSPECTING: Beyond just optimizing current key clients, Nexl empowers firms to research core markets and identify even more prospective clients that meet their ideal client profile.
The importance of fostering both new and existing relationships cannot be understated when it comes to succeeding as a law firm. By focusing on building trust through value-added services while utilizing efficient systems and tools, law firms can take advantage of this opportunity to foster deeper connections with their existing clients as well as develop new ones. This allows law firms to optimize their revenue opportunities and build strong relationships with key clients.
Having an effective Strategic Account Management plan will not only help you prioritize key clients-it will also help you measure success. Ultimately, having an effective Strategic Account Management plan allows your law firm to maximize revenue from existing accounts as well as cultivate new ones, helping to create mutually beneficial relationships which lay a solid foundation for success.
Succession planning is a tool that every law firm should consider. This plan will enable future leaders to continue their predecessor’s legacy and support future growth of the law firm. Explore Nexl’s Succession Planning Template below.