As the legal services market becomes increasingly competitive it’s essential that law firms get more strategic with their business development. For many, this translates as needing better visibility into where sales opportunities are across the business, and increasing the accountability of all who play a part in the sales process. In my conversations with business development directors, I’ve been shown (and shown others) how a relationship intelligence tool integrated with the firm's practice management solution can deliver both of those needs for firms.
Intelligence that delivers predictability
With the right relationship intelligence, business development leaders can not only select target clients, but also to manage how the firm approaches those prospects to close more business. Let’s look at an example.
A business development director has been set a revenue target by his senior partners to generate $100,000 of new business from existing clients. Naturally, his first step is to look at services the firm already sells to its top clients. By using a firm-wide relationship intelligence system, the BD director can see that the firm has had great success selling General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) reviews, at around $20,000 each, to 50% of its clients. He can see that he only needs five additional sales of this popular service to meet his target.
The system also identifies the individual lawyers in the firm who specialise in the GDPR. The BD director can see that the lawyers have connections with a number of existing clients for whom the GDPR is a major concern, and asks them to prioritise calling those clients to talk about how the firm can help. They can’t get to it right away, but because the lawyers are calling people they know, they’re more comfortable having the conversations. So the BD director sets the lawyers automatic reminders to make the calls later in the week, when they have more time.
As each lawyer makes their calls, the BD director can record each lead and track progress made towards the sale. To keep things on track, he can assign tasks to themselves and others to follow up on opportunities at the right moment.
It’s not long before the BD director has a clear pipeline of opportunities that’s actually likely to deliver eight sales and $160,000 of revenue.
Technology supports cultural change
The key to this is the relationship intelligence tool. It allows business development leaders to identify sales opportunities, and ensures that the accountability of each participant in the sales process is clear. As a result, it’s easier to plan and prioritise business development efforts, using the appropriate resources to meet genuine client needs.
And because the sales process becomes more standardised, over time relationship intelligence tools can help make sales feel like a natural part of everyone’s jobs. Senior partners can create realistically ambitious targets; colleagues can see what is expected of them and how it contributes to the firm's success. And delivery against that target builds collaboration and trust around the business development process.