SmartAdvocate® Is a Great Business Building Tool, But Do You Have the Right People Using It?

Users of SmartAdvocate know what an incredibly powerful software system it is. However, it is important to remember that it is still only a tool, one that is used by living, breathing people to achieve their business goals and objectives. Even though it’s somewhat cliché to say that even the best tools can only be as good as the people who use them, I recently had the opportunity to participate in a webinar that underscored this point.

Titled “How to Build Your Sales Dream Team” and hosted by RingDNA, a company that markets sales productivity software, the webinar focused on the importance of having the right people in place. The thesis is that no matter how good the organization, it can only survive and flourish if it employs the people best suited to meet its needs and creates an environment in which they can succeed. Although the webinar focused on developing successful salespeople, I found its content to have much broader application. The principles articulated are particularly important to law firms, where associates and support staff are viewed mainly as work product producers, and not as business development agents.

The panelists were in agreement that one of the most important things you can do is to hire the right people in the first place. Here are some of the characteristics they look for in a prospective employee:

  • Someone who displays a positive attitude and the desire to learn
  • Someone who has established a record of accomplishment and demonstrated leadership ability (this is true even of new hires straight of school; look for accomplishments that are real and not just resume fodder)
  • Someone with business acumen
  • Someone who projects a hunger to succeed and an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Someone who is genuinely interested in building a career, not just in making money
  • Someone who is a good listener and is able to engage with others
  • Someone who can think on his or her feet, and not just follow a script
  • Someone capable of understanding the competition and the marketplace
  • Someone who understands that the needs of the client or customer are what’s important to that client (It’s not about you, it’s about them)
  • Someone who understands the importance of preparation

SmartAdvocate can provide you and your firm with a tremendous amount of managerial information about your clients and your practice. Staff Activity Reports, Overdue Task Reports, Intake Analysis Reports, and New Case Performance Reports are just a few of the many tools built into SmartAdvocate to help you manage your existing operations and chart your firm’s direction. A good manager will use these tools to assess and nurture employees to become agents of future growth. But putting the right people in place in the first instance will make that job a lot easier.