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Pipeline Management

How to Improve Business Development Results (And Not Break Your Budget)

By Olivia Watson on March, 29 2017

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Olivia Watson

Olivia C. Watson is the Marketing and Business Development Manager at Ackert Inc. She has experience in diverse industry settings including environmental non-profits, financial services, fashion and SaaS. She is a versatile, creative marketer and B2B business developer with a talent for developing original content and initiatives that drive business growth.Olivia C. Watson is the Marketing and Business Development Manager at Ackert Inc. She has experience in diverse industry settings including environmental non-profits, financial services, fashion and SaaS. She leads the marketing efforts at Ackert Inc. and contributes significantly to the company’s business development. Her written work has been featured/quoted by various publications including Strategies Magazine, JD Supra, PM Magazine, and the American Bar Association.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for law firms to consistently generate leads through traditional business development strategies. After all, the legal market itself is undergoing a fundamental paradigm shift, as market disruptors rear their heads to compete with traditional brick and mortar law firms for the same customer base. In the UK, for instance, companies like Lexoo and Crowdjustice offer alternative structures for their legal services (curated lists of specialists for the former, crowdfunded payment schemes for the latter).

Then there are the accounting big four: Deloitte, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG. These companies have begun offering transactional legal services to complement their core business. With a much bigger built-in audience to tap into, they have a distinct edge over many law firms. This is why firms must reassess their business models and find ways to combat the disruptive nature of these new players in the legal market.

Reallocate resources from marketing to business development

Steven R. Petrie of Faegre Baker Daniels asserts in this interview that, in order for law firms to succeed in business development, marketing should shift resource allocation from “one-to-many” to “one-to-one” client acquisition strategies. Traditional one-to-many marketing techniques include advertising campaigns, sponsoring events, and developing a solid web presence. While most firms are unlikely to discard this strategy completely, this one-to-many approach often casts too wide a net to be effective.

Law firms should allocate resources to a more one-to-one oriented approach, which has proven to be consistently businessman hand working with new modern computer and business strategy gear to success as concept.jpegmore effective according to a 2017 Thomson Reuters study. One-to-one strategies like client site visits and client interview programs yield a high return over minimal investment, while one-to-many strategies like sponsorships and advertising often produce mediocre results at a comparatively high cost.

Use CRM for marketing, and pipeline management for business development

CRM is undeniably useful for marketing purposes like database management and mass mailings. But for lawyer business development, CRM isn’t a good fit. Research shows that lawyers are reluctant to use CRM due to a lack of accountability, limited technical knowledge, excessive data entry, and complex user interfaces.

Pipeline management software is designed specifically with business development in mind. It organizes opportunities in such a way that it’s easy to measure progress and identify the action steps needed to move a relationship further through pipeline. While CRM has many functionalities that benefit marketers, simpler pipeline management solutions are more effective for lawyers who need to cut through the noise and focus on the business relationships that matter most.

Practice Pipeline is one such pipeline management tool. It has a 75% adoption rate, integrates with Outlook and CRM for seamless data transfer, and offers an iOS app for easy access. Its user-friendly interface helps lawyers nurture their relationships without being over-encumbered by additional features and data entry. It also integrates with CRM as a lawyer-friendly business development portal.

For more information on creating business development strategies to compete in a saturated market, download our free playbook.

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