Question: What is an example of a "funnel/pipeline approach" for law firms? Is it access to information, systems or something else?
Answer: A client development (in law firm terms) or sales (in business terms) pipeline discipline/approach is standard in business-to-business sales. But sales/client development pipelines are in the growth phase of being embraced within law firms because they must be simplified and adapted to fit the process of selling legal services to be effective.
For law firms, a sales/client development pipeline is an approach and process that usually consists of the most common and proven sales stages/phases/steps to close – for law firms. Then, to support the pipeline to insure measurable results - a back-end system is created to support the discipline/approach which allows a firm to track, follow-up and measure key sales steps/phases and revenue generated. To be effective, such systems must consist of: a combination of people who have the skills and willing to make the effort (lawyers, bus dev support, other relevant law firm staff and coaches – whether internal/external or a combination); computer software (which can be as simple as Excel); a follow-up schedule/routine with relevant lawyers and; a measuring/reporting method to prove ROI.
To adopt this type of approach/discipline, a law firm/bus dev department/law firm leadership can start either: from bottom-up (identifying and working with interested, individual lawyers over a period of time in order to demonstrate/prove success); by training a group of interested lawyers/a practice groups and (then adopt for rest of firm as appropriate over time); and/or provide training to all interested partners/practice groups. The main impediment to implementing effective client development/sales pipelines in law firms is the lack of adequate, dedicated resources (people, time and investment) able to focus on a true, embedded, institutionalized sales approach. In most law firms, a successful sales pipeline – one that yields solid ROI consistently over time - takes discipline, dedicated resources, focus and commitment by the firm and relevant staff.
For over 25 years, this is the area in which I specialize. If you would like additional information, please contact me. Julie Savarino - Telephone (724) 668-7008, Email Julie@BusDevInc.com.