The pundits tell us the year ahead is going to be tough. I have no reason to think otherwise, but that doesn’t mean lie down and wait for the steamroller of discounting and other nasties to flatten your firm.
My BRW post Six growth metrics that really matter for professional services firms evinced big interest because it struck a cord. Many who contacted me talked of having a light bulb moment. 'For as long as I can remember we’ve been focused on simple P&L and asset management metrics; we’ve assumed if these look OK, everything is OK and I now realise what we’ve been missing was a typical comment. (more…)
It's not uncommon for prospective subscribers to the Beaton Benchmarks to inquire whether and in what ways benchmarking pays. In other words, Beaton Research + Consulting is asked to explain the cost-benefit of one of flagship market research products. This post shares a case study that proves beyond doubt that benchmarking pays – at least for this professional services firm.
We invite you to read on – and judge for yourself. (more…)
In the last 2 weeks, I've had three senior BDMs/CMOs say they've lost significant pieces of work on price. All were with long-standing clients, where both client knowledge and service levels were exceptionally high. (more…)
If firms measured growth in the right way, there would be no argument about whether Marketing needs a seat at the Executive table. In this debate Business Development is included in the broadly defined Marketing function.
In an earlier post on Research. Reveal. Doug Johnson, managing director and founder of Catapult Growth Partners (Beaton's US collaborators), argues persuasively that profitable growth is the only metric that counts in marketing and business development. We agree and in this post extend Doug's case. (more…)
A winning professional services firm may be defined as one that consistently out-performs its closest competitors over an extended period of time. Winning firms have three characteristics:
1. intense client focus
2. a high performance culture; and
3. consistency in how they behave.
Being able to answer the question as to whether being best in class better than best in breed is increasingly important in professional services. Bias is the reason why.
This miscellany of posts is a reflection of the rigour and research that underpins the work with law firms of Beaton people and our international collaborators.
Based on our research, consulting and advisory work with law firms in many countries, our proprietary research with Beaton Benchmarks and our critical review of the published work of others, these posts illustrate the depth and breadth of the skills we offer our clients in Australia, USA, UK, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
The range of issues canvassed illustrates the rich and challenging environment of legal services. We invite our readers to correspond with the authors. Perhaps some readers would like to offer rejoinders and commentary of your own? (more…)
Of all the client service attributes we measure in our Beaton Benchmarks studies, Cost Consciousness is the one that has increased in importance the most since the 2008 downturn. Not the quantum of fees, which has shown no increase in relative importance, but Cost Consciousness, which clients describe as their advisors "spending our money as carefully as if it were their own".
The news that DLA Piper is being sued in the US by a former client for its "sweeping practice of overbilling" just confirms Beaton's research.
What clients truly value is more complex than a simple trade-off between the benefits they receive for the fees they pay. Our studies indicate Cost Consciousness is a vital component of clients' perceptions. And more often than not, when clients get upset about fees, lack of Cost Consciousness looms large as a root cause.
Stephen Harper is one the great commentators on the legal profession and BigLaw in particular. He should know, having been a partner with Kirkland & Ellis LLP for 30 years. He recently wrote an op-ed on law firm fees and the billable hour in The New York Times. The topic and the publication should make every lawyer in BigLaw firms sit up and think. (more…)