Clients are demanding more from law firms than ever before, from lower rates to better and faster proposal generation. According to the QorusDocs 2021 Proposal Management Benchmark Study, survey respondents witnessed an increase in requests for proposals (RFPs) between 2020 and 2021, with a median increase of 33%. Unfortunately, many marketing and business development teams had to lay off or furlough staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it even more challenging for them to address this increase in RFPs along with their other daily tasks.
During the 2022 Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Annual Conference, Intapp hosted the session “A Winning Pair: Enhance Your Pitches and Proposals with AI” to discuss how AI-powered technology can save marketing and business development professionals time and effort by reducing data silos, driving greater automation of RFP responses, and quickly producing better-informed pitches.
When asked about the challenges their business development teams face, the QorusDocs survey respondents shared a common theme across their answers: RFP content creation.
“[It’s difficult] to catch [RFP] content in a way that you can recycle and push into many different forums,” explained Cat Wirth, Global Operations Director for Business Development, Marketing, and Communications at Baker McKenzie. To avoid providing clients with inaccurate or unhelpful information, many professionals build RFP responses from scratch — an extremely time-consuming process.
In addition to capturing and recycling content, many marketing and business development professionals struggle with locating content. “[Early in my career,] we kept [pitch] materials in a closet,” recalled Deborah Farone, Strategic Marketing Advisor and Founder at Farone Advisors. “[Now] we have document management systems, but in many ways [the process] really hasn’t progressed. We still have to look at a very basic database [and] figure out: ‘What’s the pitch? What’s the industry? Which partners are involved?’”
Without advanced technology to help manage data and prevent data silos, some partners give up trying to locate the information they need and end up creating pitches from scratch.
“Firms realized we need better systems,” said Wirth. “We need to be able to pull [data] together faster, especially as we’re doing more pitches and getting more RFPs [and] mid-assignment requests from clients.”
Rapid adoption of technology
Once the pandemic hit, firms needed new ways of connecting their remote and hybrid teams with both their clients and one another, leading to a rapid adoption of communication platforms.
“Before the pandemic, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, [and other] methods of communication were not critical parts of our day-to-day working, but [now] they’ve become absolutely fundamental to what we do,” said Ray Meiring, Co-Founder and CEO of QorusDocs. “We’ve become very dependent on that technology to stay effective and to stay connected.”
In addition to communication systems, some firms invested in AI-powered technology to further support their marketing and business development professionals with content creation and RFP responses. “An RFP [contains] a ton of questions [and] would traditionally take hours to respond to,” explained Meiring. “AI [can] read questions [and] provide answers … We’re receiving recommendations from AI to help us build better documents.”
Although firms may worry about the costs associated with AI-powered technology, these tools can save law firms a significant sum each year. The QorusDocs survey found that firms, on average, fail to complete 20% of RFPs, which translates to a median annual lost revenue of $725,000. With the right technology in place, marketing and business development teams can take on more and complete a higher percentage of RFPs, thereby increasing overall profitability.
However, before investing in any AI-powered software, Wirth and Meiring stressed the importance of ensuring that the software can integrate with any legacy systems your firm may have. Professionals will be more inclined to adopt new technology if it integrates with the software they’re already familiar with and if the learning curve is less steep.
Intapp recently formed a strategic partnership with QorusDocs to provide law firms with an integrated and streamlined process for planning pitches and responding to RFPs. By combining the power of DealCloud and QorusDocs, you can pull information from your firm’s collective intelligence — including your firm’s directory, HR, and finance systems — to quickly produce standout pitches, proposals, and RFPs. You can also easily switch from working within the Intapp environment to Microsoft Office applications via an inherent Microsoft 365 integration.
Clear data and well-defined processes
Although AI-powered software can greatly help firms with data silos and proposal generation, firms can’t expect it to solve their problems overnight. The only way the new technology will work is if firms refine their data collection and risk analysis processes before implementing the software.
“That old adage, ‘Garbage in, garbage out,’ 100% applies to just about any technology,” explained Meiring. “If the content and the processes are not well defined and implemented upfront, you’re going to continue to see poor performance of that content.”
Farone added: “You need to get your systems in place and get your data together … before you think of the AI issue.” Without clean data, conflict checks, and risk analysis processes in place, AI can’t successfully analyze, manage, or provide insights on incoming client information.
To create better marketing and business development strategies and processes, Farone advised collecting data around your clients, industry, and competitors and examining your own firm’s pain points. “Map [your pitch plan] out on a piece of paper and really think about the points that are painful for you as a marketer, your lawyers, or maybe for a client,” Farone said.
Once you understand the needs of your firm and clients, you can successfully implement the processes and technology that will address those issues.
Schedule a demo to learn how the combined power of DealCloud and QorusDocs can help your firm improve proposal generation and RFP responses.