Jason meets with Kalisha Crawford, Director Of Marketing & Business Development at Ropers Majeski. With her experience working with firms of different sizes, they discuss how she brings big firm processes and perspectives into the mid-sized market.
Kalisha provides a diverse background with her experience with both large conglomerate firms and small to mid size firms. This experience allows her to bring a unique perspective, one that will be discussed in depth in this episode. She has focused on bringing big firm processes and perspectives into the mid-market.
1:20 Why is it valuable to have experience at a bigger firm when approaching these processes?
It is incredibly valuable, as the challenges at a mid-size are different than those at a large-size firm. There are always more limitations when it comes to the size of a firm; such as the number of team members, the budget allocated for consultants, or even software.
For example, seeing the large-scale multi-business global rollout of an experience management system (EMS) can show firms top to bottom what can and should be done- both what is aspirational and what is realistic provided their resources.
Kalisha suggests that smaller firms can still take that larger-scale plan and apply it and customize it in multiple ways that work for their firm’s needs and resources. She suggests you create a wishlist for what you want, but remember that you can only take it as far as you can with resources and budget buy-in that support it. Make an elaborate plan more realistic.
3:37 Are the use cases greater at a larger firm? Or is there an equal value at mid-size and small firms too?
The value for these use cases are all invaluable, it’s a must-have to have a handle on experience to be able to market and sell your lawyers.
One of the challenges at a mid-size firm is you have to be strategic from the beginning. You cannot build a plan around people and functions that do not exist. Mid-size firms have the advantage of being more agile in some respects, due to the decision making pool being smaller. This smaller decision making team enables you to make more agile decisions and changes.
For Kalisha, she was considering an EMS, and at large firms you would have to include design and tech teams and more professionals with specialized experience into the process.
Currently, a lot of her time is spent in the physical creation of pitches, and she ultimately needed a system that would manage the firm’s experience and actually create those pitches for her.
6:35 How does the process compare, from a stress perspective, if you receive a lot of RFPS now versus before implementing an EMS?
Kalisha knows that before, if was to receive 3 RFPs in one day, she would have to clear her entire day to respond to them all. With a more efficient EMS in place, that process will be cut down extensively.
But it changes more than just their time per proposal, it also greatly impacts employee satisfaction and team engagement. If you want to hire an extremely experience professional, they don’t want to spend their day formatting documents in Word and updating PDFs.
So, from an employee satisfaction perspective, theyre happier focusing on the content of the work and not the mundane administrative and formatting tasks. Therefore this will ultimately improve employee retention on her team as well.
8:05 The greater value in a proposal is the content.
Kalisha believes that the value add of business development folks is not just in the creation and beautification of the document, but more in the content incuded and crafting the write description of the work that was done. That’s what is more valuable in the proposal.
With manual document creation its more difficult to be specific and thoughtful in that content. The manually produced pitches won’t be tailored pitches, they won’t speak to the client’s need or ask it’s ultimately more of a brochure. You have to hear the clients problem and answer how you handled that specifically in the past. With a well structured EMS, you get the right information needed to tell that story effectively.
10:04 Are there any other aspects to engagement with IT, finance, or other teams that you engaged with to get the experience management going?
Once Kalisha explained the use case for ikaun she had a lot of support. She worked closely with finance on created advanced reporting for shareholders. In these reports, they primarily were talking about EM and profitability monitoring for a new EMS.
It starts with intake, what matter type it is, and what is necessary for the description of these matters. If you’re going to make an investment in an EMS, you want to put in the effort and time to make sure it’s as clean as it can be.
14:08 What are some of the goals on how to leverage this data?
Kalisha puts its simply- a lot of places. She serves as the funnel for a lot of questions regarding past matters. Questions like “who do we have that has done XYZ?”. Prior to implementing and EMS that would be impossible to find. She would have to send a PTI email
I want everyone to have access to those answers.
In addition to that the cross-selling implications are also huge – she can now form more client teams. It’s a place where lawyers can work on the same clients on different matters and stay interconnected.
19:15 The possibilities of marrying financial data with experience matters.
It’s helpful to have historical data on wins, on who has experience doing what, but it is also helpful to have financial data on pricing for thos past matters. Then they can provide more accurate budgets and pricing, and be more specific with the clients.
Kalisha says now they can drill down who has worked on this client before and what is this person’s profitability and bandwidth. She wants it to be successful and cost-effective for the client as well
It’s important to combine both forces together to be succesful.
21:05 when it comes to new hires and partner laterals, do you think you are better positioned now to bring on those new hires?
On the front end before she even goes to market for new candidates, Kalisha will now have so much more data about the practice areas and profitability of that work. Its helpful for her to know who is currently working on this practice area, and what is their ability to take on more work.
Partners often come to her and say “I need someone who does XYZ”. And then she drills down and she is now able to find the information to turn around and say “actually we have an associate who has that experience already”.
With a unified EMS, You can also gain visibility into how your firm is strong and areas where you are weaker- so that can help you identify areas you can improve on. This can help develop the firm recruiting and lateral partner strategy.
26:50 what are your plans for 12-18 months from now? Where do you plan to take this?
She expects to continue working on the build out and integrations as well as beta focused testing with stakeholders.
She would like to see them do regular dashboard and data reporting with these partners, because it will require less manual input across teams to do those now with an EMS.
They dont currently use a CRM effectively. And she wanted a EMS before implementing a CRM, so she wanted to have information to send them before she had the CRM database. Now she can work on client groups and targeted lists to identify like clients and industries to send them more valuable information.
They will have more data that they can give to clients. And being able to have a full picture of the client and being able to break into modules is going to be excellent for her team.
Want to learn more about introducing an EMS for your firm? Get a demo of ikaun today!
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