Building effective legal proposals is often a complex task. There’s the back and forth between departments, the need for deeper client insights, and finding the right pricing strategy which leads to a favorable outcome for your firm.
In this blog post, we’re sharing four tips that can help your firm build effective legal proposals. We’ll focus on how to motivate your pricing strategy with partners, the importance of developing intelligence about your proposal success rate, which proposal software features will help support your business requirements, and why your ability to find out what your client wants can save your firm from a proposal mishap.
Position legal proposal pricing with partners
Convincing partners that your pricing approach is the best one for the client will require a bit of work as you try to strike a balance between your firm’s strategy and what your client needs.
How do you make sure that your strategy is best understood, especially when challenged by partners?
In LMA’s podcast, “Proposals in the Law Firm,” host Tracey Serber posed the question to her panel of guests. According to Josette Grippo of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, she positions her pricing strategy to play to the strengths of her partners.
Grippo finds that partners are often either focused on the legal strategy and how aligned it is with the services and costs of providing them, or they rely on data and pricing models, and the ability to test rates and see the consequences of certain pricing proposals. Knowing how to play the strengths of each partner makes it easier to motivate a pricing strategy.
Develop intelligence for better decision-making
Positioning your pricing model with substantial evidence of how successful similar proposals have been over time, based on different scenarios and who they were presented to on the client side (think procurement teams vs general council), is also valuable to partners.
According to Alina Mendoza, understanding the success rate in each scenario provides partners a leg up when determining pricing or the merit behind a certain approach, and can result in more favorable proposal outcomes.
Dig deeper for client insights
Since the end of 2010, many firms have been hard-pressed to deliver growth as more clients have been tightening their belts and scrutinizing legal fees. Consequently, the effect of this price sensitivity has sparked a trend in RFP requirements, one in favor of fixed or capped fees.
In the mind of the client, capped fees present the opportunity to measure the value they receive in each hour; however, tracking how firms are using each hour is still an issue for many clients.
How do you address this challenge when creating your pricing approach?
Probe for clarity.
Tracey Serber recommends that firms do a due diligence and probe the scope requirements with the client. Getting a better understanding of the size of the project and its objectives will help you present a strategy that will best fit the client’s requirements, but also protect your firm from underpricing legal services based on limited information.
Pick the right tools
Building effective proposals is often a challenge due to the amount of content that’s required, the need to work with subject matter experts, and your firm’s unique approval process and workflows. Having the right tools makes it easier to do all of this and more without having to sacrifice quality or time.
For example, Kramer Levin transformed their productivity and effectiveness by adopting Qorus Software. They’ve been able to save 30% more time managing content and have improved their pitch output by 25%.
Which features should your firm pay attention to as you examine proposal software? Here are four that your firm must have:
- A single centralized library for re-usable content. A well categorized, searchable content library makes it quicker and easier to find the best content to include in various proposals. Instead of hunting in different files and servers, asking colleagues, or leafing through previous proposals and RFPs, sales and bid teams can find pre-created, pre-approved, re-usable content and RFP responses they need in the content library.
- Collaboration and co-authoring. Real-time collaboration and coauthoring will speed up creation of new content as bottlenecks are removed, and version control is simplified.
- CRM integration. The ability to integrate your proposal software with your CRM system — automatically merging in live data — will make it possible to generate customized proposals and pitches at the click of a button. Tailoring content by client, service, sector etc. will help you create truly personalized documents at a fraction of the effort it costs you now. You’ll also avoid the risk of cut-and-paste errors, such as a misspelled or incorrect company name.
- Reporting. Your proposal management software should enable you to report on the status of each project using criteria such as start date, close date, owner, and RAG (red, amber, green) status. You should also be able to report on user access, content usage (by content type, project and user), and on how search is being used (for example, popular search terms, search results, searches that yield no results). With reports like these at hand, you’ll have insight into how the proposal management software is being used, and how well your content library is supporting proposal creation.
For a complete list of features, download our Legal buyer’s guide: 9 proposal features every firm needs.
Bid and proposal professionals are faced with unique challenges as they work with words producing successful proposals in today’s highly competitive legal market. To be successful, they need to understand how to best convey the merit of their pricing strategies to partners, leverage data success rates to give the firm a winning chance, dig deeper to better understand customer requirements, and use the most effective tools for accuracy and to save time.