An interesting thing I picked up at the Northstar Conference this week in Chicago on "The Latest in Law Firm Business Development" is that law firms are indeed hiring sales directors. The speakers predicted that most law firms will eventually have a Director of Sales. To wit:
José E. V. Cunningham, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Shaw Pittman LLP, Washington, D.C. He is paid a straight commission on new business he brings in. In most states this fee-splitting is verboten by the ethics rules, but it's OK in Washington, D.C. This gives Shaw Pittman a huge advantage in the market. He is responsible for the firm's global business development initiatives, including client-focused and industry-based solutions, and all marketing activities. Jose is a sales veteran from Cap Gemini Group, Channel International, Ltd, Unisys Corporation and AT&T.
Gary Booth, Chief Client Development Officer, Pillsbury Winthrop, San Francisco. Gary was well known in his prior job as Managing Partner for Global Business Development for Arthur Andersen. His current responsibilities include management of the firm's client team program that includes "opportunity management," client selection, client satisfaction and relationship sales training.
Barbara Sessions, Marketing Partner and Director of Business Development, Winston & Strawn, Chicago, IL. Barb is an ex-LMA president and has been with her firm for 9 years. She's one of the few marketers who went from staff to partner. She's in charge of communications, marketing strategy, practice development (industry strategies and cross-selling), business development (RPF responses, market share analysis, research, contact management), strategic initiatives (anniversaries, events, sponsorships, charitable efforts, partner retreats), public relations and training.
Will marketers move into sales? Only if the marketers have the right genetic makeup. Cunningham said that "marketing DNA is different from sales DNA."