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4 Easy Tips for Law Firm Client Team Programs

4 Easy Tips for Law Firm Client Team Programs

Most law firms – some 80% have client team programs, but just 39% of firms say these teams are “successful” according to Bryan Austin a law firm client advisor with the LexisNexis® InterAction® group.

The data comes from a range of market research sources including surveys and interviews conducted with the InterAction client base.  Upwards of 90% of the Am Law 100 and 80% of the Am Law 200 use the InterAction CRM product to help manage client relationships.

Mr. Austin is part of an experienced new team dedicated to helping law firms with best practices for managing client relationships.  He presented these tips, alongside others, on a recent webinar (a recording is embedded nearby).

1. Begin by identifying a small group. Client team programs are not new, but Mr. Austin noted firms are reinvigorating these programs in an increasingly competitive market. Starting with the top 200 clients is an ambitious goal, perhaps too ambitious, and law firms would be better served by starting small.  He suggests identifying candidates for a new program by identifying those clients served by several attorneys or are in the midst of corporate or industry transition.

2. Identify clear objectives. Any new program a firm launches ought to be based on clear objectives. Common objectives for client programs large law firms report included increasing revenue, expanding legal work in specific practice areas or geographies and client retention.  Be sure to include the client in the process, Mr. Austin advises, “clients programs should be with your clients, not to your clients.” The best programs align the work a law firm conducts with client objectives.

3. Gather client information. Client information can be organized into three general buckets. First, include client reports including financial information, client and industry news, and the strength of the relationship.  Strength of the relationship can be measure by what the Interaction team refers to as an “IQ score” which can lead to clear cross-selling opportunities.   The second bucket is the client history, which means an honest assessment and of successes and setbacks.  This leads to an analysis that identifies opportunity – the work the law firm is not currently being awarded.  The third and finally bucket, based on a successful CRM implementation, refers to actionable data the clients team will need:  client by type, account plan, reminders, an audit of organization-to-organization communications, and metrics, among other categories.

4. Adjust, refine and expand. Adjusting clients programs is often the hardest aspect for law firms to achieve, according to Mr. Austin, yet it’s critical to the success of the program. He recommends interviewing clients for feedback, conducting bi-annual clients meetings and documenting the “wins” for analysis. As the program matures, law firms should seek out areas where automation can be added for efficiency, identify additional clients as candidates for the program and transforming client teams into “pursuit teams.”

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There were two other speakers on this webinar with tips for law firm business development.  The entire video runs about an hour and is worth listening to in its entirety. What tips would you add?

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The Key to CRM is Tracking Relationships

Photo credit:  Flickr, Liza (CC BY 2.0)

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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.