Whilst many businesses are now leveraging big data for management reporting, the real innovators are looking at how data can be used to drive revenue growth and improve marketing effectiveness.
Analytics solutions can be deployed across the entire organisation, but in the business development department, big data really comes into its own.
Most marketing efforts within law firms focus solely on the Practice Management System, extracting data about existing or prior clients. But what about before a client becomes a ‘client’? How is data about prospects and web visitors tied into existing client information?
Integrating data from business development activities such as email marketing campaigns with PMS information can deliver a holistic view of marketing campaigns; from pressing the ‘send’ button through to billing clients.
We were recently doing some planning about how big data can benefit marketing activities within legal firms and came up with a number of ways that big data can be employed for revenue generation. Below are some examples of both where our clients are already using analytics and future plans for big data within their law firm.
Using big data throughout the marketing lifecycle
Firms are now recognising that data within the PMS system alone is not enough for developing a healthy pipeline, but often the two sets of data (pre-PMS and post-PMS) are kept separate whereas analytics can unify this information.
- Google analytics data can be extracted and combined with existing CRM data to see if any particular web events prompted client action.
- Email campaigns can be closely monitored throughout their lifecycle, right through to billing and ongoing customer relationship analytics.
- LinkedIn analytics can be extracted to drive greater insights about prospects and how they are connected across your organisation.
- Social media sentiment can be monitored to understand what your customers are saying about you, and what factors (posting frequency/type) result in the most interactions or followers.
- Competitor data can be analysed; across news items, web feeds and social media streams in order to understand how other firms are going to market and performing in comparison with your organisation.
Working Within the System
Once a customer or prospect is present within your CRM or PMS system, then it is critical to understand how they engage with your marketing activities and interact with your firm as a whole.
- Analytics can be used to run reports on what fields within your CRM or Practice Management Systems have not been completed or filled in to drive data best practice behaviour.
- CRM and PMS databases can now be linked for organisation-wide visibility.
- The efficacy of marketing campaigns can now be tracked to understand what delivers the most ROI, what resonates the most and what results in the most web traffic.
- Different marketing tools can be linked together to create a single version of the [marketing] truth – spanning lead generation applications, call data, web traffic and CRM systems.
- Gamification can be easily delivered to the sales force by creating visual and real-time dashboards of revenue performance to drive specific behaviours across your teams.
Managing the Existing Client Base
Revenue generation activities shouldn’t just be targeted at prospects and non-customers, business development analytics should be focused on existing clients and identifying areas to deliver more value to customers who are already purchasing from you.
- Analytics tools can help you to create client portfolio heatmaps – quickly highlighting what clients purchase and don’t purchase from you by extracting data from the PMS platform.
- By understanding where your clients are coming from, both in terms of demographics and sources of business, you can more effectively target marketing and sales activities. If the data shows that most of your business comes from referrals from other clients, then your email marketing campaigns may not be delivering worthwhile returns on investment to justify their cost.
- Uncover trends about why clients leave your firm; what activities take place prior to a client leaving? Is there a series of steps recorded in your PMS system that could point to a support issue across your firm?
- Better understand churn rates; how often clients leave your practice, how long they are clients for and the ratio of new to existing to lost clients, in order to better understand your business position.
The difference with many business analytics is that reporting can be done in real-time, which is critical for planning and executing marketing campaigns when time is of the essence. Being able to quickly pull a report to understand who has opened your recent e-newsletter, then compare it against the number of new followers on LinkedIn versus how your firm is performing for overall social media followers that month, means you can change course on the fly depending on which marketing activity has proven most effective.
We know there must be many more ways that the firms we work with are starting to deploy analytics tools to their marketing functions – we’d love to hear of any suggestions!
To find out more about C24’s business analytics tool, Bi24, and how we work with law firms to deliver tailored analytics solutions then please visit us online at http://www.c24.co.uk/business-intelligence-3/