How can a CMO make a difference?
Once again this is about embedded teams. Information people have been aware of the importance and usefulness of being present within legal teams for some time now. This has filtered down to business development and marketing teams. As the webinar asked, is the CMO still too far removed from the work of their organisation?
Firms collect information on all their clients; client contacts, historical relationships and conflict checking details, financial data and billing. However because of confidentiality issues – and rightly so – this isn’t always openly available to personnel. On top of this there is a wealth of external information which often requires subscriptions to databases, expert searching, and current awareness alerts.
Firms need a centralised internal database of all available information to make better decisions. However as every good CMO knows, this confidential, firm-specific information needs to be combined with external knowhow to be truly valuable. This is where they need to talk to their information teams to decide on what they want to see.
Where does the CMO go from here?
If a finance director is unhappy about sharing information, how does a CMO justify why they want financial data? Often we are overcoming a law firm culture of secrecy and lack of transparency. The CMO should be pointing out the massive benefits of collaboration to the management team.
They should be talking regularly with knowledge and information teams. They should also be very specific with the finance team about the type of financial information required. From this combination of external and internal information, only then can they start on a pathway to effective key client planning. As the Intapp report says:
Key-client plans build the foundation for a better client experience by creating a tailored approach to strategy, origination, and execution of engagements. With the right technology in place, marketing teams can rapidly access client data that allows firms and lawyers to stay ahead of their client demands and anticipate their needs.
Key Takeaways for CMOs
- Trust is key. Astronauts, medical professionals and other high performing teams face severe consequences for failure. Although lawyers work within a different environment, there is much lawyers can learn from these high stress experiences.
For example lawyers need organised and managed data systems, well thought out strategies, and everyone working towards a common goal.
- Tech is key. The report talks about cultivating emerging technology to allow firms to identify client needs at the scale and speed necessary. It is not humanly possible to keep up with the amount of data being generated. Surprisingly, many lawyers aren’t aware that many systems in the firm already employ NLP or machine learning.
The most important part of tech solutions is communication and collaboration with a tech companies. Tell them about your problems and see if they listen. Can they come up with a meaningful solution, and promise ongoing support? If they can’t, then you don’t need their product. Always check that the provider knows your industry; your clients; your challenges.
- People are key. The CMO is the people expert; build allies, make people happy; develop trusted relationships; establish a reputation. There are multiple parts to the business development / CMO role and they can use their people skills bring departments together.
Tech is helping firms combine and manipulate data so that they can concentrate their efforts on existing clients, as well as spotting new markets and opportunities. No doubt it is a challenge to bring all the data together, to tell the full story, and to integrate data culture into the fabric of a firm. But for those who persevere, the rewards are significant.