The New Legal Services Buyer:
How Technology Has Changed the Way We Buy and Sell
by Melissa Rogozinski, Chief Executive Officer
The term “new normal” quickly proliferated our vocabulary when the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold. The work-from-home mandate and resulting, total reliance on technology forced a revolution in the way professionals buy, sell and generally conduct business.
Like most businesses, law firms and legal vendors had to pivot quickly, realigning to accommodate the sudden and necessary shift in business process. As a result, we now have what RPC Strategies refers to the “new legal services buyer” for legal products and services.
Don’t worry, though. The demand for what you sell is still there. The pain points of your buyers are still there. The money is still there.
The only difference is YOU are not there—at least not in the way you used to be there.
So, then, how will you and the new legal services buyer find each other? Let’s discuss the new pain point, the new solution and the new reality.
The New Pain Point
Marketing and sales strategies that depend on interpersonal relationship-building have lost their impact after more than a year of social separation, remote meetings, and backtracking on budgets. Marketers and salespeople must find a completely new way to think about, study and prepare to meet the needs of their prospective buyers.
The New Solution
In this world, executing a revenue strategy is important now more than ever. Here are three steps the sellers of legal technology and legal services must take to succeed in this environment.
- Understand your buyers better than they understand themselves.
Begin by asking: What are the buyer’s exact pain points? What messaging will best address those pain points?
Sellers must invest in sophisticated buyer persona research in order to understand how to answer those questions. What is the title and role of the buyer’s chief decision-maker or the chief influencer? What communication preferences work best with that person? What does the person value? What are their major goals or challenges? Crucially, what does data and anecdotal evidence suggest you can help them accomplish that they cannot accomplish on their own?
Persona development can help you begin to understand all of that.
To share one example of a critical buyer persona within legal, you may discover that senior paralegals often have power in small-to-mid-sized law firms to influence the purchase of technology. If fact, you may just find out they practically make the decision for the attorneys.
What will grab the senior paralegal’s attention the most? How can you best help them, and make them your best ally? Develop your plan for engagement well before you make the approach.
2. Develop a comprehensive strategic account plan for every prospective buyer.
Sellers must study their prospects intensely, prepare the best approach and then pursue the sale with laser-sharp focus. The best way to organize this is through the use of detailed strategic account plans (SAPs).
Among other information, a winning SAP will include:
- Lead qualification analysis based on BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timing)
- Factual findings and available information on the prospect’s financials, funding, leadership and key stakeholders
- A listing of the prospect’s products, services, and target audience
- Intelligence on clients and competitors
- Articulation of the prospect’s pain points
- Analysis on how all of the above affects the prospect’s business processes, operations, efficiencies, risk management, and profitability
- Assessment on how your products or services can alleviate the prospect’s business challenges
What doesn’t the prospect do well? What market opportunity exists that may not be apparent to them yet? Find out all you can, document it all in your SAP, and use that information to tailor your outreach and follow-ups.
3. Learn how to sell through technology.
Once you have buyer personas and SAPs in place, now it’s time to sell. Most likely, there will be no catered lunches, happy hours, or on-site swag. Do not count on business travel fully coming back post-COVID.
In his book, To Sell is Human, author Daniel H. Pink comments, “The technologies that were supposed to make sales people obsolete have transformed more people into sellers.” Take advantage of the tools and opportunities. Continue the refine the use of videoconferencing and other technologies to meet and communicate with prospects, and combat “Zoom fatigue” as best you can.
When you become a talking head in a box, you will have limited time to engage the prospect, ask questions and make your case. You need to maximize your time, present your best business case and, and emphasize your value proposition, differentiators and ROI strongly. Have all of your research ready. Put your most appropriate people in the virtual room. Determine what you will share on your screen and how you will share it (PowerPoint, live annotation, polls, and other interactive tools). Conduct practice runs before you meet with the prospect.
Finally, use your CRM system to most effectively gain prospect intelligence, guide your sales process, and nurture your pipeline. Consult your sales operation people and make needed adjustments.
The New Reality
Ultimately, winning over the “new" legal services buyer comes down to asking: If we can no longer count on cultivating sales relationships in person, then how do we generate strong revenue anyway?
Research buyer personas, work hard on your SAPs and learn how to be an innovator who sells through technology in creative ways. If you do, you should find yourself in a strong position to thrive.