Law and Sales

Greg Braver, vice president of sales for Effective Law Office Solutions (ELOS) Inc., has spent the last several weeks preparing for today. After receiving a call from John Marston, the founder and CEO of ELOS, two weeks ago he has been reviewing the company’s overall marketing and, more specifically, sales strategy. Marston, Braver, and the entire senior management team at ELOS are meeting to chart the compa- ny’s marketing strategy for the next several years. As vice president of sales, Braver is heading up the discussion and wants to be ready for any and all questions that might come up during the day. To help guide the company through this strategic analysis, ELOS has enlisted the services of Strategic Marketing Specialists (SMS), a consulting firm that worked with law offices to develop effective strategic business plans. Grace Johnson, CEO of SMS and a well-respected consultant in the industry, is going to lead the discussion during the meetings.

Founded in London by John Marston, ELOS began in 1995 as a printing com- pany known as Printing Solutions, Incorporated, that worked with a wide variety of businesses in a number of industries. Despite being in a highly competitive indus- try, Printing Solutions developed a reputation for customer service and opened four other locations in the United Kingdom over the next five years. However, after only a couple of years the company realized that many of its best clients were law offices. Small- to medium-sized law offices (2–15 attorneys) have very special printing needs due to the demands of internal record keeping for clients and legal documentation. As a result, in 2000 the company made a strategic decision to focus exclusively on law offices—specifically, small to medium sized offices and legal counseling services. The company had found a niche focusing on law offices that did not have the expertise in-house to manage their printing needs. By providing excellent customer service and an understanding of the unique printing needs in the legal industry, the com- pany developed a local, regional, and even a European wide reputation.

As part of the new strategic focus, the company changed its name to Effective Law Office Solutions, Inc. The name change reflected, in part, a new reality for the company as it was now being approached to take on more office duties besides printing. For example, law offices were interested in ELOS handling the printing but also the stuffing, sorting, and fulfillment of their invoices, client correspond- ence, and other mailing tasks. ELOS started a new division to handle such responsi- bilities. Exhibit 1 delineates the business services currently offered by ELOS.

© 2021 Taylor & Francis. Material from Johnston & Marshall, Sales Force Management, Routledge


Services offered by Effective Law Office Solutions, Inc.


Statements Super bills Design-it-forms Checks Stationery Envelopes Pegboard forms

Color-coded labels

Special Services

Marketing services and color printing Mail and fulfillment services

Invoice and bill processing service

Miscellaneous Products and Services

File folders Chart dividers

Folder design and assembly service Legal forms and document templates

ELOS, as mentioned previously, has developed a strong reputation working with small- to medium sized attorneys’ offices (2–15 attorneys and supporting staff that included office manager, paralegals, receptionists, and other support staff). Attorneys have come to realize that managing an office required a different set of skills and, more important, that managing an office took them away from their real mission: meeting and working with clients. A number of companies had been created to help support the operations of an attorney’s office. ELOS was one of those companies, and it has worked hard to understand the needs and demands of running an attorney’s office.

In addition to printing, ELOS found a niche helping attorneys manage two criti- cal functions of their offices: (1) billing individual and corporate clients, and (2) marketing. In the case of billing, the law office transmits all client data to ELOS, which then creates all the necessary invoices and documentation, mails them, and even inventories the documents. The company charges a fee each month based on the number of transactions. In addition, ELOS prints the forms, providing a second significant revenue stream. Using this system, data can be put in once using an Excel-based program that inserts the data into the various forms easily. The infor- mation is then sent to ELOS, and the attorney’s staff does not have to worry about the forms or mailing. This complete software and printing solution (known as the Total Solutions Package) has created even greater opportunities for the company.

Its marketing services operation is able to run an entire marketing campaign from creation through printing, mailing, and fulfillment, again using materials printed by ELOS. ELOS has several people trained in marketing communications to help develop the marketing collateral material. This value-added service has grown very quickly in recent years as attorneys recognize how important it is to be con- nected to their existing clients while reaching out to new ones.

© 2021 Taylor & Francis. Material from Johnston & Marshall, Sales Force Management, Routledge


Greg Braver was hired in 2007 to build a sales force. He had spent a career work- ing for a number of companies in the legal industry, and although his background in printing was limited, he knew the business processes of a law office and legal counseling. Starting as a paralegal, Braver had become interested in client manage- ment and fast-tracked to a management position at a large London based law office in just seven years. At this point he was approached about the vice president of sales position at ELOS, he immediately saw the potential for the company and the opportunity for him to build a large sales force.

The company developed a sales force of 60 salespeople located in major cities and regions around the European Union. The company had two regions (United Kingdom/Ireland and the rest of Europe) that were headed up by Mike Towers (U.K.) and Jody Geiger (E.U.). Each region had four districts with approximately six to eight salespeople in each district. Exhibit 2 details the organizational structure of the sales force. Towers and Geiger had each been with the company more than seven years. Both had originally been hired as a salesperson and worked their way up to regional vice president.

Early on, Braver focused on hiring salespeople with a background in law. Marston and Braver felt it was more important for salespeople to understand the processes and procedures of law offices than the printing business. Given his back- ground, Braver was comfortable hiring paralegals as well others with a background in law. These individuals knew the unique challenges attorneys face running a complex office while maintaining a legal practice. As a result, their training time was shorter and focused more on the products and services offered by ELOS rather than a discussion of the customer. This meant they were productive sooner and training costs were lower.

On the down side, these individuals often came with established views of how to sell and the nature of the customer relationship. Braver found he had to retrain

© 2021 Taylor & Francis. Material from Johnston & Marshall, Sales Force Management, Routledge

benefits packageSalary€50,000€65,000
for new andIncentive compensation (avg.)10,00025,000
salespeople at ELOSHealth benefits6,0006,000
 Retirement benefits9,00013,000

them on the importance of the customer relationship. ELOS built an excellent rep- utation on customer service, and its customer relationship was essential to the suc- cess of the company. In addition, hiring experienced salespeople was costly. Newly hired salespeople could expect to average €60,000 in salary and incentive compen- sation in their first year. Forty percent of the salespeople at ELOS had been with the company for at least 10 years and commanded salaries and incentive compensation of €90,000 on average. Incentive compensation usually took the form of bonuses based on hitting sales quotas for printing and the selling of the new, value added services offered by the company. Exhibit 3 details a typical compensation and ben- efits package for new and experienced (10 years or more) salespeople.

As the company’s business consisted of small- and medium-sized law offices, it had never created key accounts sales team. Each salesperson has a protected ter- ritory and was responsible for the business in that area. The company did have different marketing programs for different types of legal practices (for example, corporate versus real estate offices). In addition, the company’s best accounts did receive additional attention from the salesperson in the territory. As law offices grew larger, the demands on the salesperson became greater. In addition, as ELOS added more services like its Marketing Services Package, salespeople were spending more and more time with each client, particularly the larger ones.

As a result of an aggressive marketing campaign at legal conferences, advertising in law journals, and, of course, a dedicated field sales force, the company had seen 25 years of growth. With salespeople in every major city, ELOS has a well-estab- lished network of offices to support its operations. As the company grew, senior managers had done their homework and identified new locations based on the amount of potential business as well as the ability to locate a printing facility at a reasonable cost. Marston believed and other senior managers agreed that it was critical for the company to maintain control over the customer’s business from design to printing to order delivery. New services such as billing and mailing were subcontracted out to local companies in a given city, but ELOS works hard to iden- tify quality vendors, and customers have not experienced any significant problems. In the last year, however, Marston and Braver have begun to notice a change.

While the company is still growing, the rate of growth has begun to slow down. Another trend also disturbed them: ELOS was losing new business at an increas- ing rate. With ELOS’s focus on customer service and quality products/services, the

© 2021 Taylor & Francis. Material from Johnston & Marshall, Sales Force Management, Routledge


company had always been able to do very well against the competition. Very few local or regional printing companies can handle the unique challenges of working with law offices. However, the company has noticed that competitors were win- ning contracts over ELOS. Finally, and this was the greatest concern or Marston and Braver, there seemed to be an increase in complaints from existing clients. While the company did not maintain a customer relationship management (CRM) system, Braver was sure there were more complaints about late orders, poor quality, and lower customer service than in the past. Indeed, it was these issues that led to the series of meetings starting today.

Assess the current strategy of ELOS toward its most critical target market (mid- sized law offices). Can you offer any suggestion on how ELOS can improve its relationships with existing customers and develop new business opportunities more effectively?

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