Most lawyers who are looking to grow their practices place a great deal of emphasis on case management. But what about all the other important business processes, like marketing and sales? This is what lead management is all about, and it’s an area where most law firms struggle. In this post, I’ll explain the four biggest lead management mistakes that most lawyers make, and I’ll show you some easy remedies for these problems to help you get your sales cycle organized and optimized for success.
1. No Consistent Method for Tracking Leads
The biggest mistake many lawyers make when it comes to lead management is not having a consistent process for capturing and tracking their leads.
Leads will flow in from various sources, such as referrals, websites, advertisements, and online attorney directories. Some will call, some will email, and some will submit a contact form on your website. But from there, each one is handled differently.
Some leads stay in the inbox, some are entered into a spreadsheet, and others are scribbled down on paper during an initial call. Inevitably, some get lost in the shuffle, and others do not receive enough attention and slip away.
Not having a systematic approach to managing leads makes it very difficult to stay organized, and as a result, business is lost and marketing dollars are wasted.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is designed for the very purpose of tracking and following up with leads. Adopting a law firm CRM is the best way to organize your lead management and ensure that potential clients aren’t slipping through the cracks due to poor processes.
2. Not Following Up Enough
Lack of follow up is probably the second most common lead management mistake made by lawyers.
You obviously don’t want to follow up too much to the point where you annoy a potential client. But if you only try to contact a lead once before giving up, that’s not nearly enough.
In a traditional sales environment, closing a deal often requires at least 5-10 interactions with the prospective customer. This is normal. If you stop following up because the prospect doesn’t reply to a single email, you are leaving money on the table.
Although law firms are not traditional when it comes to their sales process, a certain level of persistence is still necessary. You should respond to your new leads immediately and then check in with them at least a 3-4 times before giving up hope.
A great way to follow up with leads and be persistent without taking up so much of your valuable time is to use drip emails and automate the process.
Drip marketing is an automated process to send repeated communications out to someone over a specified period of time. It will help you stay on top of all your prospects, but without requiring you to manually make calls or draft emails to follow up with them one-by-one.
3. Inconsistent or Incomplete Data
The third mistake lawyers make with lead management is having inconsistent or missing data about their leads. This largely stems from the lack of organization mentioned above, but it results in an entirely different set of problems.
When your data is incomplete or inconsistent, you get very few benefits from it. You lose the ability to leverage that data for the purpose of making informed business decisions.
You should be tracking the same set of data points for every single potential client who contacts you, and then using the data to calculate important business metrics such as your ROI and conversion rate.
For example, here are a few key data points to capture for every lead:
- Lead source (e.g. referral, Avvo profile, Google PPC, website, blog post, etc.)
- Basic contact info (first and last name, phone, and email)
- Basic nature of inquiry (could be a set of custom fields or just a note, and it should be specific to area of practice)
- Whether they scheduled a consultation or not
- Whether they hired you or not
This is just a starting point, and the data points you should capture may vary depending on your practice. But without this data, you’ll be running your business blind which is never a wise idea.
By tracking these key data points in a consistent manner, you will start to gain actionable insights into the health of your business and easily find areas where you can improve.
Just like mistake #1 above, the remedy for bad data is to implement a more systematic lead management process. This will help ensure that all your key data points are logged into a database for every single lead. Using a CRM with data fields that you can customize is the easiest way to achieve this goal.
4. A Burdensome Intake Process
Having too many barriers during the client intake process is the fourth and final lead management mistake made by attorneys.
The client intake process tends to cause the most slowdowns during the legal sales cycle because it requires a lot of communication and paperwork. If you know anything about sales, you know it’s important to strike while the iron is hot. So minimizing the barriers will help you to maximize the percentage of leads who end up hiring you.
Here are the most common processes which tend to be unnecessarily burdensome on clients:
- Coming into your office for an appointment
- Filling out forms and questionnaires by hand
- Printing, signing, and scanning fee agreements or other documents
- Paying retainers or upfront deposits with cash or check
These are all very important steps when signing up a new client, but any hassles along the way are likely to cause delays, or worse yet, give the client time to rethink their decision. The easier you can make your intake process, the higher the likelihood the client will get through it.
Modern technology provides all the tools you need to streamline these otherwise burdensome steps which can act as barriers to signing up a client.
For example, you can offer virtual appointments via Skype or Google Hangouts, use online questionnaires to capture client information, make your documents e-signable, and offer an online payment option for retainers.
Make life easy on your clients, and they will not only do the things you need them to do, but also be more satisfied with your service.
Most of the innovation happening in the legal technology space has focused around the case management aspect of running a practice. This is certainly important, but it has caused lawyers to overlook the importance of lead management, which is equally critical to success.
The four most common lead management mistakes made by many lawyers include:
- Not having a systematic approach for lead tracking
- Not following up or being persistent enough
- Not having the right data to make better business decisions
- Creating too many barriers during the client intake process
If you are guilty of these mistakes and you are struggling to grow your law firm, it’s time to make lead management a top priority.
We designed Lexicata, the all-in-one CRM and client intake software for law firms for this very reason. Our software handles every aspect of law firm lead management seamlessly from start to finish. Key features include:
- a “pipeline” view for tracking leads
- customizable email templates
- email scheduling to automate follow ups
- easy-to-use, online intake form builder
- automatable document templates with e-signatures
- integrations with Clio, MailChimp, and LawLytics
- and much more!
To learn more, schedule a free demo of Lexicata and we’ll be happy to help you get your lead management in order.
Aaron George is an entrepreneur with a background in law and technology, having started a successful mobile app development business during law school. He is an active blogger, a graphic designer, and a lover of music and all things sports related. Currently, he is co-founder of both LawKick.com and Lexicata. Connect with him on LinkedIn.