Lead qualification is a term often heard among sales professionals and rarely considered among legal professionals. But it is a process that all law firms should have in place to improve their conversion rates and turn more leads into paying legal clients.
This post will explore the reasons why your legal Client Relationship Manager (CRM) should include lead qualification and some tips to help your firm successfully handle this important task.
What is Lead Qualification
In case this term is completely foreign to you, here’s a quick explanation of what qualifying leads entails. Lead qualification is the process for determining the likelihood of a law firm prospect converting into a paying legal client. It is a key tool for improved conversion rates, making it vital to the law firm client onboarding process.
There is no denying that for every viable lead that contacts a law firm, there are numerous others that turn out to be dead ends. Lead qualification is all about identifying the leads with the most potential, so that firm resources can be spent in the most efficient and productive manner.
Law firms are built on billable hours, and the more time spent on non-billable processes, the less time spent on more profitable tasks. This is why your firm needs systems in place that promote the highest level of productivity in the completion of administrative tasks, which includes legal marketing, CRM, and client intake.
You do not want firm members spending hours of valuable time trying to convert leads into clients. Yes, conversion is important. But it is equally important to handle these tasks in an organized and efficient manner. Lead qualification is the first step in that direction. When you can differentiate which leads have potential and which ones likely do not, you can better allocate your law firm resources.
Some other benefits of lead qualification include:
- Actionable data about your firm’s most and least effective marketing efforts
- Greater guidance as you nurture leads into paying law firm clients
- Analysis of lost leads for improved marketing strategies in the future
Tips for Qualifying a Lead
Now that you understand the importance of qualifying leads, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of making it happen. As with any formalized process, you need to start at the end by visualizing the result you hope to achieve. For lead qualification, that means identifying your firm’s ideal client. That person or organization that is likely to choose your firm to handle their legal matters… what do they look like demographically?
You can think about this in a couple of ways. First, review the demographic data of current firm clients. Do they tend to comprise a particular gender, age range, or level of income? Do business clients tend to come from a particular industry? If your firm is seeking to evolve and attract a different type of clientele, consider the demographics of those new potential prospects.
By defining an ideal client, your firm can craft a profile that will help you identify the best use of firm time and resources. You can tailor marketing funnels and conversion activities to those leads that are most likely to convert. Not that you want to ignore everyone else, but if you can quickly recognize that a lead is not a good fit for the firm, you can communicate that message instead of wasting the lead’s time and yours.
The next step is leveraging initial lead communications. This will require a time commitment upfront as you craft the questions and conversation outline. But once the framework is in place, these communications can be efficiently handled by a CRM system in a way that boosts productivity while also promoting an effective first interaction. Remember that time is of the essence when converting leads to clients. The right questions upfront can help you quickly qualify and disqualify prospects.
Whether you use an automated questionnaire for your initial communication, a meeting, or a telephone call, here are a few tips to get the most out of that initial contact:
- Open-ended questions are great for information gathering but be sure to tailor them in a way that targets specific information without leaving the door open too long and unnecessary responses.
- Try to determine client expectations and their intentions for legal representation. This information can tell you a lot about whether or not a client and/or their matter is a good fit for the firm.
- Gather all the general data you would need for subsequent communications. For instance, if you have a newsletter sales funnel, make sure your initial communication provides you with information about the type of content the lead would find valuable as well as the best email for delivery of the newsletter.
Legal CRM Software Helps your Firm Qualify Leads
The lead qualification process may sound like a lot to take on within your firm, but it doesn’t have to be with the right CRM system in place. With CRM, your law firm can better organize prospects and leads, as well as existing clients. You can automate tasks to ensure that those initial communications are handled in an efficient and streamlined manner that keeps you from missing out on prospective business.