In today’s competitive legal markets, “rainmaking” is more complex than a round of golf and a handshake. Potential legal clients, especially individuals in need of services like family, personal injury, trusts and estates, and bankruptcy law, are business development leads that must be managed. Law firms that utilize lead management processes are, metaphorically, capturing and funneling to ensure plenty of rain is made.
A law firm lead is someone who has already shown an interest in the legal service being offered. This interest can be demonstrated through a website visit, opening an email, interacting on social media, or even a call to the law firm to ask questions. Not all law firm leads will become clients, and those who do might take some time to make that transition.
Lead management ensures there are no leaks in the rainmaking’s capturing and funneling. Lead management for law firms includes collecting, organizing, and analyzing leads as well as tracking any activity with the lead, such as emails and phone calls or outreach via marketing content.
Simply, law firm lead management ensures that the marketing investment made to generate leads turns into revenue for the firm.
Creating a Law Firm Lead Management Process
Just as every law firm is unique, so too are the instruments that make them grow and thrive. Below are the four considerations and steps for identifying and implementing a lead management system that works for your law firm.
Take stock of the current process.
What, if anything, does the law firm do now with leads? Reviewing how leads are being handled can show both weaknesses and strengths in the current lead management process. Begin at the beginning and seek details by asking:
- When the receptionist receives a cold call from a potential client, how is that information recorded, and to whom does it go?
- How are attorneys ensuring that they follow up with leads?
- How does the firm define a “lead,” i.e., someone who follows the firm’s Facebook profile and/or someone who provides contact information via an online form on the firm’s website?
- How does the firm define and categorize relationship origination and ownership?
- If attorneys are required to bring new business to the firm, how is that information tracked?
- What are some of the key stops along a lead’s journey?
- What kind of outreach do leads receive from individual attorneys and the firm, and how often?
- Is there a way to prioritize “hot” leads?
- Who from the firm is involved in lead management, i.e., attorneys only or also legal assistants, marketing, and accounting personnel?
Let technology assist.
Trade the Post-it note reminders all over your monitor and spreadsheet of contacts for a technological platform that streamlines and organizes the lead management process. Automated sorting, reminders, and communications features keep leads in the pipeline moving forward toward conversion to client. A dashboard that everyone in the lead management process can access ensures stellar communication and lessens repetition. In addition, a record of every “touch” made to the lead, including phone calls, emails, and social media interactions, helps determine where in the buying journey the lead is.
A major part of lead management technology is the firm’s client relationship management system, or CRM. Robust CRM systems are basically an address book that does so much more. After a lead is entered into a CRM, all their information and every activity with them is recorded for all users to see. For many firms, a CRM is the lead management tool they need.
When considering lead management technology, be sure to have a full list of the firm’s technology stack. Many CRMs and lead management tools integrate easily with each other and billing, case management, email, document management applications, and email marketing systems.
Use a variety of outreach tools.
Funneling a lead into the pipeline is just one part of the lead management process. What you do once you’ve captured them is key. Lead outreach is anything from a follow-up phone call or email from the relationship attorney to any number of targeted marketing activities. The same legal marketing tactics you used to generate the lead can be used to nurture them.
Legal marketing campaigns that include outreach to targeted audiences via emailed newsletters or alerts, social media posts, and advertising should be directed toward leads, too. Sometimes, a campaign planned specifically for leads can be an effective way to help leads decide to move further along the pipeline.
However you do it, consistent and repetitive outreach keeps your law firm in leads’ minds, just like any effective branding and reputation-building tactic. Outreach builds trust and engagement, which is the foundation for any successful attorney-client relationship.
Review and use lead management data strategically.
Lead management tools provide valuable insights into your potential clients. This is information you can use to make the lead management and conversion process efficient and quick. Here are some ways to use lead management feedback:
- Identify which leads are close to hiring an attorney and prioritize them.
- See what kinds of outreach high-priority leads are responding to and use those more; decrease ineffective outreach tactics.
- Look for outreach tactics that yield high engagement and use those more often.
- Watch for any leads that might be slipping through the cracks.
One of the biggest benefits of lead management insights is the ability to identify leads that are not viable. Don’t waste time and resources on a lead who is showing no interest in becoming a client.
Law firm lead management is an investment, but it pays off with less wasted time and more clients.