Switching to a CRM shouldn’t be overly complicated with a little effort by the firm at the outset. However, some factors may still stand in the way of its viability as a growth tool. When implementing a CRM there is always the question of whether it will be widely used, because CRM software isn’t unavoidably part of the workflow like a word processor for example. It can be neglected or underutilized by attorneys if they desire. With the right strategies, this problem can be avoidable.
What’s in it for me?
One of the more common issues is that attorneys are concerned about sharing their contacts which could result in reduced compensation and building their own book of business. It’s not realistic to expect that all firms will be happily collaborative at every moment. However, that is not even remotely necessary for enjoying returns with a CRM. Often consultants are brought in to shift firm practices or persuade key leaders to encourage buy in. Before those measures are taken there are simpler things that can be done to move the process forward.
There are white papers and books on business development practices, but the expectation of a future group benefits isn’t always compelling.
Quick Attorney Benefits
A very useful strategy is to highlight short term CRM benefits which can encourage more rapid adoption. When persuading key leaders, it’s important to communicate that a CRM isn’t only a firm benefit. It may be understood that a rising tide lifts all ships, but the nature of law firms and attorneys isn’t going to change overnight, and it doesn’t have to.
A strategy focused on fixing attorney pain points can be persuasive. The avoidance of errors remains one of the main selling points. The chances of sending information to the wrong address or not spelling the client’s name correctly are minimized because all attorneys with the same shared contact will have common and up-to-date information. Some of the other positive near-term reasons for using a CRM include the opportunity to quickly see more detailed client profiles. Clients are typically categorized within case types, so even without the benefits of collaboration, attorneys can leverage their own segmented client information to find new opportunities. Another compelling CRM feature is that Attorneys can geographically search for clients, prospects, or referral sources that they can meet while on business trips.
Another immediate benefit for attorneys is that with constantly updated contact information, the work they and their assistants need to do in preparation for marketing events and the development and use of mailing lists is greatly simplified. Conversely, if mailings and marketing events require a lot of attorney time for checking the accuracy of contact information, the scope, frequency, and beneficial results from these business development activities are limited.
Any new system requires some application and changing of habits but with only some moderate effort, a CRM can quickly be central part of the firm’s marketing practices.
If marketers and partners want to ensure that a CRM is widely used, they don’t need to be “peering over shoulders”. This can be tracked automatically. The transition to consistently using the CRM can then be less of a personal obligation and more of an indifferent metric which is visible for analysis. The usage rate per individual can be compared to the firm’s average to draw contrasts when needed. Any new system requires some changing of habits but with only a moderate effort, a CRM implementation can quickly become a central part of the firm’s marketing success.