The Importance of Business Intelligence

Last week, I attended a half day LMA program in DC on The Client Experience.  It was an excellent program, and the section on having competitive intelligence talent to support your BD team really resonated.  To be honest, I am surprised at how few law marketing/BD departments have Research Analysts and/or Competitive Intelligence professionals.

Gina Lynch, the‎ Director of Knowledge Services at Paul, Weiss, presented a TedTalk at the conference that was spot-on!  She illuminated why law firms need business intelligence: to be on top of the challenges their clients are facing, including being keyed into their clients’ business and legal issues. As Gina said, “To truly be client-focused, lawyers need to be immersed in the clients’ world.”  If you have skilled competitive intelligence analysts, they can sift through tons of information coming out each day and identify the business and legal news affecting your clients. They can also provide thoughtful summaries to your Partners and help your Firm stand out from its competitors. Your attorneys will be able to speak your clients’ business language and your clients will not only feel like your attorneys are legal experts, but also that they are industry experts that are deeply invested in helping and partnering with clients.

So, what if you don’t have a CI professional on your team? Gina suggested that you find someone on your team who has strong writing and analytical skills and earmark them as the ‘go-to’ professional for this role.  Even if they only spend one hour a day tracking news alerts on key clients and sending summaries to Partners, it will pay off because your clients will feel understood and listened to, and your chances of getting business from them will increase dramatically!

If you do have this type of talent on your team, they can add value by providing business intelligence to custom tailor pitches and proposals based specifically on your clients’ industry and business issues. The highest value this talent can provide is to proactively help spot new business opportunities for your Firm and Partners.  This means we are really playing the BD-game as an offensive sport, not the defensive and reactive game most of us are used to!

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