Prove Your Value to Partners with Data

Marketing, especially for law firms, has grown increasingly expensive as digital marketing tools have emerged and evolved over the last decade. For any department within a firm, being able to prove your value can be especially challenging as the partners need to see actual data to be convinced that the large investment in technology will produce results.

When I was hired by Covington to modernize their approach to digital marketing, during one of my first meetings with lawyers I began to show what we could do with CRM and the analytics we captured during small pilot. The firm had never done this before, and as it was very new to them, we needed to start small and present concrete examples to build consensus among stakeholders. During one of these consensus-building road shows, one of the senior lawyers, somewhat stunned with the depth of our analytics and relationship capabilities said, “it’s like you are from the future.”

Lawyers, as you know, went to law school because they wanted to practice law, not business development. In fact, reaching out to clients for the purpose of asking for new business may create anxiety and perhaps even leave them feeling vulnerable. You can remove some of the uncertainty lawyers feel by providing them with well qualified leads and details of what types of thought leadership the lead has reviewed.

We personalized our website and communications to improve our client’s experience. With thousands of insight pages and over a dozen blogs, we want to help them find the most relevant content quickly. As our website visitors interact with content, we profile them on a few facets such as area of law, industry job title and geography. We use the profiles to provide the information and content that is most useful to them as they research and learn about Covington’s capabilities. While doing this, we also score their engagement with the content based on type of interaction (e.g. viewing a bio, reading a case study, watching a video, etc.). We use the visitors’ digital footprint and scoring to identify the most engaged candidates for individual outreach.

Tableau dashboards were made available to the business development team members to pinpoint the most promising leads based on their online behaviors. Once a lead is identified, the business development team provides attorneys with data from our ERM system uncovering which Cov lawyers are best positioned to make an introduction.

On a regular basis, we go back to partners with their lead report dashboards, which use the engagement value scores to prioritize the hundreds of known leads to a manageable list. For each lead, we share: 

  • Company
  • First, last name, and job title
  • Engagement scores from Intapp Relationships (previously Gwabbit)
  • Recent matters from 3E
  • Recent business development activities, pitches and proposals for InterAction Opportunities
  • Engagement activities (e.g. campaign pages viewed, videos watched, case studies downloaded, etc.)
  • CovConnectors (i.e. the Covington lawyers best positioned to make an introduction)

Together, with the business development team and attorneys, we identify actionable leads, and suggest ways to reach out to each contact. We finally have everything they need in a single place to move from marketing to outreach.

Outreach can range from quick and simple, such as following up with a link to a case study specific to their industry and interests, to more time consuming such as webinars, workshops, CLEs or health checks.

Being able to provide this much information doesn’t happen overnight. Before we set up Tableau, we used Excel spreadsheets and lots of manual data cleansing to get the same results. The spreadsheets were used to demonstrate the power of analytics and to gain the support and investment from management.

It has been a long but rewarding journey. When you are able to back up your opinions with data, then even lawyers have a hard time arguing with the fact that, for example, someone who watched 14 minutes of videos is a hot lead, case studies are a whole lot better than long alerts, or that no one scrolls to the end of really long bio pages.

Don’t get discouraged. You don’t change culture through email and memos; you change it through relationships – one conversation at a time. Your enthusiasm can be as contagious as winning new business. They may think you are from the future, but we are really just in a game of catch up.

By Michelle Woodyear, Director of Digital Marketing at Covington & Burling LLP

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