While ILTA has a fantastic app for the conference this year, Caesar’s Palace, where the conference is being hosted is still a very large place. As such, it takes a day or so of wrong turns to really grasp the layout. This might also be called, learning from experience!
While on the dash to find the right room for the session, Breathing New Life into Your CRM, I had a chance encounter with another conference goer that was in a similar search, but for a different session. We traded notes quickly to help each other out and I when I told him I was looking for the CRM session, he paused, looked me square in the eye and said, “Breathe new life into CRM? They’ve got to use it first.”
In many ways, that was partly the theme this session was aimed at achieving. Based on my notes from the session, here are seven, perhaps unique or unconventional ways to breathe new life into your CRM:
1. Tie CRM into other programs. What other strategic initiatives is your law firm working on implementing where CRM could be an asset? One panelist mentioned a records management and retention initiative that would track email notifications sent to clients alerting them to matter documents that were coming of age for shredding. Having a record of those interactions permanently in the CRM system is inherently valuable.
2. Find ways to show end users value quickly. Firms need their attorneys to use the CRM system – that’s part of our Legal Software Bill of Rights philosophy of “legal solutions that work how I work.” One panelist said one of the first things she did was demonstrate to her firm’s attorneys how to conduct targeted searches and save those searches in the CRM. This had immediate and obvious benefits to the attorney.
3. CRM needs to benefit all ranks. When implementing a CRM, often the marketing department focuses on winning over partners. While this is clearly important, a panelist noted it’s a risky proposition to overlook the legal secretaries. If CRM policies create work, or add to the legal secretary’s burden, a successful implementation is an uphill battle.
4. Hire outside help. Training is paramount, however one panelist went a step further and hired an independent consultant whose sole focus was to train partners on the CRM system. This person literally would meet with partners by appointment, or even on call, to walk them through the program and show them how to do things.
5. Education is continuous. Some attorneys are reluctant to share their contacts in a CRM – the first question is “If I do, will marketing email my clients without my permission?” Naturally, education is important to eliminating this resistance. One component of that is explaining the ramifications of not participating: if a business development manager cold calls a contact that isn’t listed in the CRM system, is that the business developer’s error or the attorney’s?
6. The Golden Rule. Anyone with contacts they’ve worked hard to build relationships with is naturally protective of those relationships. The golden rule here is for marketing to demonstrate they care about the contacts in the CRM in the same way attorneys care about contacts.
7. Choose advocates carefully. Every project has its champions – the user that finds value and advocates for continuing or expanding a program. CRM may well be a strategy, as opposed to a technology, it does have a major technological component that attracts techies as advocates. The challenge here is that not everyone in a firm can relate to techies, so it’s important to develop advocates that will lobby for a program for all levels of technical savvy.
Your turn! What unconventional or unique tips might you add?
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