By David Whiteside, Director of Client Growth & Success at CLIENTSFirst
Most legal sales professionals understand the need to match their firm’s practice and lawyering strengths to the type of legal, compliance and consulting work a client or prospect may need, and know the benefits that come from presenting a good “first glance” fit to your firm. For example, the client likes to acquire specific types of biomedical companies and your firm has the legal talent and connections within the biomedical space, so at first glance there is something there to pursue.
But let’s take the matching process to another level. Although the first glance test looks good, does your firm’s internal technology profile match up well to your client’s or target client’s technology profile?
Legal departments today consider great legal work as a commodity. Relationships, responsiveness, billing accuracy also all play an important role in selection and especially retention. Companies today now look to a deeper level when evaluating legal providers often referred to as the firm’s “Technology Profile” as they seek to minimize the on-boarding challenges of a new firm. How technologically proficient is a firm and how closely do the tools and processes the firm uses or has skills for match up to the tools and processes the legal department uses to manage files?
Common examples are:
Invoicing systems – client uses Legal Track, Serengeti or another e-billing system – is your firm skilled in the usage of the system the prospects department uses?
Collaboration Platforms – Many legal departments are adopting these platforms – are they on HighQ, Segment, SharePoint or Workstorm? Is your firm adept at using these tools?
Westlaw or Lexis? If your firm sends them a document with linked citations can they easily get to them?
E-Discovery – Do they use Relativity, Ringtail or other common systems, and do you have teams already skilled with these options?
Project Management – do your lawyers have LPM skills and if so any proficiency with various software commonly used? Are they good with Excel which is the number one Project Management tool used?
Do they have any unique internal systems you would need to master in order to work with them? Are you prepared to offer a plan to get up-to-speed at no cost to the client?
Does your firm offer any unique or innovative systems that will differentiate your firm and a plan to educate the client?
The gauntlet of requirements to win new clients as well as retain existing clients gets more challenging every day. Your ability to profile your firm’s capabilities, and often a competitor’s capabilities, against the systems a prospect currently uses can be a real differentiator in a tight battle, and today they are all tight. This may not be as high on the clients list if the file is a “bet the company” scenario. But for most work where the prospect has a wide range of hiring options the ability to differentiate your firm beyond checking the skilled lawyering box can make all the difference.
About the Author:
Dave Whiteside is Director of Client Growth & Success at CLIENTSFirst.
Dave’s focus is helping the company grow and expand its CRM, Data Quality, eMarketing and Client Intelligence service offerings, and building alliances that help deliver additional value to Clients.