How much difference can 10 seconds make?
Peter Bregman tells this story. A company instructs staff to submit their timesheets using new software. Less than half do so. But when the company cuts several of the steps needed to submit the timesheets – reducing the time required to do so by just 10 seconds – compliance jumps to 100%.
Small sources of friction have a big impact on behaviour. It’s a useful insight if you're looking to encourage business development in your firm.
What frictions can you eliminate from your systems to change the behaviour of busy lawyers?
What's hindering business development?
You know your firm lives and dies by its ability to win new business. But when client work swamps lawyers during busy periods, they can easily neglect business development – especially if they feel uncertain how to sell professional services, aren’t clear what’s in it for them or are just uncomfortable with the notion of ‘selling’.
Training, and tying business development targets to career progression, can address these issues. But to keep activity levels up even during busy periods, you also need to tackle the frictions preventing lawyers from doing business development.
A tale of avoidable frustrations
Consider this scenario. An ambitious lawyer looks to approach a potential new client but doesn’t know who in the business may already have a relationship with that prospect. She reaches out, only to later discover one of her colleagues has been carefully nurturing that prospect. Because she couldn't find that information easily, she's annoyed her colleague and given the impression to the prospect that people in her firm don't communicate well.
With this kind of frustrating experience, is it any wonder that business development suffers?
How to reduce sources of friction
Imagine instead that her firm had implemented a relationship management solution. How would this help?
By gathering data automatically from different systems across the firm, the software would have ensured contact and relationship information was up to date and easily accessible with minimal input from lawyers and partners. Our lawyer can now quickly view the existing communications between her colleague and her prospect. She can choose to work with her colleague to complement his approach, or simply move on to another prospect.
Her business development director benefits too.
He can use the software to easily view all the relationships across the firm with existing and potential clients. He can setup reminders to ensure lawyers and partners don’t neglect key accounts. And he can easily analyse the mix of business development activities to identify which have the most impact on the top line.
With this intelligence, he can guide his firm’s business development activity so that colleagues make best use of their business development time.
Software alone is never enough
Well-designed relationship management software eliminates frictions that restrict business development.
Of course, it's also important to create a culture that provides appropriate training and incentivises business development activity amongst the people contributing to winning work.
But by eliminating unnecessary frictions and making business development easier in your firm, hitting revenue targets suddenly becomes a whole lot easier.
Find out more about how you can use technology to help your firm win more business with less effort at www.lexisnexis-es.co.uk/interaction/