Interview with Arabella Bown – Sales and Marketing Manager Enable
Back in May, when there was actually some sunny weather! Enable were proud to be involved in the invite-only Janders Dean #Secret Horizons conference held on 16th May. The event, which hosted a group of industry leading speakers, provided a dedicated focus on the future of law firm marketing and business development including the future of legal technology.
Our Sales and Marketing Manager, Arabella Bown was at the event, who as an ex commercial lawyer with many years’ experience working in innovative legal IT businesses, has a unique perspective on the legal tech industry. In this interview, we get to find out a little bit more about Arabella’s background and she offers a frank and fascinating inside look at PitchPerfect and RevenueManager and how the right legal tech software can benefit law firms.
1. What are your thoughts on the future of technology within the legal sector?
Data volumes continue to grow at exponential rates, and “big data” is an issue across just about every legal function. Additionally, client expectations have changed and there are relentless demands to be more efficient and deliver more cost-effective services. The challenge therefore is to find and use relevant information more quickly, even as the body of information lawyers and their support teams are trawling through is ever increasing. To that end it is impossible to go to any law conference without hearing many discussions on AI.
The major City law firms have already adopted AI but it is something that is ever evolving and improving. Lawyers must remain the master of technology and not be replaced by it. Business practice should always drive technology and not the other way round so lawyers should use technology to allow them to focus on adding value and expertise and not get bogged down in the technology itself.
2. What type of feedback have you received from clients regarding the enable products?
We have had very positive feedback on the impact that using PitchPerfect has had for our clients. In particular we have been advised that the speed of the production of a first draft of documents has been transformational. This time saving has allowed our clients to have more focus on creating a tailored pitch which in turn has increased the marketing team’s value by transforming them from being document assemblers to strategic thinkers.
Our clients have also told us that by having the centralised content management system they can ensure that content is always up-to date and approved, preventing silos and inconsistent information. PitchPerfect can be used across all departments and offices and if a cross-departmental pitch needs to be created content from different practices can easily be pulled into one proposal.
Because the PitchPerfect templates are built uniquely to the firm’s branding and design PitchPerfect ensures firm wide consistency across all departments and offices. This, we have been told by our clients, ensures strong branding and differentiates their firm from the competition.
The use of PitchPerfect has also taken the pressure off the marketing departments within the law firms, not only because far less time is taken in collating data and formatting documents, but also because the ease of use of PitchPerfect has meant that it has been possible to make use of the secretarial team when it comes to the creation of “simpler” documents such as bios and team sheets.
For Revenue Manger the feedback is simpler; more efficient time recording has meant increased revenue, less client bills being challenged and much better management data on which to base firm decisions and strategy.
So all in all yes, positive feedback!
3. What brings you the most job satisfaction working at Enable?
I have only been at Enable just over 6 months and in that time I have introduced a number of processes in the sales and marketing cycle to improve and streamline the way we work, interact with our prospects and gain invaluable feedback from current clients. Job satisfaction comes with seeing more clients coming on board and retaining them as happy ones.
4. How has qualifying as a solicitor assisted in your career at Enable?
It means that I understand the type of work that our clients are doing; and I understand how lawyers think, their attitudes and their drivers – which is not always the same as other people! There is also no denying that when dealing with lawyers it is easier to approach them as an ex-lawyer than a sales person.
5. What would you consider to be the top three benefits for both RevenueManager and PitchPerfect?
The ability to create design quality proposal documents quickly and easily so that there is more time to focus on creating a unique pitch tailored to the prospect which in turn transforms the marketing teams’ function from being document assemblers to strategic thinkers.
The ability to have customisable tracking and analysis against active and historic pitches which means teams can understand areas to adapt for best practice to help improve the success rate, analyse win rates by region, practice, sector or fee earner, and review performance, and profitability.
We build a variety of marketing templates uniquely to your firm's branding which means firm wide consistency so that firms retain and apply formatting and styles for all content which is maintained and updated internally
If fee earners fail to complete their time recording they will receive escalating warnings and be prevented from doing other work – this means they will then be inclined to record their time promptly and so the eternal problem of fee earners failing to record time will be solved.
It is a solution that if the fee earner is compliant and completes their time recording they need never know about or be bothered by.
It is fully configurable by the revenue team on a global, regional, office and user level so implementation can be more or less stringent as the firm sees fit.
6. As a legal professional, how would these products have assisted you when working in a legal sector?
Well I was not involved in marketing at all but I did have to time record so no doubt RevenueManager would have ensured that I kept perfect time recording, which I have to admit may not have been the case in reality!
7. As a solicitor, what was your main practice area?
I was a corporate and commercial solicitor in a well-regarded regional firm. This involved a lot of M & A work for small and medium sized businesses and very varied commercial contract workload.
8. What drew you to the legal technology sector and Enable?
I got into legal technology because the law firm I was working for decided to setup an IT lead legal document business. In the midst of ploughing through vast amounts of legal documentation I have to say that setting up a completely new business, building it’s strategy, employing new people, working with developers and sales people just seemed more exciting! So, I went and saw my managing partner and volunteered myself!
It was the legend that is David Lumsden, who I had worked with before, that persuaded me to join Enable!
9. Are there any new exciting developments in the future for Enable that you are able to share with us?
There are some big new clients that we are hoping to sign up shortly, but I cannot divulge those yet!
We are a forward-looking business so there are always new things on our roadmap. We will continue to align our products to key technology trends and innovations such as AI and chatbots.
10. How have you seen the technology evolve within the legal sector?
Gosh, well I been around a while, so it has changed enormously! When I started as a trainee solicitor the computers didn’t even have windows! It was therefore all so difficult that the secretaries did everything. Reviewing and signing your letters at the end of the day to get the post out was a big thing. Everything was paper based and there were vast reams of it. When I worked for my first legal IT business, we sent the software out on CDs.
Now everything is computerised and cloud based which has enabled firms to modernise their practices, collaborate internally and externally and improve efficiency enormously. Information is at the lawyer’s fingertips, but this has meant that data volumes have grown and grown.
Just for fun
1. What is your favourite country to visit?
Sri Lanka was amazing. Such a variety of sites, sounds and experiences from being up in the mountains in a tea plantation, watching elephants on safari and climbing many steps to get closer to the Gods!
2. What do you do outside of the office for fun?
I like to design and make my own contemporary silver jewellery, play a bit of tennis and eat good food!
3. What is your favourite restaurant?
My husband and I have made it a bit of a hobby to go to very nice restaurants so it is very difficult to choose however for sentimental as well as culinary reasons I will have to pick restaurant at The Lords of the Manor Hotel in Upper Slaughter in the Cotswolds.
The product was designed to save law firms time, money and alleviate stress. With legal marketing and business development constantly evolving and the competition increasing it is essential for firms to stand out from their competitors by ensuring their pitch documentation is of high standard, professional, consistent and engaging. It is also vital that the presentation portrays your firm's brand, tone of voice and objectives.