Sales in any industry most often depends on finding someone whose business problem can be solved by your solution. As easy as that may seem, there are still quite a few factors that come into play when trying to close that sales deal.
For example, what is the customer’s pain point or business problem, do they even know that they have one? Is your solution the right fit for it? Is the person that you have been dealing with throughout the sales process the one with the purchasing power, or do you have to ‘on-sell’ the product to other decision makers in the company?
Is the potential customer fully aware of the value that the product can bring to their company? Do they understand the full scope of it and have a vision of the organisational and operational processes that may have to change upon usage of the product? So, how do you know who are the right targets to approach to enable a successful sales process? With the latest intellectual property big data tools you can easily identify them.
Although, inherently, IP databases may have been primarily designed for research use, many IP law firms and service providers are utilising them to try and obtain their initial sales leads, based on patent filing count in a particular jurisdiction, frequency of patent filings in a technology area, analysis of patent filing routes, or entry modes.
Sure, this way you can get some sales leads, but that isn’t enough, and the results are not always optimal. It will always be a compromise between your resource time and the time that it takes your team to follow up on the leads. Furthermore, there are other variables at play, sometimes the leads can be stale—the company may have a strong representation in the region already, or maybe they are in the process of shifting to another region, which then makes the data not relevant anymore.
In some scenarios, you may have to redo the whole exercise again to obtain the latest data based on those variables, and you also may need to train your business development colleagues on how to access and interpret the IP data correctly.
Practice Insight’s Filing Analytics is a patent database that bridges the gap between business development and patent data. It offers a user-friendly interface to IP big data, covering case flows between law firms and applicants across different regions. It enables you to shortlist whom you should focus your sales energy on for maximum impact. In short, it shows you who has got work in their pipeline and who needs support.
The platform enables searches by applicant, where you can see their global (and regional) representation to find out which law firms they work with or which portion of their filings are self-filed. Effectively, the entire collaboration history of the applicant with law firms is available for your analysis and business development planning by using the ‘Browse Applicants’ functionality.
Of course, you can start with a region and a technology area to get a list of most active applicants—in case you don’t have a target applicant.
Further, within applicant details, you can find their recent filings with the name of the law firm representing them for each filing case. This view can be an indicator for the amount of work the applicant has on their plate and where and how you can plan an entry.
Additionally, you can browse law firms to see their case-flow sharing and reciprocity with their partner firms across jurisdictions. Essentially, you would get all information on their incoming and outgoing filings and their agent network with further details on their clients and cases.
An additional use of the tool is real-time ideas, which shows applicants you should meet with when you are visiting a city, or if you just want to check the market share of other law firms in an area. This ‘Map Explore’ tool can be a starting point for your sales research as well—followed by a detailed view of the representation of the applicant or the partnerships/ collaborations between law firms. This tool allows shortlisting by ‘Jurisdiction’, ‘Technology Area’, and ‘Time Period’ section so you can choose as per your preference on what to tackle first.
While business development is very important to make sure your sales conversions are high, client retention is just as important. Keeping your clients happy is the norm—it’s what’s expected. The real question is how to keep providing them with value. Paraphrasing Steve Jobs, one must “get closer” to the customers, “so close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves”.
It’s easier said than done, as this would need your complete focus and regular monitoring of your clients business activities to know which of your solutions would be the ideal fit for them.
However, there is one patent data tool that can easily keep a track of your clients’ needs, and that is ‘Citation Eagle’. Citation Eagle is an effortless patent citation monitoring tool that can monitor activities relevant to your client’s patent portfolio in a matter of seconds, and keep a tab on it. You can send your client not only actual leads but also other information they might find interesting, such as:
- Which patents from their closest competitors are being cited the most (in real time)?
- Which patents from their closest competitors have received some ‘highly relevant’ citations?
- Which companies are citing their patents?
Even when the citations are not ‘highly relevant’ or actual licensing leads, they can be a good way to know whether there are some upcoming products they should be aware of
In some cases, ‘not so relevant’ citations can be alternative products that can capture the market share in a few years, once the product is out in the market Interesting cross-industry citations (usually great insights on upcoming innovations) outside their industry?
If an automotive player is citing a home battery patent or a major ecommerce player is citing a pharmaceutical patent, these are sure-fire ways of pinpointing a big outside entry into their space
Are there interesting (and strong) university patents? Even if these leads may not be actionable immediately for your client, the fact that you are providing valuable patent infringement, opposition or licensing opportunities to them demonstrates that not only are you looking after their IP assets but that you can assist them in making their assets more valuable.
This is a great value-add for your clients that not only drives retention and loyalty, but will help ensure that your clients remain with your law firm and not stray to your competitors. Practice Insight, the developers of Filing Analytics and Citation Eagle, designed the user-friendly products in close consultation with patent lawyers and licensing experts to ensure that the results you receive are highly relevant and can provide real business and revenue growth.
You can try out both these tools for free and reap the benefits for yourself. Sign up for a free Citation Eagle trial or visit Filing Analytics to download a free law firm business intelligence report.