Business development is a skill that attorneys don’t learn in law school, but that is invaluable to building a successful practice. So innovative law firms—including Womble Bond Dickinson—are using sales professionals to help attorneys with this important, but often difficult, process.

Womble Bond Dickinson Partner Melinda Davis Lux and Client Service Director Stephanie Hinrichs recently discussed their working relationship, and how sales professionals such as Hinrichs help attorneys build and support their client base, with Thomson Reuters.

Davis Lux said that “probably the most challenging” aspect of using non-attorney sales professionals is building support for the practice within the firm. Some attorneys may balk at the idea of having sales directors interact with their clients, so Davis Lux said top partners must be champions of the sales team approach.

“Firm leaders must be very vocal and spread the word about successes,” she said.

Hinrichs said that a key aspect of the legal sales professional’s role is “continuing to develop a relationship with clients and then introducing those people to our lawyers.”

Author Silvia Coulter also offered several tips for building a successful sales culture, including:

  • Lay the groundwork before hiring a sales professional;
  • Understand that attorneys must still be directly involved in the sales process;
  • Compensate sales professionals fairly;
  • Provide the appropriate level of support to sales professionals.

In addition to the main article, Coulter also wrote a related blog post titled “Building Professional Sales Team Within Your Law Firm.” This post includes additional comments from Davis Lux, who says Womble Bond Dickinson’s Client Service Directors “generate leads for us and make introductions, which is invaluable. Our salespeople are good at connecting the dots so will often serve as a database or central place about what efforts are being made to encourage clients to work with us. Our salespeople are a hub to make sure we are all coordinating. Also, they provide ideas, individual coaching, and how to best approach a sales opportunity.”

Melinda Davis Lux focuses her practice on complex business deals, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and financing transactions. She also advises public companies, directors, and stockholders with respect to securities law and corporate governance matters, including SEC reporting requirements.

Stephanie Hinrichs initiates and builds client relationships, and works with Womble Bond Dickinson lawyers to provide the highest quality client service. She brings more than a decade of experience in marketing and sales, specifically in the legal, economic development, airline, and transportation industries.