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Legal Tech GTM: Understanding Your Buyer’s Journey

Legal, like most industries, underwent some dramatic and permanent changes in the way they engage with vendors and the way they prepare to make buying decisions. According to Gartner, a mere 17% of the buyer's time is spent meeting with potential vendors. Instead of working with sales reps to inform themselves on potential solutions, buyers now navigate large portions of the Buyer’s Journey – their path from Awareness through Consideration and finally to a buying Decision – on their own. They become aware of problems or opportunities and embark independently on a path to research and understand the market without ever calling your sales team.

So, what’s a startup to do?

Step 1 is to truly understand your Buyer’s Journey. Only then can you decide where to best deploy your limited resources. Your approach must be to meet the buyers at their point of need, making available the right resources at the right time throughout their journey. The goal in mapping and understanding the Buyer’s Journey is to understand, empathize with, and anticipate the potential needs of a buyer in a way that makes them feel connected to both you and the company. And then to map your sales pipeline and go-to-market activities to their needs.

Mapping the Buyer's Journey for Law Firms

The diagram here outlines my experience as a buyer of enterprise legal technology in three of the largest law firms in the world and aligns with a post-pandemic buying world. Law firm enterprise buyers go through three stages to buy: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. While they often spend the most time in the Awareness and Consideration, where they’re discovering the problem or opportunity and educating themselves on solutions, I always like to start by focusing on selling – the Decision phase.

If you can spot and resolve misalignment in your approach to sales first, you can often un-stick deals that you long thought dead. And once you have a little momentum going, you’ll be better positioned to identify the materials that will best serve the Awareness and Consideration stages.

You must successfully navigate through six distinct phases within the Decision stage to ultimately win the sale:

  • Vendor Engagement
  • Personal Evaluation
  • Engaging Other Stakeholders
  • Internal Requirements Gathering
  • Diligence
  • Negotiation

Here we’ll pull the curtain back on what’s REALLY going on at the law firm during the buying process.

GTM Images-1

 Vendor Engagement

During this phase, the buyer is now ready to begin engaging directly with product and service providers whose offerings have the potential to solve their problem or allow them to take advantage of an opportunity. They may come in as an inbound lead seeking a demo or more information about the product or you may surface them via your prospecting work. It’s likely they’re evaluating more than one vendor at this stage, so you should be prepared to speak about competitive product offerings and how they compare to your product. 

Personal Evaluation

During this phase, the buyer is weighing their own problems against potential solutions and deciding which is their preferred solution. If they previously watched a video or attended a webinar, try to book a personal demo so you can address their specific needs. Depending on the person’s role on the Buying Team (Influencer, Head, or Director), their preference will carry varying weight in the final purchase decision. Influencers are often overruled by more senior members of the Buying Team, who take a broader look at the entire firm or organization’s needs. Your goal, without over-investing, is to ensure they leave this phase of their journey believing what you’re selling is the right solution.

Engaging Other Stakeholders

During this phase, the buyer is engaging other stakeholders within the organization – after all, no one buys enterprise software for an individual! The buyer discusses their findings with other people relevant to the proposed solution. Depending on how convinced they are that a particular solution is the perfect fit, their approaches may range from simply introductory (as in, ‘hey, check this tool out’) to advocating for a specific solution. They may attempt to get these stakeholders to see a demo of your product, may request some additional information to answer new questions that have arisen internally, or abandon the conversation entirely if their overtures are not well received by other stakeholders. It’s critical that you have ready both simple answers and great documentation to support your buyer’s internal efforts to move forward.

Internal Requirements

This one is my favorite phases because it’s a complete black box to even experienced sellers in legal tech. Have you ever had an opportunity moving full-speed-ahead that suddenly seems to take two steps back for no apparent reason? It’s often not an intentional derailment – it’s that your buyer did not understand their own firm’s requirements. In fact, unless you’re working with a CIO or Director who buys regularly, most have no experience with their law firm’s procurement process. And firms don’t always formally document these requirements or make them easy to find. So, during this phase, your buyer is frequently connecting with internal staff they’ve never worked with before who serve functions they don’t totally understand.

Deciding how to best support your buyer during this stage can be tricky. For instance, if you’re selling a pretty straightforward solution that doesn’t collect or store much of the firm’s data, you probably don’t want to suggest an infosec review. You might talk them into a step they’ve already determined wasn’t necessary and slow the deal down. But, if you know exactly who they likely need to engage internally, offer support in the form of, “This is how most firms we work with approach procurement.”


The diligence phase incorporates any activities that the buyer or the buyer’s firm deems necessary to inform their decision-making. They can include requests for information, like your SOC2 report and an information security review, through to pilots, POCs, and technical evaluations. You should also have references at the ready during this stage – existing customers who rave about your product (if you have them yet!). Again, your product, its complexity, and the systems it will eventually touch will dictate how involved or simple diligence is for your deals. The key here is to be ready and have materials and information ready to go.


I hope we’re clear on what’s going on during this phase of the Decision stage. If you’ve made it this far, the decision is largely made – don't screw it up! I won’t say much, because I’ve talked about using incentives in selling to law firms extensively. Generally speaking, no law firm cares about your end of quarter, year, or your special offer. It’s harsh, but true.

Check out some of my past thoughts:

Three Truths About Selling to Legal and Tips for Navigating Them

Understanding the Budget Cycle in Legal Tech Buying with Nikki Shaver and Chris Ford (video)

Stay tuned for more behind the scenes insights!

If you found this helpful, stay tuned for the rest of the story. We’ll work through how you can engage with prospective buyers during the Awareness and Consideration stages. And we identify the Buyer Personas you’re likely to encounter as well as the best timelines for getting deals done. And if you want to dive into the specifics of aligning your sales activities to the Buyer’s Journey, give us a call.


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