Andrew Cooke

I’m an in-house lawyer. Here’s what I actually want from tech vendors.

Technology
November 29, 2022

When I look back across the 50+ pitches we've taken in the last year from various tech vendors, all the pitches that failed had common elements. 

Most of the time, the vendors sold features, or they didn’t undertake a discovery of needs - not even a deep dive into the simple things, like whether Travelperk uses Office or GSuite. 

The products we use or I've loved to use in the past succeeded because the vendor demonstrated a deep interest in the customer experience, and confidence in expressing the problem their product solved.

If you’re a tech vendor trying to sell to in-house lawyers, you don’t need to ‘sell harder’ or find ways to frame the product differently. Here’s what you need to do instead.

1. Sell your ‘why’ - not your features

As Simon Sinek puts it, "people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it". 

People buy a company’s ‘why’ because it speaks to them as a consumer. What message are you trying to get across with your product? What does it solve for the end user? Why is it demonstrably better than the other options out there?

Don't sell features - drill into the end user’s needs, tell us why you do what you do, and express care in your sales process.

Our colleagues self-served 8000 documents in Juro ... if we're going to strip out existing tech, your solution has to be considerably better to justify that transition

2. Have a realistic view of the field before you start the game

Most lawyers don’t receive great process or workflow analysis training in private practice; tech is something most lawyers use, rather than how most lawyers work. 

My experience of mentorship is that some lawyers end up saddled with a false belief that they have to be perfect. There’s a perception that 'move fast and break things' and 'ask forgiveness not permission' are reckless behaviours, reserved only for sales and product teams. 

These are the features of the market you're addressing as a tech vendor selling to lawyers. It’s on you to tailor your pitch accordingly - instead of blaming your customer for not buying what you're selling.

Want to get involved in a mentorship scheme exclusively for in-house lawyers and legal ops teams? Join our community.

3. Take time to understand the prospect 

This involves starting with the basics, and understanding the following questions:

Does the prospect’s tech stack actually work with the product you're selling? 

Pitching features for Word and Teams to companies that don't use those platforms is a really frustrating experience for us. 

We’ve experienced this plenty of times at TravelPerk, where despite the legal team mentioning we don’t use Word, for example, the vendor still pitched us Word features. It’s the best way to guarantee disengagement from your prospect.

Does the prospect have an alternative solution in place?

We regularly get vendors pitching us on solutions to automate NDAs. Our colleagues outside of legal self-served 8000 documents in Juro since March 2022. 

As vendors, you need to recognise that if we're going to strip out existing tech and replace it with yours, your solution has to be considerably better to justify that transition. 

contract-automation-juro
Would your business like to agree and manage routine contracts at scale? Get in touch.

4. Recognise your customer is rational

It’s easy to say that a tougher crowd needs a harder push, that vendors need to be a bit more ruthless when selling to lawyers - but it’s also misinformed. 

When you’re in a sales conversation with a legal prospect, everyone in the conversation is a rational actor.

Referring to the lawyer as a ‘tough crowd’ implies that lawyers are being unreasonable. They're not being unreasonable, they're being rational - vendors just have to understand the motivators driving their decisions.

If you want your pitch to be successful, don’t project a sense of irrationality onto your potential buyers, because it’ll alienate your audience.

The trust that vendors build with the prospect will also result in trust between the prospect and their internal stakeholders, which makes it easier for legal to get buy-in

5. Build an atmosphere of trust

If we think about how legal tech gets sold, it involves outreach from your sales team, who try to get lawyers on a demo call as soon as possible. 

This isn’t the only conversation your sales team is having - reps are running demos upon demos, several times a day. Something important to consider in this environment is how you’re planning to establish an atmosphere of trust with each prospect.

This can be as simple as checking in regularly with your prospect throughout the sales cycle to make sure their needs are being met, and making sure you’re both aligned on what the product can do for the customer. 

You can also bring implementation teams into the sales conversation earlier, to help build an impression of control and security. 

Lawyers can be hesitant to adopt new tech because there’s risk involved in buying a new solution, sinking time and money into implementation, only to get minimal adoption of that tool. How can you, as the vendor, help mitigate these risks? 

How are you going to build an atmosphere of trust that enables lawyers to share their needs and concerns, and be honest about what they want?

The trust that vendors build with the prospect will also result in trust between the prospect and their internal stakeholders, which makes it easier for legal to get buy-in. 

6. Get legal into the product

Showing the world of the possible by getting people into the product is always going to be far more effective than just explaining the world of the probable. 

In each sales cycle, there are two sells taking place: the vendor’s sell to me, and my sell internally to people who want to use the product. Getting into the product is the best way to strengthen both. 

We did this with Juro; we arranged a demo with the wider legal and sales teams at TravelPerk, so they could understand how to agree and manage NDAs in the platform. Our stakeholders understood the value, so getting buy-in was easier - my sell was easier. And Juro’s sell to TravelPerk was also easier - the business understood how beneficial this would be.

When we implemented Juro, we had colleagues approaching us asking if they could also start using it for their routine contracts; so opportunities for expansion and cross-selling also became clear. 

Don’t make the sales cycle difficult for yourself; getting your prospects in the product you’re trying to sell, sooner rather than later, can make all the difference.

Selling to time-crunched in-house lawyers doesn’t require a different mindset or a ‘harder push’. Instead, focus on what you can do to deliver the most value to your target audience

Make your messaging consistent

Your sales conversations need to reflect the messaging you use across the wider business - it’s invaluable, especially if you’re reaching out to a prospect that’s already sold on the business’ vision and mission. 

For example, we're part of a community at Juro, which is one of the best things about being connected to Juro as a product. 

Juro really understands the power of the community and encourages in-house legal teams to come together, share knowledge and help each other out. The messaging around community feels consistent with Juro’s mission. 

Receiving sales outreach that is disjointed from the business’ mission can push lawyers away from the positive response you’re hoping for. 

Selling to time-crunched in-house lawyers doesn’t need to be difficult, and doesn’t require a different mindset or a ‘harder push’. Instead, focus on what you can do to deliver the most value to your target audience, and the results will speak for themselves.

Interested in learning more about what Juro can do for your routine contracts? Get in touch below.

Andrew Cooke is the General Counsel at TravelPerk

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