Law firms seeking to better understand clients, and the strength of client relationships, have an often overlooked source of data: their own.
In a LexisNexis webinar on “Revenue Generating Relationships,” Toni Minick, says some of the law firms she works with have client relationship data that merits more detailed analysis. That analysis ought to be aimed at uncovering patterns and clear steps to improve those relationships, identify opportunities and develop a plan to pursue them.
During the webinar Ms. Minick, who leads product management for the LexisNexis® InterAction® law firm CRM product, articulated five key points for analyzing relationship data to create actionable plans for driving law firm business development:
1. Start with the end in mind. The most important thing a firm can do when mining data is to first identify the end goal. For example, if the firm’s goal is to increase revenue by five percent, then it is important to start tracking progress around that goal immediately – and visiting and revisiting progress on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. It’s this end goal that’s important for unifying efforts across a law firm – “to collectively define what a win is for the firm and agree on it at the outset.”
2. Win rate versus opportunities. What is a law firm’s win-rate vis-à-vis the opportunity pipeline? Ms. Minick recommends segmenting win/loss by practice area and by partners. It is here that patterns will begin to emerge. She also recommends looking for outliers, for example if a firm wins more in one practice area versus another. Take that information and visualizing it in the form of charts and graphs to communicate the state of business development to the firm leadership.
It’s important not to dismiss junior members of the corporate legal team. “The director of today could be the corporate counsel of tomorrow.
3. Identify depth and breadth of existing relationships. Which attorneys in the firm, and more importantly how many, are engaged at the client C-suite level? This process is an examination of how relationships are spread out across the firm. She notes it’s important not to dismiss junior members of the corporate legal team. “The director of today could be the corporate counsel of tomorrow,” she adds. This includes keeping a close eye on how associates are building relationships effectively across the firm’s practice groups through the law firm CRM system.
4. Create a 100 day plan. Build a 100 day plan around new business development that included a timeframe to keep the firm focused on the end goal. The plan, she added, should include a prioritized list of questions – what is the firm’s win and loss rate – and the data should answer those questions. The key she says it to catalog information, and again looking for patterns to emerge – especially for something that looks a bit different or stands out. That small difference can add up to a key insight.
5. Measurement, follow up and accountability. The data crunching, analysis and action plans are for naught without measurement. “If you’re not measuring then you won’t see any patterns,” she said.
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