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3 Pragmatic Ways to Gain Law Firm Partner Buy-In for CRM

3 Easy Ways to Gain Law Firm Partner Buy-In for CRM

Lots of law firms share contact information in databases, but that’s not necessarily using CRM effectively, according to a marketing technology panel at the 2015 ITLACON tradeshow (#ILTA057). Forget the acronyms and focus instead on a tool that helps law firms focus on key initiatives – like growing a business.

That’s the core of the lessons we gleaned from a panel of three including Cindy McCollough, Sheila Mennis and Chris Fritsch.  If business development (BD) can get partners to understand how CRM can grow the size of the law firm revenue pie, then marketers will gain management buy-in – not just for the purchase – but to facilitate the firm wide usage of a critical tool.

The panel invited session attendees to share stories of how they’ve earned senior leader and partner buy-in for successfully implementing and using CRM in a law firm.  Here are three anecdotes that stood out for us:

1. Showing is better than telling.

If a law firm adds a new contact to a database – a potential opportunity – it’s very powerful to immediately know who else in the firm already knows that contact and might have an existing relationship. In a demonstration, one legal marketer says he showed the firm leadership how to look up who-knows whom after receiving an email.  “Their heads all snapped up” as the visual demonstration conveyed far more powerfully than what he could say in words, he noted.

Better still when the functionality works for multiple languages, an international law firm, based in New York, with clients or prospects in the Asia Pacific for example.  Add in native passive data management, and the automation keeps contacts up-to-date automagically.

In a separate, but substantive example, the ABA Journal previously provided a clear anecdote as to how this capability landed one firm an additional $84,000 in revenue.

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Also see these related posts:
New!  LexisNexis InterAction Unveils Law Firm BD Module
9 Creative CRM Tips for Getting Lawyers to Share Data
How Law Firms Can Successfully Implement a CRM System

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2. Find attorneys to describe CRM benefits for you.

Craig Bayer described an “internal campaign” he built “to promote” a CRM project at a firm that employed him previously. He ran a pilot program and identified “champion attorneys” who “spread the word about the benefits” of CRM on their own. He noted one pivotal stage in the campaign where the perception of CRM, and perhaps even the marketing department, shifted from a cost center to a revenue generator.

Certainly training sessions designed to be convenient for billable attorneys contributed to the success and caused panelist Chris Fritsch to (only half-jokingly) remark, “The key to success in CRM in a law firm is food.”

3. Loud is the written word.

One attendee noted she ran business development reports every (single) day detailing which attorneys were working on what opportunities – and bringing in what business. Those reports were emailed firm wide.  If an attorney hadn’t been diligent in entering data into the CRM system, then those deals weren’t shared in the report.

It caused partners to say, “I brought in work, why isn’t my work in there?” she said. The reporting was tedious, she noted, but the transformation was remarkable:  instead of chasing attorneys down to enter this information, they were coming to her to ensure they made the report.

Lawyers are competitive and the reporting tapped into that sense of competition to drive a better result for the firm as a whole.

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What stories might you share for gaining senior leader buy-in for a CRM project?  Please feel free to share in the comments section below, or send us a note if you’d be interested in describing your story in a full post on these pages.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
A List of 15 People that Can Make or Break a Law Firm

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director for the LexisNexis software division located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. In this capacity, he leads communications efforts in support of software products for law practice and law department management and also litigation tools – across large law, small law and corporate counsel segments. With more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of public relations for Vocus, which developed marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He has held multiple roles both in-house with corporations, ranging from startups to global organizations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms including the top 10 global firm Hill & Knowlton. A veteran of two year-long deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for more than 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. 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. He is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver and holds a USPA "B" skydiving license.
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