Rounds of golf, networking events, and responding to RFPs are tried and true ways to develop new business in the legal sector.
But they were also tried and true back in 1985. Much has changed since then.
Today’s smartest B2B business development professionals are using technology to amplify their sales funnel, do more deals, and waste less time handing out business cards that will inevitably make their way to the local recycling depot.
And as alternative legal services providers (ALSPs), continue to steal market share away from traditional law firms, partners, managing associates, and legal BD functions would be well advised to follow suit and move beyond informal face-to-face BD techniques typical in the industry (and becoming less effective in a remote working world), towards tech-driven business and relationship development methods popularized in Silicon Valley.
Just one of the many powerful techniques available to but underused by lawyers is the monitoring of market signals.
Any good sales professional will tell you not to waste your time on so-called prospects, unless they have budget, appetite and need for your service, and timing is right (BANT).
Far too often, people waste their time chasing shadows, and getting nowhere. But what if you could know in advance who had BANT for your services, and you could promptly reach out to them on a weekly, or even daily basis?
This is where market signals come in.
Step 1: Define Your Signals
Typical signals for law firms might include, but would not be limited to
Linkedin’s flagship sales tool has sophisticated search capabilities which help you find prospects based on filters such as title, industry, company headcount, geography, and more.
Better yet, it can tell you just who of your shortlisted prospects changed jobs in the past 90 days, or was mentioned in the media in the past 30 days, both of which can point to buying signals (see below).
BuzzSumo, a powerful content discovery tool, helps you find news articles, influencer mentions, and more, on topics of interest to you and your firm.
For example, I can search for news mentions of planned IPOs and filter mentions by geography, recency, and more (below).
I can then click on these results to learn more and find key contact information. For example, the news mention related to Policygenius’ planned IPO reveals the following information.
Seems like a good time to reach out to Policygenius CEO, Jennifer Fitzgerald, or the in-house legal counsel to see how your firm can help.
Crunchbase is amongst the best places to get timely news on companies that have raised capital recently, especially when it comes to venture-backed world. Each week, the platform provides a comprehensive list of which companies have raised capital recently and how much they’ve raised.
You can export this information, as well as contact emails, to reach out to such organizations, because funding events typically precede spending events.
Lawyers are busy, and with 6-minute increments still a thing at most law firms today (for better or worse), time really is money.
That’s why creating a system around your signal monitoring and outreach initiatives, so they are performed without fail every single week, without you even having to think about it, is crucial.
To do this, you need to:
Your outreach script might look a little something like this.
Hi *First Name*
I read about your *keyword plans* in the *publication name*.
We’ve been working with companies such as Company A, Company B, and Company C, in this space, and I’d be delighted to learn more about your plans, and how we might be able to help.
Free for a 15 minute call next week?
My assistant monitors various signals on a weekly basis, importing key information into MixMax, and subsequently sending personalized emails to about 100 people a week.
The following email to the then CTO of Australian REIT, Charter Hall, was based on a media mention.
Typically, commercial deals can take upwards of 12 months and lots of energy to close, but because said CTO had openly been talking about his company’s digital transformation appetite in the media, the likelihood that budget, appetite, need and timing was there, was very high (as was the reputation risk of not living up to said pronouncements).
I must stress that there was no pre-existing relationship here, just a defined need and a fit-for-need solution.
As a result, in less than just three months to the day, we had not only secured a mid six-figure deal to work with Charter Hall, but had also kicked off proceedings, as the Australian Financial Review noted below.
This is just one of the many ways that forward-thinking lawyers can ramp up their business development function, drive growth, and remain competitive well into the future, as the legal and technology landscape continues to shift.
Want to teach your lawyers how to fish? Visit FutureLawAcademy.net for tailored training modules on business development for law firms.
Want us to fish for you? Get in touch with me. 🎣
Steve Glaveski is the CEO and Co-Founder of Collective Campus which he established to help companies and their employees to create a more meaningful impact in the world in an age of rapid change and increasing uncertainty. Steve also founded Lemonade Stand - a children's entrepreneurship program, author of Wiley book, Employee to Entrepreneur: How to Earn Your Freedom and do Work That Matters, Harvard Business Review contributor, author of the Innovation Manager's Handbook vol 1 and 2, host of the Future Squared podcast, and keynote speaker. He previously founded HOTDESK, an office sharing platform and has worked for the likes of Westpac, Dun & Bradstreet, the Victorian Auditor General's Office, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Macquarie Bank. Follow him at @steveglaveski