Pre-pandemic, many law firms enjoyed deep-rooted relationships with their clients. If firm lawyers delivered high-quality work and solid track records, the strength of those relationships helped support a continual stream of business — despite steady rate increases. For many firms, that reality no longer exists.
Today’s legal clients are savvier. They’re comparison-shopping and demanding that incumbent firms continually earn their business and price their services competitively. Consequently, law firms are now contending with a heightened inflow of requests for proposals (RFPs), which is outpacing their ability to hire scarce marketing and business development talent. As a result, proposal generation has become a pervasive pain point. Without a commensurate increase in staffing to reply to incremental RFPs, they can go unanswered, leading to client loss and revenue leakage.
Addressing the problems with manual proposal generation processes
Today’s short-staffed marketing and business development teams often have limited access to the data they need to develop their proposals. This can lead them to attempt workarounds, such as accessing previous proposals for similar matters and using them as templates and content sources — simply opening old files, renaming them, and editing stale content.
Although this practice might seem like a reasonable solution, it introduces risks. Old templates and content are likely to be dated and obsolete, and clients and prospects are likely to notice — particularly if editing errors make it obvious that a proposal was repurposed. Additionally, any failure to strike out a previous client’s name presents confidentiality issues. A cut-and-paste proposal can easily result in reputational damage to your firm.
Ultimately, clients hire the firms that can best articulate their unique priorities and problems, and then assemble a best-in-class team to address them — and that requires a level of sophistication that outdated, manual proposal-generation processes just can’t support. To surface the content and achieve the precision you need to win the business, robust technology is required.
Documenting your firm’s catalog of experience
Because proposal generation and pitches likely consume the bulk of your marketing and business development team’s time — and because those teams are often short on staff and wrestling with workflow inefficiencies — finding ways to speed up the process and improve output quality can make a measurable difference. Some firms will initiate the search for an experience database as a first step — but before making that investment, it’s important to get a handle on your content.
Content in this context refers to your firm’s catalog of experience, which requires collecting detailed data from your lawyers: What representative matters have they worked on? Who are their most noteworthy clients? In which industries and specializations do they have expertise?
For many firms, unfortunately, this content is difficult or impossible to access because it’s scattered across spreadsheets and old proposals — or worse, stored in people’s heads (including by professionals who no longer work for the firm). Because many firms lack a central repository to house such information, they must resort to sending out firmwide emails hoping to find the talent they need to fill a highly specific role (“Who in our firm has experience doing cross-border health care M&A work in Germany?”).
Ultimately, your experience database is only as valuable as the information it stores, and how well it can help you search and retrieve actionable data for your pitches and proposals. When you can specify the attributes you’re looking for — industry, expertise, location — you can quickly and decisively assemble a team that’s on point to win the business.
Standing out in a crowded competitive landscape
Winning proposals highlight the compelling differentiators that set your firm apart from your competitors. Accordingly, many firms approach proposal generation by spotlighting their firms’ accolades — rankings, awards, prestigious law degrees, and high-profile wins. But while such statistics may be impressive, firms that focus on them — rather than on how their firms’ capabilities directly serve their clients’ needs — run the risk of losing sight of what matters most to their intended audience.
That’s because understanding a client’s needs has little to do with awards and previous achievements; rather, it’s about delving into the problems they’re trying to solve: What is the nature of the matter? What insights have your firm’s lawyers gleaned from similar matters and clients you’ve worked with? How will you align your capabilities to what this client specifically needs?
Ultimately, true differentiation is about drawing on your firm’s relevant experience and delivering value above and beyond the billable hour. If you can bring something new to help your client get to a solution better, faster, or cheaper, your firm and the client both win.
Unlocking the value of QorusDocs integration
When selecting an experience database solution, today’s firms need robust features that not only improve workflow efficiencies, but also offer enhanced features that deliver greater relevancy and engagement intelligence by tracking how clients and prospects engage with the content in your proposals.
With QorusDocs, you can see when your recipients open your proposal, which pages they’re viewing, and how much time they spend reading it. Equipped with this data, you can glean signals and indicators of what’s driving value: Are they focused on a specific lawyer’s bio? Did they scroll to the rates page first and spend a significant amount of time there? (If so, they’re likely price conscious.)
Over time, you can leverage engagement intelligence to continually optimize proposal generation. With QorusDocs, you’ll learn which components are particularly engaging (and which are not). Using engagement intelligence analytics, you’ll gain insights into how the experience data you’ve included in proposals correlates with associated win rates.
The ability to identify and remove content that isn’t driving engagement or conversion will help you create more precise, focused proposals, helping to demonstrate your firm’s superior understanding of your clients’ needs. With highly tailored content that speaks to your unique capabilities to address those needs, you’re in a stronger position to win the business.
OnePlace Marketing & Business Development removes the stumbling blocks associated with proposal generation. The platform natively integrates CRM, relationship intelligence, experience, and data quality — interoperability that supports advanced capabilities like search, reporting, dashboards, and visualization.
QorusDocs integration with OnePlace Marketing & Business Development delivers enhanced proposal automation that empowers firms to not only deliver thoughtful and relevant content, but also automate sleek, concise presentation informed by engagement intelligence to help you increase your win rates.