Client relationships are one of the most valuable assets of any business, and in light of a weak economy, new norms, and continued uncertainty, those relationships have become even more precious.
This begs the question:
Is your business doing all it can to strengthen and protect key client relationships?
In early March, about the time that COVID was classified as a pandemic, LAC Group presented a webinar, The revenue opportunity you’re missing, with Foundation Software Group. The topic was how to enhance enterprise-wide collaboration by combining and leveraging two information sources:
- Internal data, experience and knowledge
- External market and competitive intelligence and insights
The target audience was law firms, but the message is applicable to other industries and sectors. The webinar was recorded, and it is now openly available. (Keep going for links to the entire webinar and to specific subtopics for shorter viewing time.)
As economic activity begins to ramp up again, the timing is even better now for these tips.
Highlights from client retention webinar
If client retention and growth are priorities in your organization, we recommend a review of the webinar recording to take advantage of the expertise and insights of Barry Solomon from Foundation Software and Merrell Moorhead of LAC Group. Meanwhile, surfing the top of the wave, the following are highlights with links that go directly to the relevant section of the recording.
Know your clients
Intelligence expert Merrell Moorhead discussed the importance of viewing your entire landscape, categorized in three areas:
- Legal service landscape
- Competitive landscape
- Current macro landscape
Neglecting any one of them, even if you do one or two of them well, results in a less helpful and complete picture.
Develop a competitive intelligence strategy
Competitive and market intelligence efforts will be most successful with these imperatives:
- Target priorities
- Connect to opportunities
- Commit to deepening key client relationships
- Navigate the market landscape of those key clients
Adhere to best practices
As you develop and adjust your CI strategy, be sure to follow best practices:
- Align with priorities
- Focus on specific, relevant answers over data dumps
- Incorporate internal firm intelligence for added context
- Build a feedback loop for continuing improvement
Follow the intelligence checklist
Merrell ended with an intelligence checklist of six essential questions, covering issues like the client’s market dynamics, the firm’s growth and revenue priorities, and getting intelligence into the right hands. If the answer for any question is no, identify the obstacles and how to remove them. If you don’t know the answer, find it or create a fix. And if the answer is yes, continue the good work while assessing room for improvement and new ideas.
Marry internal data with external intelligence
Without a 360-degree view of your clients and their operating environment, one that combines internal data and knowledge with external intelligence and current awareness, you could be missing out on opportunities that your competitors are winning or creating. From market intelligence to time and billing data, most businesses have access to enormous amounts of valuable information that can lead to new ways to add services and value. Often it’s the connections between these sources and the context they provide that reveal the insights and opportunities.
The difference between weak and strong client relationships
With strong relationships, existing clients deliver recurring revenue at a higher profit margin, along with the opportunity for referrals, testimonials, cross-selling and upselling. When weak, the door opens to competitor poaching and potential losses in revenue and goodwill.
Strong client relationship
- Generates recurring revenue
- Contributes more to profits through lower sales and marketing costs
- Presents opportunities for referrals, cross-selling and upselling
Weak client relationship
- Opens the door to competitors
- Damages goodwill
- Leads to lost revenue opportunities
- Prompts bad word-of-mouth or no word-of-mouth marketing potential
In general, businesses and law firms have both kinds of relationships. CRM (customer relationship management) systems were supposed to take care of everything, but often they’re poorly implemented and utilized.
The biggest mistake is when businesses view them from a “what’s in it for us” angle instead of “what can we do” to add value to them, the customer. That leads to another piece of advice for pandemic recovery and resilience:
Use your CRM system to find new ways to add value to clients, rather than a glorified contact management system.
Recovery depends on customers
The financial strength and resilience of any business ultimately boils down to two actions:
- Managing and reducing costs
- Maintaining and growing revenue
Most of the cost reduction and spend management options have been and are being implemented. As for revenue, the current business climate may hinder your ability to hang onto a client or grow client revenue significantly. However, the economy will never hinder your ability to help and nurture a client. In doing so, your business will remain highly regarded and top-of-mind when an opportunity does come along.
- Webinar recording in its entirety (registration required)