Profit, talent and a healthy pipeline are all vital elements of a successful law firm, but none are easy to achieve. And the constant battle to log as many billable hours as possible adds a lot of pressure. It’s all about reducing non-billable time – and then putting that time to the best use: by strategising, billing more client time, recruiting and keeping the best staff, and turning prospects into customers.
Automation software was created to help professionals in all industries spend less time on less valuable, time-consuming work so that they can focus on more valuable, strategic work.
Tools such as document automation and proposal generation software are proven to greatly increase efficiency and quality, which has a big effect on profit, employee satisfaction and reputation.
Proposal software, for example, enables law firms to create first-draft proposals or responses to RFPs in minutes rather than hours. This means that more time can be spent tailoring the document to each client, which will improve the firm’s win rate. And proposal software that integrates with CRM and other systems makes the process even simpler, and the output even better.
These automation tools have added benefits for organisations, like law firms, that charge by the hour because they enable associates and other junior members of staff to create base proposals that partners can work from and add to. This reduces the amount of time these ‘more expensive’ employees are required to allocate to non-billable tasks – without risking quality.
How to make proposal software your firm’s best friend
The trick is to ensure that the proposal software has a central content ‘library’ of up-to-date, approved, firm-wide expertise to draw from. This requires a dedicated library owner, a commitment from partners to submit relevant content and share their knowledge, and regular content reviews to ensure that everything remains accurate.
Also known as a ‘matters and experience database’, this library should contain approved descriptions of matters (both internal and client-facing versions), industry data, fee structures and benchmarks, biographies, firm overviews and anything else that is of value when creating a pitch book or proposal or responding to an RFP. This will reduce the amount of time spent looking for information, interrupting others to ask the common questions, and trying to decide how to staff a new matter.
Of course, all of this content must be properly indexed so that it can be easily searched. Making it accessible via a web portal will enable employees and partners to access and update it regardless of where they are or what time it is when they start working on it.
Firms can also use proposal or document generation software to store competitive intelligence, sales enablement documents and firm messaging, creating a single repository for all company documentation. Just be sure to label which of it is internal-only and which is client friendly!
At the end of the day however, the success of proposal software depends on people – people need to understand it, believe in it and use it. If it’s too complicated, or they weren’t trained properly, people won’t adopt the system. Likewise if adoption isn’t mandatory or doesn’t come from the top.