General Counsel today still report that most outside counsel do not know their clients’ businesses at a level the clients expect. Partners will respond by saying they do indeed understand their clients’ businesses. Here is are five questions, the answers to which client relationship partners must have. If not, now is a great time of year to sit down with important clients and conduct an upcoming year planning meeting and a current year-end review.
Based on clients’ responses, client relationship partners will be able to better anticipate related legal needs and proactively discuss next steps. Anticipating clients’ needs will be a big step toward differentiating one’s firm from its competitors, and allow for greater retention and growth opportunities.
With regard to each client:
- What are the top three strategic growth objectives of the company overall?
- Where is the company spending its R&D dollars? Or, for service firms, research investment dollars and efforts?
- What is the biggest challenge the company anticipates as it looks toward the upcoming year?
- For what services is the client working with other outside counsel and for which of these services will they consider the client relationship partner’s firm?
- Who at the C-level of each client should we meet next?
Building a strong strategic account plan around the answers to these questions will be an important step for continuing to drive the firm’s retention and revenue goals.
Silvia Coulter is a Co-founding principal with LawVision Group. She works with clients to retain and grow clients, and to develop new revenue. She may be reached at email@example.com or 617-697-4869.
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