Sometimes law firms slip and have their marketing and business development efforts be at odds with each other. How much time do you spend for each strategy? How much of a budget are you supposed to allocate between marketing and business development? When you know how to take the strengths of each function, you can open a channel for the two to work together.

First, it is important to understand how the two departments are distinct. The goal of your law firm’s marketing department is to understand the needs of your market and building a plan around those needs. This plan may include aspects such as the message of your law firm, what benefits your firm provides, and your experience with the law. Your business development team does not have to be set in stone until the marketing plan is running. The purpose of business development is to build relationships and partnerships with recognized contacts to help bring new clients to your firm.

Your business development and marketing departments have the chance to collaborate often, the trick is knowing when those chances are available. Doing so will help communication between these strategies, but also saves time by making sure that certain plans are not repeating themselves. Some of the more common tasks that can be shared between marketing and development include planning out an overall strategy for the firm’s goals, what message the firm should develop based on how you plan to meet client needs, and planning ideas for content like blog posts, articles and webinars.

The cooperation does not have to stick within your law firm’s office either. Your practice’s marketing department can use its strengths to help arrange and promote planned events while your business development team does the physical outreach for the same event. Your marketing team can review upcoming events that business development partners can visit to meet potential clients and distribute business information. Finally, both departments must be conscious of how the needs of your clients will morph over time, and should be flexible enough to plan together how to change according to these needs.

Your legal practice’s marketing and business development teams do not have to fight for time or budget. Making use of both of their strengths will make them more productive, and will benefit your own practice in the long term, providing higher client satisfaction and improved return on investment.