It’s no surprise that the leadership of most law and professional services firms set goals and strategies to grow profits and revenues, and win more new business. And most firm leaders realize there is no better way to grow the firm than to build stronger, more personalized relationships with the right clients and prospects.
In today’s competitive professional services environment, it’s critical to completely understand each prospect’s and client’s business in order to align the right services and firm expertise to win their business – and then exceed their expectations. Clients expect you to know their business well enough to provide the services they need now and anticipate what they may need six months from now.
And this level of customer insight is difficult to achieve without a strong strategic commitment to customer relationship management (CRM). That’s why it’s important to build a strong business case that explains the value of CRM for achieving the firm’s strategic objectives.
Align CRM with the firm’s strategic goals
When building the business case for CRM in your firm, it’s important to identify the firm’s strategic goals and show how a CRM and business development solution can help the firm achieve these objectives. For example, let’s explore some of the possible value drivers to include in the business case assuming the firm’s goals are to:
- Increase profits
- Increase revenues
- Improve the efficiency of operations
The value of accurate, easy-to-access contact information
Although accurate and comprehensive contact data is important to help your firm build better client relationships, most firms without CRM are wasting valuable time and resources updating contact spreadsheets or email lists that are difficult to maintain and share across the firm.
Capturing clean contact data is critical to a firm’s ability to build the successful relationships your firm needs to meet its strategic growth objectives. A CRM solution will help your firm refine and automate contact data collection processes, ensuring that the relevant client and prospect information is centralized, accurate and accessible to the entire practice.
Centralizing contact management with CRM helps your firm achieve the efficiency and growth objectives. That’s why a good business case for CRM quantifies the time and resources wasted throughout the firm with manual processes and also highlights the impact of building strong relationships on firm growth.
The value of rapid access to relationship insights
As firms grow, their expanding network of relationships becomes an important competitive advantage for business development. But without immediate access to relationship information, leveraging this firm asset effectively is nearly impossible. In an organization without CRM, it’s fairly common for a professional trying to win new business to send out a mass email to other firm members asking if anyone has a relationship with the key decision makers. These email chains become a drain on efficiency as the sender wastes time waiting for a response and the rest of the firm spends valuable time reading the message.
When building the business case for CRM, it’s important to include the revenue and profitability impact of rapid access to the right firm relationships that can help the firm win business opportunities.
The value of more efficient and effective marketing
Without CRM, a firm’s marketing efforts may be poorly targeted and inefficient, so it’s important to include the impact of marketing efficiency and effectiveness in the business case for CRM. First, you need the right target list to make marketing work and if CRM data is accurate and comprehensive, then your marketing programs will be more effective.
One firm new to CRM is now inviting fewer people to events but actually increasing event attendance and results because of a better targeted marketing list. Proper communication and follow-up makes a difference in event ROI and this firm’s lawyers now recognize the impact of CRM. In addition, their event invitation process has also been streamlined. After implementing CRM, the firm was able to eliminate spreadsheet proliferation, reduce manual effort, and make information reusable.
In order to build a strong business case for CRM, quantify the value of the time savings and productivity boost for the marketing department and explain the potential impact on the firm’s strategic goals around revenues, profits and efficiency.
Build your business case
If your firm is struggling to grow without CRM, the best approach is to build and present a business case aligned to the firm’s strategic goals. Certainly, there are many additional CRM value drivers beyond the possibilities mentioned here that you can include in your firm’s business justification for CRM. What’s most important is the ability of the business case to clearly articulate the role of CRM in the achievement of the firm’s strategic goals and objectives.