Working with legaltech startups, one of the questions we get asked most often is, “How do I sell into a law firm?”. The path to signing your big contract isn’t always easy to navigate but here are some of the tips we’ve put together to help you through the process.
- Find a sponsor with authority – It can be hard to know where to start. In a “normal” business, there are clear business units or targets with CEOs or MDs, but the path to selling is much more ambiguous in a law firm. Do you sell to a Partner in a department? Or to the IT team? Or to the innovation team? You need someone to help you in – someone who has enough authority to be your sponsor.
- Manage your expectations – Sales cycles are lengthy, we know this. Law firms are highly regulated businesses handling super sensitive data. Yes, there will be security audits and procurement/legal reviews etc. So, best not to have unrealistic expectations – big firm time moves a lot slower than startup time.
- Product market fit is key – The less acknowledged point about sales cycles is that they are long because the product isn’t always good enough – there isn’t product market fit – or it doesn’t address an acute enough need. Someone along the process wants to challenge why the purchase is even being made at all.
- Tech takes time – Lots of legaltech products need to integrate with others for maximum value and that takes time because the tech is tightly supervised. Until recently, cloud tools were off limits for most firms – even at MDR we had a lively debate about using a cloud-based product; there was huge opposition from some people! Because most of the arterial systems in use are old and clunky, there are few APIs, so it is not easy for data to move in and out. Additionally, the main desktop environment is Office, which is tricky to integrate with except in Microsoft 365, so there’s a bit of a vicious circle here.
- Your job isn’t done after the sale – Our last tip would be to get a good understanding, fast, about what the law firm itself would need to do to make your product a success. Too much thought is given to the sale itself, but if the tool isn’t well used in the firm, the chances of renewal and success are limited long term. If your product involves a big change to the way users currently work look for a firm that understands that and is ready for the challenge otherwise you may end up with frustrated or apathetic clients.