Law firms have been forced to navigate an increasingly competitive business environment since the beginning of the economic downturn nearly a decade ago. They have found that consumers of legal services are seeking the highest level of service for the lowest possible cost after decades of nearly always casually accepting whatever their law firm was charging.
But today, business development has become much more important for law firms of all sizes as customers have started to request RFPs more frequently and with much more required precision.
The following are four common pain points firms experience around developing effective pitches and winning new business from clients:
- Finding Time to Gather the Information Prospective Clients Want
Today’s corporate counsels expect more from their outside law firms. Corporate counsels want a business partner who understands their industries, their needs and their cultures. They expect proactive advisors rather than lawyers who merely complete required tasks. It is important to understand your prospective clients’ histories, the types of work clients have needed in the past and what needs they might have in the future. In some cases, the most difficult part of preparing a pitch is understanding what information should be included and finding the time to collect it.
- Finding New Business Prospects
Traditional methods of finding and closing new business can be time-consuming, and the results are often inconsistent. Areas of law that had entire AmLaw 100 firms dedicated to them a decade ago might only be handled by a select few boutique law firms today. Jurisdictional decisions, federal court rulings, and changes in government can all open up new business opportunities for law firms. But how do these types of events impact your clients? Are there prospective clients you can approach who may need representation due to these events? Seize every opportunity to maximize current client relationships and establish new ones.
- Understanding the Competition
The law firms competing for a particular company’s business has changed considerably over the past 10 years. Midsize firms are finding themselves in the running for work with Fortune 500 companies, and AmLaw 200 firms are beginning to move down-market in search of additional business. Most large companies employ multiple law firms; this probably includes some of your biggest clients. Who are those firms? And how did they get new business from one of your clients? Was it a niche practice area? A location where you didn’t have a presence? Understanding the face of today’s competition can help you protect your current client relationships and establish new ones.
- Obtaining the Right Data to Support a Bid
Today’s prospective clients are much savvier. Over the past 10 years, they have learned what a matter should cost. They will no longer tolerate bids that are not supported by sound data, and long-standing relationships no longer provide the guaranteed assurance of winning the bid. From finding new business opportunities to preparing for pitches and understanding the competition, knowing where to find the information you need can be extremely difficult.
Of all the business development challenges firms face today, we find that these four tend to be among the most prevalent, based on our conversations with firms. Many of the law firms we speak to regularly used Monitor Suite to overcome these obstacles and improve their business development strategy.
If you want to learn more about how Monitor Suite can help with your firm’s business development needs, register for our free webinar, on either:
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