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5 Takeaways from a Law Firm CRM Survey

Barriers-to-CRM-success
Last week we published the results of a new survey on law firm CRM in 2013. Certainly the survey’s purpose was market research, but we also set out to test some of the ideas we’ve heard (and written about) in the marketplace.

Here’s what we found at a glance:

1. CRM projects in law firms are maturing. It’s no surprise perhaps that CRM projects within law firms are mature with nearly half (48%) reporting their firm’s CRM project was five or more years old.  About another quarter (23%) reported their projects were between three and five years of age.  This provides some indication as to why we find panels at ILTA that center on breathing new life into CRM.

2. Law firms investing in what’s important.  More than 60 percent of respondents reported their firms have near-term plans to make additional CRM investments in next year. Additionally about half (53%) said their firm’s plan to upgraded the existing CRM project in the next three years. Amid the range of technology projects in which firms could invest – from mobility to file security – that a majority of CRM initiatives are not just maintaining budgets, but anticipating additional investments, is telling in terms of law firm priorities.

3. Focus on defining CRM success.  Half of all respondents either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” their firm was earning a measurable return on their CRM investment, but a full 35% were also unsure.  This trend can also be seen when respondents were simply asked whether they’d classify their firm’s CRM projects as a success.  While 40% said their projects were successful another 36% said it was either “too early to tell” or they were “unsure.”

4.  What does success look like? Conventional business wisdom says it’s more profitable to sell more services to existing clients than it is to find and close deals with new customers.  Professional services organizations like law firms usually agree that client relationships are an important cornerstone to selling services.  In this survey, more than 50% of respondents cited “better client relationships” as the primary benefit as the result of a law firm CRM project.  Another 48% cite “improved ability to cross-sell.”

5. CRM isn’t a technology alone, it’s a strategy. Our analysis suggests law firms with successful CRM projects are more likely to implement CRM as a firm-wide, strategic process, which accounts for the human aspects of change management, and is supported by technology as opposed to a mere technology implementation.

What do you think?  What takeaways did you have from the findings?  What questions would you like to see answered in future surveys?

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
5 Social CRM Predictions for the Legal Industry

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director with Business of Law Software Solutions (BLSS) a division of LexisNexis. In this capacity he directs communications strategy and execution in support of BLSS products including those for large law, small law and corporate counsel. With 15 years in experience in the marketing communications for the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of PR for Vocus, which develops marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He’s held multiple roles in PR both in-house with corporations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms both large and small. A veteran with two deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an Army officer. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University.

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