December 4th, 2018 | by

A candid interview with Jill Konrath and Synchronoss’ Director of Legal Operations, Dana Huppert.

Legal Operations might work behind the scenes of the General Counsel … but ops wears the pants on tech purchase decisions.

And we’ve got an insider’s look at how capture their attention and win them over.

If you sell services or technologies to the legal department, you’ll want to catch this: We’re partnering with author and sales speaker Jill Konrath to interview the Director of Legal Operations, Dana Huppert, at Synchronoss Technologies to dig into the pains and purchases of this role.

This buyer persona may not get a lot of attention, but they control the budget at most in-house corporate legal departments.

Huppert explains:

  • What are the mandates and pain points of this role?
  • What types of legal tech tools are top of mind?
  • What does the buying cycle look like for legal operations?
  • Where do they research and get buying advice?

… And finally what can a salesperson do to get their attention?

Get the Pitch Perfect bundle and skip to the head of the line: Selling to Legal Operations

What are the job responsibilities of Legal Operations executives?

Huppert wears many hats. The roles and responsibilities for legal operations are vast, and differ from one company to another. They generally become more specialized as the company size grows.

As such, this legal ops specialist is in charge of in charge of:

  • corporate governance
  • risk management
  • business processes
  • procurement management
  • special projects from the c-suite
  • risk management and procurement management

Legal Operations works directly with the C-suite – and reports directly to the General Counsel.

This role also serves as the proxy of the General Counsel in meetings, and as such, is privy to the strategy, and the roadmap of the company.

“The General Counsel will ask me about different ways to bring efficiencies in to the company, different ways to roll things out worldwide, et cetera.” The General Counsel also relies on Legal Operations to execute on special requests.

All new technology initiatives must pass through Legal Ops.

One core responsibility of legal operations is to drive efficiency

how do you sell legal tech legal operations“The core responsibility of legal operations is two-fold, as I see it,” Huppert says. “First, it’s drivings efficiency. So you look at things through an administrative lens. Maybe it’s people wasting time, things are not being processed correctly, or tracking audit trails and workflows. All these things are matters of efficiency.”

Another responsibility is identifying the right technology for efficiency

“As the legal buyer, I also have to identify the right technology to bring in those efficiencies.”

One of the larger emerging parts of this role addressing technology, which is a very aggressive space.

“At Synchronoss,” Huppert says, “we grew two to three acquisitions a year! So we were expanding very, very quickly. We have a small legal department. As our global footprint grew, we had to grow our efficiency as well, so that you feel like a very large legal department, in order to support the company. You do that through technology.”

What are current pain points for Legal Ops?

Legal efficiencies such as GDPR

“We’re looking at a lot of different compliance requirements that are coming up,” says Huppert, “one of them being GDPR. That was a big focus in our legal department because that’s a real deadline we were required to hit, like many companies. We were rolling out training, and updating contracts to make sure that they’re up to par and compliant with GDPR.”

These kinds of changes to regulations spur legal departments to action – and act as triggers for new purchases.

Sales people who pay attention and understand industry events like upcoming changes to regulation have the advantage of getting in the door first – and, more important, an opportunity to discuss real problems and work together to help this buyer and solve a problem.

eBilling platforms are another pain point

What’s another example of pain points for Legal Ops?

“We are rolling out an e-billing platform,” Huppert says. “Since we are a small legal department, we utilize a lot of outside counsel. Managing those fees for outside counsel is extremely important. When you’re speaking to executives, you want to show them how our spending aligns with the budget that we predicted in the beginning of the year.

“That’s a huge hot button for us that we’ve been looking at this year.”

Sales and marketing professionals will note that, again, gains and setbacks for this buyer are measured in terms of efficiencies. “Specifically,” Huppert adds, “Hard numbers that the C-suite understands.”

Driving efficiency, bringing cost down, and showing value

Another big challenge for in-house legal departments is showing all the value that a legal department actually brings to the table.

“It is difficult for an operations person to speak to the numbers that the C-suite actually comprehends. Lawyers are very good with words, but an operations person has to take those words and put them into numbers: Let me show you all the value that your internal legal department is bringing to you – in number format.

“That’s a challenge, I think, the ops person is constantly aware of.”

Savvy salesperson are those who can help Legal Ops tell the story to their customer – The General Counsel – in terms they understand.

Your buyer is Legal Ops – NOT general counsel

In short, your ideal buyer is the Legal Ops person.

If you’ve been prospecting to the General Counsel, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

“If you reach out directly to the General Counsel, they’re probably not even going to talk to you. If you’re lucky, they’ll say, Oh, talk to so and so – which is your Legal Ops person.

“The General Counsel leans on the Legal Ops person to make suggestions, to do all the legwork, and to come with the business case,” Huppert says. “If I were to give any advice to a salesperson, it’s this: Find out if the company has a role like mine, then find a way to make a connection.”

Find out more about this buyer persona with the purchasing power. Download the bundle: Pitch Perfect: Selling to Legal Ops includes a full-length video interview with the buyer you’re after, and a cheat sheet with pain points and selling tips.

Download the bundle, and get your B2B sales Pitch Perfect: Selling to Legal Operations.

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