Survey: Legal Tech Startups lack Go-to-Market Know-How

The glaring absence of the legal tech industry’s strategic approach to sales, marketing and business development was among the key findings of a new survey of over 100 C-suite and sales and marketing executives at U.S.-based legal technology companies.

An overwhelming 97% of respondents to a survey commissioned by Baretz+Brunelle, a strategic communications and digital marketing agency, feel that the legal tech industry has no firm grasp of go-to-market strategy, or, at best, has a scattered one. What’s more striking is that fewer than half of survey respondents have a clear understanding of how profitable their practice areas or products really are.

“The findings of this report are a real eye-opener — it is surprising how many legal tech companies lack a formal go-to-market strategy,” said Spencer Baretz, founding partner of Baretz+Brunelle.

“One of the most challenging tasks for legal tech firms is carefully defining what their respective market opportunities are, and then crafting specific plans to execute on them. This report confirms what we’ve suspected for some time: many in legal tech are struggling with the three essential components of any go-to-market strategy: what to sell, how to sell it and who to sell to.”

The results also demonstrated a widespread lack of consensus within legal tech firms on two key aspects of their business: messaging to the market and allocating business development resources. On messaging, more than half of respondents felt some level of disconnect between sales and marketing in their organization. Meanwhile, other questions revealed that many respondents do not take strategic approaches to budgeting or time management.

Careful go-to-market planning makes all the difference in getting legal tech companies to the next level, says David Perla, the former president of Bloomberg BNA Legal Division/Bloomberg Law and the co-founder and former co-CEO of Pangea3.

“A thoughtful go-to-market plan and program is ultimately what separates great companies from great products,” Perla said.

“Creating that requires understanding all of the various client types, and the buyers and influencers at those clients – and staying in constant communication with all of them. Ultimately, winning companies get there by learning how to focus on, and prioritize among, the clients that derive the most value from those companies’ products and services.”

The full report, which includes valuable commentary from several legal tech visionaries, is available for download here.