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HomeHosting CompanyThe complex purchasing process (Part I)

The complex purchasing process (Part I)

legal tech merger legal technology merge combineIn February, Richard Tromans published a great article on why selling legal technology is so difficult.

According to Richard, there are several reasons, including the challenge of billing hours in law firms. Technology that makes lawyers more productive doesn’t translate into more bills - and in fact, they may just as likely do the opposite. Richard continues to share a number of other issues, including the question, “Who are you actually selling to?”

The reality is that whether it’s a law firm or a law firm looking to buy a solution, the buying process is as complex on the inside as it is on the outside as a sales representative selling legal technology.

Legal technology is a challenge, as many stakeholders are involved: procurement, IT, an evaluation committee, management, end users - and others who have a stake in the outcome, including those who feel they may be adversely affected by the change. of a success. solution. It’s a challenge for buyers and sellers, but let’s look at it from a buyer’s perspective.

Keys to Success

There are three keys to success in the complex buying cycle: stakeholder alignment, executive leadership support, and change management. In this tranche, we will work by aligning stakeholders and supporting executive management.

Alignment of stakeholders

When working on stakeholder alignment, it’s important to first map out all the stakeholders that are affected to buy a potential new solution. Who could accept the new solution? Who could resist them? What could motivate their behavior and how could each stakeholder be persuaded?

This is a quick section that can help eliminate problems with each stakeholder, and can also help you align your organization to support a new solution and the resulting beneficial changes. It is important for each stakeholder to assess their needs from a tactical, strategic, political and personal perspective.

Tactical issues. How does the proposed solution affect the daily impact of a stakeholder over the course of a year? Does the solution help them achieve their goals for the year? Does it make them difficult? Does it fundamentally change them? Understanding the impact of a tactical solution is important. If you can help someone understand how a proposed solution could help them achieve one of their performance goals, this is a great gain.

Strategic issues. How does the proposed solution influence the future of an interested party? Does it help them solve a long-term problem or does it help them achieve long-term goals? For example, if a department head knows that he or she can’t hire more staff in the next few years, does your solution help keep his or her department running efficiently so that he or she can continue to provide quality work?

Often, a strategic issue at one level in an organization is a tactical issue above the management chain. More on that later.

Political issues. As you work with stakeholders in the organization, the political aspects of this process can come into play, especially at higher levels. Politics is not necessarily bad, but it is a reality in most organizations and should be taken into account in this process. Will this solution help advance someone’s career? Is their risk negative if this implementation fails? These are very important questions, especially for someone who will have a significant role as an economic buyer or implementer.

Personal problems. Stakeholders are people with emotions, feelings and lives outside of work. If a new solution will make it harder for them to work or make them miss their children’s football matches, it will often lead an interested party to a solution. End-users are not usually the economic buyer or end-maker for a product, but an easy-to-use, time-saving interface will often earn many basic points for a new solution. Something easy to use that makes their lives easier (including access to a home system) can be great for gaining acceptance.

Executive leadership support

Leadership support can be difficult. Honestly, projects that are run from top to bottom are more likely to succeed. For those who do not have leadership support, finding a way to align with leadership goals will go a long way. But how do you do that? If you map all stakeholders and work through the stakeholder alignment section above, it helps to give you more visibility and understanding of the big picture and how to apply for executive sponsorship.

Here’s a quick example for a law department. We have just gone through a pandemic, and hybrid work arrangements are likely to be a more permanent aspect of the lives of many legal professionals in the future. With that in mind, as a legal practitioner, going to the office to network and find the contracts you need to do your job may no longer be an option. a central contract repository hosted in a Lifecycle Management Contract could be helpful. But the reality is that the executive will not really care about your problem. By working through the stakeholder alignment section, you may be able to demonstrate that, if this solution is adopted, your vice president of sales can know when to renew contracts. Or maybe your CEO can understand the liability for force majeure issues if your company has significant operations in Ukraine. There may be a strategic initiative around ESG in your organization. Positioning how a contract lifecycle management product will help manage supplier ESG impact or calculate necessary disclosures could help ensure executive support. By positioning solutions more strategically, you are more likely to successfully align a solution with executive management.

For law firms, the challenge is a little harder given the issues Richard Tromans mentioned, such as the billing time issue. Within a law firm, solutions may be needed to improve the prospects of acquiring new clients, maintaining client satisfaction, or being competitive with colleagues. Other opportunities may include reducing the risk of data breach, supporting a lower cost structure for a firm if that firm is considering its long-term real estate footprint, or a staffing model that allows qualified lawyers to be employed in a firm. area with lower costs of the country.

Aligning stakeholders and providing support for executive management are incredibly important steps in the process of implementing a successful solution. As a buyer of legal solutions, working with and using competent sales managers from vendors can really help in this process. A good technology solution provider will have great people who can help you navigate these complex buying processes.

Next month, I will focus on change management and the successful implementation of a solution.


Ken Crutchfield heads the ballKen Crutchfield is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory US, a leading provider of information, business intelligence, regulatory and legal workflow solutions. Ken has over three decades of experience as a leader in IT and software solutions in various industries. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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