The growth of the UK legal sector
Pinnacle, a leading enterprise technology consultancy firm specialising in the legal industry released it's 2022 Pitch Management Report with approximately 80% of the respondent firms seeing an increase in revenue with 20% surveyed securing double-digit growth during 2020-21.
This growth also brought an increased number of RFPs and other activities associated with legal tenders. This additional workload has been acutely felt in marketing teams; whilst it is accepted that customisation increases the chances of winning, 59% of firms say that they do not have time to create customised pitch documents. These competing pressures mean that win rates are not always as high as they might be, and firms are being less effective with scarce resources.
Since Pinnacle's earlier study in 2017, there has been a significant increase in time spent per pitch document. 28% of law firms surveyed said that each document was taking between 11-15 hours compared to just 10% taking the same time in 2017. This sizeable increase in time is due to the complexity, volume and granular levels of detail increasingly required.
Pinnacle’s CMO, Christopher Young says: “The first thing that needs to be done is to make it easier to create a pitch. The second thing is to decide which pitches will be handled centrally and which are better managed by lawyers and others in local teams. Using modern pitch generation systems means that we empower lawyers and others outside of marketing to create pitches that are on brand and reuse existing materials which have been shown to work.”
"Time is of the essence when it comes to pitches. If we can help people buy back a couple of extra hours in which to make the right decisions about pitching and improve the responses, then this is time and money well spent … If we can create room for greater interrogation of the rationale for pitching, based on the knowledge that assembling the subsequent pitch won't take as long, then that is a great result for marketing, the lawyers involved, the firm and those tendering."
“Lawyers are also currently moving firms quite a lot. Bringing them up to speed needs to be quicker and easier so that they can quickly deliver their own return on investment. using a centralised system allows new joiners to draw on your institutional knowledge.”
Staying ahead of the curve
Based on some of the key findings, it's clear that investment in proposal automation and strengthening marketing knowledge management is keeping many firms ahead of the curve.
- 100% of firms with revenue above £300m use dedicated pitching technology
- Using third-party applications allows firms to turn pitches around faster
- Firms agree that greatly customising content is important, but only 41% can act on it
Working between departments under time pressures, there is always the opportunity for brand guidelines to go awry. Colours and fonts in documents deviate from those outlined in the brand guidelines to one’s others personally prefer.
Despite the obvious issue of inconsistency, we heard from one firm that their same client would have occasionally received significantly different looking proposals from different practices within the space of a short time.
Client needs and personalisation
In determining the importance of five key priorities for their pitch documents, ‘being targeted to client needs’ - including ESG and D&I - wins hands down: 86% of firms see this as their primary objective.
The importance of targeting client needs is clear as is the related theme of relationships. One fundamental of the pitch process is understanding key decision-makers. Who they are, what their needs are and how firms can meet those needs?
There is a clear contradiction between the fact that 100% of firms believe it is important to modify generic content in their pitch documents whereas 59% are customising them only to some degree – Pinnacle would suggest that this is because there isn’t the time…
Why do law firms fail to win pitches?
Christopher Young says: “Sure, there’s a variety of factors, but the baseline is this: when you have systems in place that allow you to create a pitch more quickly that buys you time to tailor it more for the client’s specific requirements. That’s where firms that are winning larger, business-critical mandates are finding the edge. They’re using the scarcest resource that they have - time - more wisely.”
“If you’re a CMO and you’re about to go through budgeting season - now is the time to ask for investment in a firmwide pitch creation system which allows you to distribute production, should you wish whilst not losing brand control. There’s never been a better time to ask for this budget given the demands on your team and the war for law firm marketing talent.
“We’ve found that many of the existing clients are now better placed to focus their efforts on those pitches that they are most likely to win by accelerating the production process and turning down pitches which simply aren’t commercially right for the firm. The data captured in a systematic pitching process makes these decisions easier at a much earlier stage.”
“Having a central system allows marketing to make daily marginal gains. There’s no need to constantly reinvent the wheel, so everyone can move forward. That appeals to lawyers and Managing Partners who want to see constant improvement, and allow the changes to be ones that the firm can buy into. You can report on what pitches were won, which were lost and start to divine why and what that might mean about new opportunities that come forward.”
Download the full report: ‘Pitch Management Report 2022’.