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.
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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.
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