Qualified Leads in Law Firm Business Development: Who, What, and Why They Should Be Your Best Friends in 2018

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Webinars and the data they produce are an amazing, facile source of information directing you to qualified leads...

Webinars are great ways to maintain connections and educate both clients and prospects on business and legal issues of interest and concern to them. They also happen to be one of the best ways for business development managers and partners within your firm to identify and develop qualified leads.

Think of it this way. Marketing with a capital M is the act of speaking to a roomful of business people, some, perhaps, who have just wandered in for the free Wi-Fi and coffee. (This is what partners do every time they share their expertise with a broad audience.) Business development is the act of striking up a subsequent conversation with that person in the back of the room who says, “Can you repeat that?” That’s the essence of a marketing qualified lead, or MQL - and it is typically done in collaboration between business development managers, who can help identify the lead, and partners, who should conduct the follow-up.

Webinars and the data they produce are an amazing, facile source of information directing you to qualified leads. You just have to know what to look for and commit to thoughtfully reviewing the data from each and every webinar you host, especially if you want to hone and refine your message and approach over time. 

Frankly, every publisher (that’s what webinar hosts are) should be doing that. If not, you might as well just leave flyers and access codes out in the United Club frequent-flyer lounge.

Here are some examples:

  1. Frequent Flyers. Those who have attended more than one webinar in the last 12 months are telling you they trust you as a source of information.
  2. Current Clients. You might accept as a given that current clients would attend. Don’t. What this tells you is that there is an issue on their minds that your team may not be addressing. This is vital information deserving of immediate follow-up (more on that in my follow-on column). 
  3. Evangelists. Did any registrants or attendees forward your webinar invitation? If so, this is strong evidence that they trust your counsel on the topic and are willing to put their personal brand behind yours. 
  4. Finishers. Who stayed online for the full webinar? Busy in-house counsel make quick decisions on whether a presentation or content is useful. Make a note of finishers.
  5. Poll Takers, Questioners, Openers. Who participated in the pre-webinar poll? Who asked questions during the presentation? Who opened the post-program email containing your slides? This is vital data that will help your BD team narrow down its targets.
  6. Post-Program Talkers. Often an attendee will privately email a presenter, saying they found the information helpful. Make sure you get this information from your attorney-presenter, and strategize with them on the best follow-up. It shouldn’t just be a reply saying “thanks.”
  7. Social Connectors. This is the mother lode of presentation ore. Be sure to engage with your attorneys to learn who has connected with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., in the two weeks following the webinar.

The most important step? Integrate this data. Who fulfilled two criteria? Who fulfilled three or more? Take the time to crosscut your metrics to determine the most fertile prospects. Then plan a customized outreach. More on that in my next post.

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[Samantha McKenna is a Regional Vice President, Sales at ON24Connect with her LinkedIn to learn how webinars can supercharge your firm's content efforts.]

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