Leading Intellectual Property firms from around the world are pioneering legal tech and embracing revenue acceleration solutions to operationalize their growth.
So, what’s behind this new industry trend, and why are IP firms specifically so keen on moving beyond traditional Client Relationship Management (CRM) systems to Revenue Operations (RevOps) systems? IP firms operate in a much more competitive and commoditized marketplace than traditional law firms. New client demands, smart tech tools, and alternative service providers create mounting competitive pressures.
Phil Cox, one of the world’s leading Business Development experts for IP firms, believes IP firms need Revenue Operations more than other types of law firms—citing factors like smaller transaction size, larger client bases, and more sporadic client needs. “This means IP firms need to communicate with mass audiences rather than a handful of ’top clients’, and they need to be constantly prioritizing their highest value targets,” says Cox.
Revenue Operations (“RevOps”) is a business function that aims to maximize an organization’s revenue potential by aligning your attorneys, lawyers, marketing, and other service teams across your organization’s process, platform, and people. When properly implemented, Rev Ops helps a professional services firm re-wire its operations, improve client acquisition, drive client retention, and establish a company culture focused on revenue growth.
“IP firms need to be on revenue growth, constantly prioritizing their highest value targets”Phil Cox
Business Development | IP Attorneys
IP is one of the few areas of law where engagement opportunities come up at predictable intervals. This predictability means pipeline management and revenue forecasting are more relevant to the firm’s management—and that segmented, target marketing campaigns have higher conversion potential. IP firms also benefit disproportionately from external referral programs. Corporate and commercial practice group clients will always need IP services, yet many firms don’t have the internal resources to address those clients’ needs. An executable networking and referral strategy empowers IP firms to capitalize on these opportunities.
Knowing how to take advantage of these key moments is essential for IP firms to grow—and RevOps platforms give firms the data to do just that. With centralized relationship data and hyper-personalized targeting RevOps technology enables firms to prioritize the right marketing and business development tasks, dramatically increasing conversion rates and upsell opportunities. Revenue Operations is a catalyst for more effective cross-selling and growing the firm’s existing client base. Cox emphasizes that a firm’s current client base is the best place to find new work. “I see firms looking for new clients all the time, yet most fail to concentrate on the people best positioned to refer them out, the very people that have used their services for years.”
Business leaders from IP firms also highlight the need for stronger internal alignment: in the current market, IP firms need cross-functional decision-making, collaboration, and execution capabilities to drive strategic revenue initiatives. They also point to the gap between strategy formulation and execution, which often results from a lack of transparency between different stakeholders. Managing partners, practice group leaders, and marketing and business development teams need to collaborate effectively around their growth objectives. A shared RevOps platform provides the real-time relationship data and actionable insights needed to inform better decision-making.
“By breaking down department siloes, Rev Ops gives firms the ability to identify key accounts and strategic opportunities across the entire organization.”Philipp Thurner
CEO | Nexl
Philipp Thurner, CEO at Nexl, sees obvious advantages to this new ‘operating system’ for law firms: “By breaking down department siloes and aligning IP firms’ highly diverse teams of experts, Revenue Operations gives firms the ability to identify key accounts and strategic opportunities across the entire organization, making it easier to prioritize, plan and execute. It generates true relationship intelligence and deeper commercial insights, for instance into their global referral networks, that can then guide their BD (Business Development) efforts in large-scale events such as the annual INTA conference.”
Well-established IP firms in particular are likely to have many early-stage relationships they can convert into more established relationships and, in time, paying customers. And there is another dynamic at play here—the pandemic has had a colossal impact on how firms have marketed themselves. Traditionally, marketing at IP firms has been travel-heavy, especially for those focusing on international clients.
Firms with established brand recognition have a leg up on newer firms who have struggled to meet new clients over the past two years during the pandemic as conferences—the traditional place to meet new clients—have been unavailable. Coupled with the global response to climate change becoming stronger, firms’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts are becoming more robust.
With travel harder to justify than ever, both for in-house teams and private practice firms, there is an increased reliance on digital marketing channels. And with established visibility channels, more prominent firms are better positioned to promote their messaging.
It also means referrals are as important as ever. Contact management is a key component of a strong CRM and revenue operations system. Being at the top of someone’s inbox is more important than ever, so you’re the first person someone thinks of when it’s referral time. There’s no better way to manage this than through a robust revenue operations strategy.
“Through only recently implementing Nexl, we are already seeing more collaboration between our teams, better relationship building with key clients and more strategic prospecting.”Jenny Williamson
Head of Business Development | FB Rice
IP powerhouses such as Daniel IP in Brazil, FB Rice in Australia, Spoor & Fischer in South Africa and Workman Nydegger in the United States, are all addressing their revenue challenges by adopting Nexl, citing our comprehensive, integrated suite of solutions, unique automation and data enrichment features as a unique platform to turn relationships into revenues.
This article was co-authored by Phil Cox and the team at Nexl. All rights reserved.