Scrolling through Linkedin and Indeed you’ll find legal-tech companies hiring for business development representatives with job descriptions including outreach via email and LinkedIn, qualification of prospects, demos, and possibly attending conferences. The last one is a point of contention for many founders; whether to attend industry conferences, and if so, who should attend? Deciding whether to attend a conference yourself as the founder is one thing, but deciding to send your business development team to a conference, or to hire reps to go to conferences is another.
Questions to ask when determining whether attending a conference is worth it (for legal-tech companies):
- Company Type: We can over generalize and say there are 5 possible markets any legal-tech company targets - big law, small(er) law firms, in-house legal departments, corporates without a legal department, or consumers. Is the company type attending your target market?
- Practice Area: Most legal-tech products either see one practice area as faster adopters of their product, or it only serves one practice area. E.g. tools specifically for M&A, or minute books, or e-discovery. Niche conferences or seminars specific to a practice area or have the advantage of being less commercialized with less sponsors at them. They often use one of the following words; Section/divisions of the Bar, association, council, E.g. Think of events like ‘Estate planning council of Florida’, or ‘Association of Business Trial Lawyers’, or ‘Woman’s Law Association of Ontario”.
- Seniority of attendees: This really depends on whether you’re after general brand exposure, or actually coming back to the office having met the people who would see a demo of your product. If you’re targeting small law firms then any conference where they attend will be okay. But if you’re targeting big law firms then you can’t just look for conferences the lawyers or paralegals attend, you should look more for conferences for roles like legal operations, technology purchasers, legal innovation, etc.
- Your ‘Cool’ factor: I find some of those the most popular conferences have the most vendors at them, meaning your sponsorship stands out less. My definition of popular is biased, but that’s the point. The conferences that are popular among lawyers often aren’t well known to legal-tech vendors, and vise versa. The most productive conferences are either somewhat exclusive, or surprisingly ones that are almost poorly marketed and not well known but part of a niche community. It’s easier to stand-out when you go somewhere where no one has heard the word legal-tech. And you feel a lot ‘cooler’!
- Location: If you want to go to another country, remember there are usually grants that will pay for the companies travel for trade missions / exporting!
There are so many events with lawyers at them with no vendors and low sponsorship prices, then there are some conferences with 20+ vendors at them!
Practice Specific Events where there won’t be Many Vendors
For Immigration Attorneys
For M&A Professionals
For Government Lawyers
For Business Lawyers:
Goals at a conferences - will your team accomplish these?
- Cost of flights + conference + hotel + sponsorship (optional) for all reps.
- Number of leads generated.
- Life time value of those leads if you convert them, AKA how big of companies are they?
- Value of industry education for your reps. AKA will my team be my team long enough for this education to benefit the company?
Someone in VC or revenue ops should be able to give you a formula to calculate the CAC vs. LTV of this all! Maybe David Skok?
Fractional Business Development Services
Fractional business development services involve hiring a team of professionals who work on a contract basis to attend conferences for you. Lumose will attend a conference for you and speak to attendees about your product, make a list of the contacts with key details like their pain point, notes on the conversation, and write a industry insight report for your product. The industry insight report includes potential use cases discovered, potential target markets, common themes talked about at the conference, what other conferences the same attendees are attending in the future. The goal is to give a founder the insight and leads they would have gained had the founder attended the conference themselves, while paying less than they would to attend the conference, saving the time it takes to attend, and having the industry insight well documented for future reference when strategizing your product roadmap, next pivot, or where to allocate your marketing budget.
Let us know which conference you’re attending in 2023 and what you want to learn about your target market here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Download prices for attending conferences on a contract basis here.
These are concepts that junior business development reps often won’t pick up at a conference, or if they do pick up on them they might not be communicated back to the people in charge of strategy. If you do like sending junior reps to conferences, take the time to train them on the goal of attending and don’t neglect aspects like industry insight or discovering that a certain practice area is an especially eager user. Alternatively give them a worksheet to fill out at the conference.
Let’s hear which legal events are in the budget for 2023!