Wednesday 20 April 2016,

This is the fourth year this benchmarking study has taken place.  This year, there were 84 senior respondents.  The findings highlighted 3 key challenges facing professional service firms; 1) How to become truly client centric, 2) How to use technology, and 3) How to upskill the Marketing team.

The top priorities were to improve client service.   Hasn’t it always though.  But it still has some way to go. Findings show one step would be to implement an Account Management system and do post-matter client feedback.  Some excellent examples given in the survey were discussed with attendees, plus plenty ideas of what to do.  One example to answer the question clients keep asking of their law firms – that they want more commercially focused lawyers – was for Reed Smith to do mini MBAs.  Guess what.  Reed Smith say this has given them a higher recovery rate from those on the mini MBAs. 

57% of respondents said they wanted to make more use of technology.  Examples show Tech removing much admin burden and errors.  And increasingly, knowledge workers, not just factory floor.  But it’ll be nothing compared to when Artificial Intelligence gets more mainstream.  Something to watch keenly.  Work on contracts, or bids & tenders?  Think only the guys sending a mailshot can be replaced by a computer clicking the ‘send’ button.  Think again.

The findings show the biggest skills gaps in Marketing staff were identified as; 1) Commerciality, 2) Data analytics, 3) Strategic planning, 4) Financial Literacy, and 5) Key Account Management.  Something you should be thinking about when planning your own training and experience to boost your CV.  And on that topic, ‘Managing your Career’ is one of the coming West Midlands PM Forum events.  Look out for the invite emails and LinkedIn posts.

If you want to know more about Meridian West and the research they do, visit their website to find out more (www.meridianwest.co.uk)

Thank you to Ben Kent and Karim Zouein for giving up their time to go through their findings.

Simon McNidder, West Midlands Regional Director (Simon@DatabaseFirstAid.com)