Productizing Your Corporate Legal Department’s Services: Internally Marketing Your Solutions

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In my last two blogs, I discussed how your legal department can productize services to become more efficient as well as shared some tips for how to determine the legal needs within your organization. Now that you know the added benefits and understand the legal needs, the natural next step is to determine what legal service “products” to offer, as well as any gaps. However, if nobody knows what these repeatable solutions are, what good are they? This is where creating an internal marketing plan to get the word out about your department’s legal services is critically important. In this blog, we’ll talk about how to do that by answering who, what, when, where, and why.

Who?

When you create your internal plan, the first thing you need to do is understand who you are marketing to. The easiest way to do this is to create some simple “personas.” You can easily do this based on the interviews you conducted as part of your earlier search. You should build a persona for each distinct type of user coming to you – typically this aligns with internal departments. In detailing each persona, you should include the following:

  • Typical day-to-day work of your persona
  • Typical interaction with legal
  • Top of mind issues/challenges
  • Other notes

What?

Next, you will need to decide what you are going to market to these personas (i.e repeatable workflows). Common ones in the legal arena are contract, litigation, HR investigation, and patent workflows. Once you have the workflows applicable to your company identified, detail the features of each workflow. For example, it is automated; has six common template documents, a clause library, and contract status; and leverages existing company technology.

Once you have your personas, workflows, and features, you’re ready to create a positioning document. You should create one document for every problem/solution set (i.e. workflow). This will form the basis of how you share the information with others. The goal of this document is to position your solution in a way that resonates with the internal users. Below is a format that I find helpful to follow and I have inserted an example based on a contract workflow.

PROBLEM: There is a problem in the company today. Contract negotiations are long, cumbersome, and not transparent. This can delay revenue opportunities. In addition, final contracts are difficult to locate and manage.

SOLUTION: The ideal solution to this problem is an easy-to-use process, with some contracts being able to avoid legal review. The solution would allow easy access to status for interested parties and would allow those, or other, interested parties to access the contractual information at a later date.

PRIMARY MESSAGE (SHORT - 1 SENTENCE): The Corporate Legal Department delivers a business-driven model for negotiating and managing contracts that accelerates, not hinders, company growth.

SERVICE DESCRIPTION (2-3 SENTENCES): By leveraging an intake form, employees are directed to a self-service portal for template contracts or put in touch with an attorney for more complex matters. The status of their request, as well as information about all finalized contracts, is displayed in our JIRA system giving users full access to contract status as well as important contractual data of finalized contracts.

HIGHLIGHTS (THESE SHOULD BE PROBLEM-ORIENTED FEATURES):

- Reduces contract turnaround by leveraging templated contracts and clauses

- Allows users access to contract status anytime, anywhere

- No new systems (i.e. leverages existing company tools)

- Etc.

The above will create a lot of different worksheets and information. Since I like to keep things a little simpler, I also create a cliff notes version of this to show the all-up view of your corporate legal department’s services.

Table to help with positioning your legal ops services.

Once you have completed your positioning, don’t be afraid to run the messaging by some of the people you interviewed. You want to make sure that it is clear how legal will be helping them get their work done. I would suggest selecting people who are friendly to your department and who you have a good working relationship with since you are running draft information by them and not a final product.

Where, When, and Why?

Third, you need to think about where, when, and why you are getting the message out. The goal is to get it out wherever your users are, often, and in a way that they like to consume the information. At a minimum, I would suggest doing a launch of the updated services and including information about that launch on:

  • The company wiki page/internal site
  • Any internal ticketing tool
  • A company newsletter (or a company meeting if appropriate)
  • Any onboarding materials/presentations your company does for new hires
  • Or even a “roadshow,” where you present to each department within your organization what services the legal team offers

During any presentation, it is always helpful to inject some fun into the presentation. I have heard of some legal departments doing humorous videos or skits to capture the attention of their employees. Partner with your internal marketing team, as they may have some great suggestions on how you can get the word out.

Finally, don’t forget about post-launch messaging. Though you may see an uptick in users after a launch, some people will have missed the information the first time around or will have forgotten it by the time they get to an issue that they want to bring to legal. To that end, make sure you have a plan for continued marketing. I like to showcase successes in follow-up marketing (e.g. a contract turnaround case study showing the reduced times or some metrics on impact). This information can be shared in an employee newsletter or as a quick email to leaders asking them to share it in their department meetings.

This is quite a robust process and you should expect it will take several weeks, or even months, to complete. You will also likely continue to refine this marketing plan as you address gaps by adding services and gathering feedback. The benefit of going through this process is that it brings clarity to what legal does, brings efficiency by advertising repeatable workflows, and gives everyone in legal visibility into the challenges in the business and how legal addresses those.

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