Lawyers, don’t miss out on weak signals!

20 February 2023 | Digitization

But what exactly are weak signals? They were first defined in 1975 by management specialist Igor Ansoff as “fragmentary, rapidly obsolete and largely anticipatory information, which would enable the company identifying them to predict future major transformations in its economic environment”.
In other words, it’s a set of information which, taken in isolation, is of no interest, but which, when linked to a particular context, can be used to predict an event, anticipate it and integrate it into your strategy.

Weak signals: a strong impact on your business

Weak signals can be detected in every department of a law firm, but their systemic industrialization as part of business development is a winning bet for wealth creation.
The great difficulty of this exercise lies in the choice of information to be monitored and analyzed. In a world marked by the proliferation of information, how do you select the relevant information and create a predictive analysis routine? Because, as a lawyer, you can’t afford to constantly scrutinize what’s going on in your ecosystem.
In addition to the industrialization of signal research and analysis, the speed with which information circulates is crucial to its predictivity and the implementation of a strategy. For example, a law firm in which information is transparent and circulates quickly will always capture more information than a firm with little inclination to communicate. By multiplying interactions between associates, information tends to become viral and easily analyzed. A direct consequence of this management style is a rapid increase in business flows and revenue.
In short, to take full advantage of weak signals, law firms must :

  • Be able to detect and capture information systematically
  • Be able to analyze information and link it to a business development strategy
  • Circulate information rapidly within the firm

Equip yourself to detect and decipher weak signals

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, capturing and analyzing weak signals must not be to the detriment of your business. There are tools on the market to help you with this task.
The easiest way to get started, even before investing in Big Data analysis tools, is to use a data-driven CRM that will give you the right information at the right time. In particular, it should be able to automatically retrieve news from your contacts, whether customers or prospects, as well as from their company. But beware of the pitfall of receiving an amount of information that can’t be analyzed: the information must be relevant to you!
Let’s take an example: as an M&A lawyer, you’re unlikely to be interested in news about one of your clients’ upcoming sales webinars, whereas being alerted to their plans to set up a factory in China is of paramount importance to you.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can also be a great help in detecting weak signals. Still using a CRM, it is possible to detect, for example, the best days and times to contact a customer or prospect. This type of weak signal is extremely useful for starting a conversation with someone who’s willing to listen.
Finally, we have seen that the speed at which information circulates has a major influence on the predictive quality of weak signals. Here too, your CRM can prove critical. For information to circulate quickly, you need to be informed in real time of what’s going on in your ecosystem. You need to be able to rely on a system that automatically alerts you to information that requires action on your part.
As you can see, there are plenty of tricks you can use to capture and analyze weak signals, which can be a real economic boon for you. The key is to be equipped to decipher them…

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