Lawyer types – what behaviour do you want?

If you are running a B2B business that gets most of its revenue from sales contracts, and those contracts are negotiated, then you need is a sales-side lawyer.

Sales-side lawyers are lawyers that are in the top-right quadrant of last week’s Oh Lawdy! To summarise: on a Theoretical to Commercial axis (aka willingness to form a view on risk), they are on the Commercial end. And on an Advisory to Activist axis (aka desire to make the transaction happen), they are very much at the Activist end.

Most sales-side lawyers are in-house lawyers, or have spent a lot of time working in-house. That’s important, because in-house lawyers look at the world differently to law firm lawyers. Not only do they understand how Pricing, Service and Sales need to come together to produce successful contracts, a major part of their job is corralling Pricing, Service and Sales so that all the pieces come together at the right time.

They are good negotiators, able to forge good relationships with the other side, and willing to form a judgement on which points to stick and on which points to concede. This sounds like a small point, but it isn’t: lawyers are trained to be risk averse, and the easiest way to minimise risk is to never make a judgment call.

A sales-side lawyer is someone who has freed themselves from their training.

And sales-side lawyers have to be comfortable wearing two hats.

Hat 1: pushing the deal until the contract gets signed.

Hat 2: being an internal regulator for the business.  Does this contract make sense for the business? Does it fit in with the business’ standard parameters? Are there issues in the evolving contract that need to be escalated outside the deal team?

A sales-side lawyer is someone who has freed themselves from their training.