Think of their behavior at this stage as an attempt to communicate a problem in search of a solution...
By considering the digital body language of your audience – readers, webinar attendees, email recipients, etc. – you’re able to develop a deep understanding of their concerns, gauge their interest in your solutions, and ultimately know when to make the first steps in the relationship that will lead to client acquisition.
In this third part of my series on digital body language, we review the Engagement stage of the Sales / BD funnel: how data indicates when your audience has begun to engage with your firm, and what to do to encourage people to move into action and hire you.
At this point, your prospect begins to engage with you – they start asking questions during your webinars, for example, and sign up for automatic delivery of your content.
They might even email to tell you about their problems, opening the door for you to propose solutions. An engaged audience begins to trust your insight and perspective, might even start comparing your answers to the guidance they’re getting from other service providers.
It’s important to remember that the stages of the BD funnel are ‘squishy:’ prospects and clients move between them – from awareness to interest to engagement then back to awareness before taking action, for example – based on their current legal needs, their knowledge of the firm and its capabilities, market developments, and more.
...they've spent enough time with your firm to suspect you might hold the solution they need.
This is particularly relevant once prospective clients begin to engage with you.
They’re interested in learning what your firm brings to the table even though they don’t have, at this stage of the relationship, a broad understanding of your skills and experience. Think of their behavior at this stage, as they interact more meaningfully with your digital content, as an attempt to communicate a problem in search of a solution.
In fact, that's exactly what your audiece is doing: at this stage, they've spent enough time with your firm to suspect you might hold the solution they need. This provides you with an opportunity to educate them on the full range of your practice, and the solutions you can provide in other areas where they might need assistance. Engagement goes both ways.
Which ‘Engagement Data’ Is Available?
So what does digital body language look like when your audience has begun to engage with you?
- Responses to surveys, webinar evaluations, and the like
- Questions and requests for clarification in webinars and presentations
- Follow-up emails seeking out greater detail on matters covered in white papers and alerts
- Return visits to white papers, alerts, archived webinars now available online on demand
In short, you are looking for behaviors/data points that show your audience trying to find answers to their questions among your widely available thought leadership.
Once you start gathering this data you’ll want to make a habit of sharing the relevant parts with anyone in the firm who could benefit, like BD managers, client relationship partners, and practice leaders. There’s great value in knowing, for example, that in-house lawyers at a target of the IP practice have begun to engage with the antitrust lawyers in the firm, so you want to make sure that data is getting to the right people.
What Can Be Learned From the Data?
When your audience begins to actively engage with your firm, you gain a detailed perspective on their interests and concerns and that in turn gives you a richer understanding of their needs and what they’re doing with your thought leadership. For example:
- The division head at a potential client who signed up for client alerts from three practices: what are they reading? Who are they sharing it with?
- The in-house lawyer at a newly acquired client that hired you to do cybersecurity work, who emailed the speaker from your most recent employment law webinar to ask a question about an employee who stole trade secrets and other company data.
- The general counsel at a 40-year client who subscribed to your IP newsletter then proceeded to share it widely among her staff.
What Does the Data Say About Encouraging People to Take Action?
At this point, the data allows you to ‘connect the dots with those who are engaging with your firm. You can begin to develop individual profiles of target companies and individuals, what they’re reading, what issues are top of mind, how they like to access your thought leadership. Track that information and share it throughout the firm to maximize its value.
Pay special attention to what existing clients are doing, especially new clients who don’t yet appreciate the full scope of your services and as such offer opportunities to help them resolve issues while educating them on your strengths:
And find ways to continue the engagement with everyone who engages with you. Some ideas to consider to establish or enhance a relationship:
- Contact clients to offer one-on-one training when you notice an uptick from their company in downloads and shares of articles on a particular topic.
- Send out emails from the relevant practice leaders to new subscribers to thank them subscribing and to offer assistance or additional insight on related topics.
- After webinars and presentations, have speakers follow up personally with the people who asked questions to make sure the answers were helpful.
What are you doing to engage with the people who have begun to engage with you? I’d love to hear about it.
More in this series:
- What is Digital Body Language and What Does It Mean for Law Firms?
- Digital Body Language and the Sales/BD Funnel – What Your Data Tells You About Audience Awareness
- Is Your Audience Interested? Their Digital Body Language Will Tell You
Katie O'Rourke is Regional Vice President, Sales, at ON24. Connect with her on LinkedIn; follow for her latest writing on JD Supra.