A new white paper, published by Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute and available here for free download, looks at the process of evaluating, vying for and eventually winning Request for Proposals (RFPs) for legal services.
The paper, The RFP: Win the Big One, is authored by Rose D. Ors, the CEO & Founder of ClientSmart, a consulting firm that advises law firms and legal departments on forming collaborative, value-driven partnerships. “It’s a maxim that not all business opportunities are created equal,” Ors writes in the paper. “Distinguishing good opportunities from bad is essential.”
She outlines several steps in the successful RFP campaign, including evaluating proposals to determine which ones make sense for your firm; looking over the proposal to make sure your firm addresses all the client’s requirements; and crafting your proposal to demonstrate to clients that your firm can add the value where clients indicate they want it most.
To compete and win today, the proposal must demonstrate its strength in both the traditional value factors and an ever-expanding set of additional factors that include:
- Alignment on the relationship level — understanding the client’s industry, its business, its legal department and its business success metrics;
- Alignment on the matter level — agreement on where a specific matter sits (legal complexity, business risk/reward) and agreement on what constitutes a win;
- Communication (g., scheduled touch points covering matter updates, end-of-matter review, formal/informal state-of-the relationship feedback);
- Collaboration (g., intranets, client teams, key client programs, third-party legal service providers);
- Operational excellence (staffing models, knowledge management, project management, process improvement); and
- Special programs (“secondments,” CLE-accredited training, off-the clock advice, client conferences)
So how can you arrive at the winning “value” formula — the secret sauce — that will make your proposal the winning proposal? The value formula is driven by client preferences. You will need to uncover the value factors the client deems compelling and deliver a proposal that, at a minimum, delivers on those preferences. Uncovering the needed business intelligence to understand each client’s value factors requires two steps: research and conversation.