½ of Law Firms Woefully Behind in Marketing Tech

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Technology provides a clear advantage. You can see more of what matters and target your resources with precision. All CMOs dream of technology prowess. BTI research reveals just over half of CMOs dream of the basics—foundational tools to drive BD. AI and advanced analytics will have to wait until CMOs get what they need now, including:

1.      An Experience Database

27% of law firm marketing leaders dream of an experience database. These CMOs want to know what the firm has done (and when) so they can pitch clients with relevant and detailed experience. They want a summary of the work, the impact, the industry, the practice, the attorneys—and the outcome. All this is to support the proposal and BD effort and build systematic, easy-to-access knowledge. Some forward-thinking CMOs dream of linking this data to winning proposals to pinpoint experiences resonating most with legal decision makers. Lofty, but a future enhancement.

2.      CRM

As we discussed 3 weeks ago, client relationships are the lifeblood of any law firm. 25.5% of CMOs say the ability to map and learn about these relationships is their top technology need. They want to track down the firm relationships so they can pitch a team who knows the client and can garner institutional knowledge. CRM is also one of the few tools enabling CMOs to use past activity to inform the future.

The 2 building blocks of marketing infrastructure above make up over 52.5% of 169 CMOs’ wish lists across law firms. Ideally, firms looking for CRM will use systems with a self-populating feature.  

The CMOs who already have the experience database and CRM in place have a completely different point of view. This lucky group is wishing for a wide variety of technology, performance, and productivity boosters including:

BD Tracking and Analytics

Revenue-driving CMOs want to know a lot more about BD. Most firms only track BD hours in aggregate across the firm. Some high-performing firms track BD efforts with both existing and new clients. But 9% of law firm marketing leaders want to track how much time partners are spending on specific pitches. They want to know what is paying off. And, they are trying to spot the high performers early on.

Web Analytics

Some CMOs want to track their website’s performance, lead generation, and content usage. They want to use digital analytics to inform their campaigns and drive more focused content. They also want to know: where is the traffic coming from? How often do clients and prospective clients visit? Where do they go and who are they? These are just a few things these digitally minded CMOs wish for.

Tech Integration

Most organizations struggle with this. How to make the technology work in unison—one interface, one platform, one intelligent set of high-performance data.

Data Analytics, AI, and Everything Else

Only 5% of CMOs are looking for data analytics and AI, while 8% are looking for competitive intelligence tools. A small number are looking for project management and proposal software.

Thanks, But No Thanks

The biggest surprise is 12% of law firm marketing leaders say their tech wish list is blank. They are fine with what they have.

Technology Troubles? Don’t Be Worried—Yet

The great thing about technology at this stage is firms who still need the basics are not out of the game yet. You can easily leapfrog those in front of you with a clever strategy and the right technology. But, waiting too long will put you too far behind to catch up. Better to find a way to act now—while you can still jump out in front.

MBR

Top 7 Client Innovation and Technology Needs

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Two viewpoints dominate innovation—clients and law firms. The gap between the 2 is large. Clients say only half of all law firms are showing any sign of innovation. The law firms who are among the first to close this gap will win the innovation race, or at least take the lead.

BTI’s exclusive research with top legal decision makers uncovered 27 client needs and priorities—some demand technology, while a significant number don’t. We discuss 7 of these needs below:

  1. Online access to (and storage of) working and final documents
    Clients want their law firms to place their documents in a secure, easily accessible digital location. These clients want to see current work product and drafts but want history as well. They also want client-friendly naming conventions, clearly describing the content.

  2. Dashboards with budget status, timelines, and KPIs
    Clients routinely report financial performance for their department and selected matters to key individuals. The days of chasing law firms for this information are coming to an end. The innovative law firms are pushing this out to clients and provide near real-time access in user friendly formats—AKA—a dashboard.

  3. Remote access to work product through apps and cloud‐based systems
    Clients want simple to use apps to access the data on 1 and 2 above, just as they do in many aspects of their life.

  4. Online support
    Clients want to know where to call, knowing it’s not their lawyer, to get help using your website and accessing data.

  5. Contract development and management tools
    In what could be the first real client adoption of AI-based tools, clients see great benefits in using software to manage contract development and existing contract management.

  6. Process and workflow management strategies
    Clients tell us the real benefits in improving process and workflow are better quality, more clear communications, and shorter cycle times. The reduced billable hours and resulting savings are a strong 2nd place benefit.

  7. Artificial/Augmented Intelligence tools
    Top legal decision makers are looking for benefits in e-discovery and contract automation. Other tools such as AI-based legal research can bring benefits—but clients expect law firms to adopt these tools to improve quality and cycle time. The main message—top client needs are foundational—focusing on day-to-day activities and needs. AI becomes interesting when it hit daily operations.

The law firms standing out for innovation are talking to their clients, getting feedback, and putting innovation officers in direct contact with clients—as well as getting client feedback. These firms then build tools or change behaviors and apply these changes to the broader client base.

You can learn all the details behind the 27 client needs and priorities in BTI’s just released BTI Legal Innovation and Technology Outlook 2019: Clients Rank Their Needs and Law Firm Performance. This report also details 40 law firm actions and tactics clients see as the most innovative—in full detail. Learn more here.

MBR

(Based on more than 359 in‐depth telephone interviews conducted between February 20, 2017 and July 8, 2018)

The 52 Law Firms Clients Single Out as Best at Innovation

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Who knew. Law firms are innovative. Well, at least half of them are, according to top legal decision makers. Clients point to 338 law firms who bring a meaningful innovation or use of technology. But, most firms bring only select aspects of client needs and priorities. These firms are on the right path.

52 firms stand out as being able to put together the broadest, most impactful and robust innovation and technology strategies. These firms stand out as providing the most benefit as well as being the most innovative. Please join me in congratulating the following firms for their bold, client-centric, and practical innovation, which clients single out as best—in a completely unprompted manner:


You can learn exactly where your firm stands compared to the 52 above and 338 firms clients talk about in our just released report BTI Legal Innovation and Technology Outlook 2019: Clients Rank Their Needs and Law Firm Performance.

This is the only guide to rank firms on legal innovation and technology based solely on client input. You can also immediately discover: 

  • 27 specific client needs and priorities driving innovation and technology. Use this insight to immediately target clients’ most compelling needs and be seen as a market-leading innovator
  • 40 law firm actions and tactics clients see as the most innovative—in full detail

ORDER NOW and immediately receive your copy of this essential report to stay ahead of client needs, other law firms, and the market.

MBR

Based on more than 359 in‐depth telephone interviews conducted between February 20, 2017 and July 8, 2018