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By Joyce Magruder
Most law firms are emerging from COVID-19 lockdowns and economic disruptions in a stronger financial position than they anticipated at the outset of the downturn. However, their approach to landing new clients has changed dramatically — and they likely will never return to the tactics of the past.
Indeed, seven in 10 law firm marketing and business development professionals agree with the idea that “strategies and activities required to win new business today have changed considerably over the past 12 months” and two-thirds of law firms are finding their business development efforts to be more difficult this year.
These are some of the findings of the 2021 LexisNexis InterAction Marketing & Business Development Survey, which polled firms of all sizes and from all over the world. The survey report identified a number of challenges that law firms are facing with their marketing and business development efforts, such as the need to improve data quality, and also documented five leading challenges that firms are facing right now when it comes to winning new business:
Competition for clients continues to heat up in the industry, fueled by the law firm consolidation trend continuing in a number of key legal markets worldwide. This has created an environment where a smaller number of large firms are competing for the same corporate clients.
Lack of follow-up on business development activities (29.1%)
This is of course a perennial challenge and is typically the result of not having enough resources dedicated to business development or pursuing too many opportunities at one time.
Obtaining lawyer participation (22.1%)
Most lawyers still lack a robust understanding of the value and scope of law firm marketing and business development initiatives. They support the need for these investments in order to drive new business but are hesitant to commit the time and energy to get involved personally.
Lack of business development training for lawyers (18.0%)
This is related to the lawyer participation challenge but illustrates that law firm marketers are hamstrung by the business development skills and knowledge of the lawyers who are responsible for closing new business opportunities.
No long-term firm strategy (16.3%)
The disruption we all experienced in the past 18 months revealed an important lesson: It is hard enough for a law firm to grow when it has to pivot on several fronts, having no long-term strategy to guide those decisions makes it that much more difficult.
These and other challenges facing law firm business development professionals require unique solutions based on the individual circumstances in place at each firm. What is clear, though, is that winning new clients starts with pinpointing high-quality leads at the top of the sales funnel.
LexisNexis provides law firm marketing and business development teams with information tools that facilitate smart growth. One of these tools is Nexis Newsdesk™️, a product that just won the 2021 SIIA CODiE Award — an honor it has claimed for five consecutive years.
The Nexis Newsdesk service works around the clock, tracking media coverage worldwide, and serves up news, trends and analysis on a firm’s clients, prospects, competitors, practice areas and industry trends. This allows law firm business development teams to identify high-value new business opportunities and kick off a targeted effort to pursue the business.
There are a few best practices that law firms have followed to leverage Nexis Newsdesk as a secret weapon in their efforts to win new business. For instance, successful law firm marketers develop action plans by tracking practice area and industry trends with the assistance of Nexis Newsdesk’s built-in analytics tools, including flexible charts and visualization aids. They also act quickly to identify and move on new business opportunities by monitoring clients and prospects through “sentiment analysis” and other tech-enabled tools. And they keep an eye on what the firm’s competitors are doing on a daily basis in order to compete aggressively for new business by acquiring a baseline of aggregated media coverage and other valuable competitive intelligence.
Law firm business development professionals agree that the strategies and tactics used to win new business in the past are no longer the ones that can be relied upon to work in the future. The marketplace is more competitive than ever, and the internal challenges are more pronounced.
The good news is that today’s law firm marketers have access to advanced technology-enabled solutions that help them identify and target prospective clients more efficiently. Please click here to learn more or to sign up for a free trial of Nexis Newsdesk.