Peer to Peer Magazine

Summer 15

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 21 of 87

WWW.ILTANET.ORG 23 Unless the proposal states a single channel for correspondence or has an embargo window for communication, get aggressive and use the tools available to you, including back channels, technology and research platforms, and old-fashioned sleuthing. Clients and prospects will not tell you what they are looking for right away, but if you know how to ask (and whom to ask), you can craft clearly articulated solutions that will not be rivaled. FOCUS ON QUALITY Assembling an RFP is time-consuming, eating up expensive attorney time, as well as marketing and business development resources and staff. A recent LexisNexis study shows that the average hours expended on responding to an RFP are between 19.6 and 25, with the more involved proposals exceeding 40 hours, all for an engagement that might never materialize for any of the candidates. According to the ABA's LawPractice Today, at least 50 percent of RFPs in the legal field are never completed, having been abandoned by the issuer before completion. These findings should have many people thinking long and hard before committing to every RFP opportunity. In a LawPractice Today article, Amanda Quinn and John Bowers suggest creating a litmus test for determining acceptable RFPs, with markers to determine if you have the time to respond appropriately, running conflict checks prior to starting, etc. Be selective and adhere to the concept of quality growth, because the resources you devote to someone throwing darts at the wall can often be applied to better opportunities. Raising the quality of the firm's responses by focusing on quality over quantity yields a better win ratio and drives greater revenue. LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY Having your "data house" in order can increase the efficiency of your RFP process and is a necessary step to maximizing your time and resources. Whether using a homegrown or purchased proposal generation tool, it is critical to develop responses, matter management and graphics solutions that improve the workflow of your proposal document. There are many great options available, but with any system, they are only as good as the information put into them. It is also important to create a culture of "bragging" in the firm. Attorneys and business development personnel should be evangelists in entering representative matters, posting leading practices, adding new topics and updating thought leadership in the proposal software. You know that your firm is doing great things for clients around the world; make sure the world knows, too. USE ALL YOUR TOOLS Perhaps most important, using all the tools in your arsenal will enable you to focus on what truly matters — communicating customized solutions with the client's end goal in mind. The less time spent pulling together experience and bio templates, the more time you have to devise customized benefit-based language that will resonate with your clients and ultimately win you business. About the Author Jim Montecallo is liaison to ANSOR Software, a legal marketing suite that offers experience management, proposal generation and content marketing. He is also a Senior Sales Executive at Kraft Kennedy, a technology and management consulting firm for law and other professional service firms. Contact him at Smaller firms averaged 1.2 RFPs per attorney, significantly more than Am Law 50 firms, which averaged 0.4 RFPs per attorney.

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