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A Coordinated Response–Part 3: Leveraging CRM and Related Technology to Communicate During the COVID-19 Crisis


While CRM systems are essential to assist in communicating effectively and coordinating your responses and outreach during this crisis, there are also a number of other supporting technologies that you can invest in and leverage to support your organization in its outreach and business development efforts at this challenging time.

ERM Systems

It is important to ensure that the right people in your organization are responsible for reaching out to every relevant contact. While many firms have tasked relationship or billing professionals with this outreach, these are not always the people with the most significant day-to-day interactions with some clients. Additionally, their relationships may be with people who are not the right contacts to receive all of the firm’s different types of guidance or information.

ERM, or Enterprise Relationship Management technology, monitors email traffic patterns over time to provide who-knows-who relationship intelligence to help determine which person at the firm has the strongest relationship with key individuals and organizations. The system can also provide insight into any gaps where the firm’s relationships may be weak or non-existent, which will require additional dialogue with your professionals to determine who may be the right person to reach out.

Data Quality Tools

Effective communication requires that the firm’s messages reach their targets. This requires correct and complete contact information for these people. Before sending a communication, lists should be run through an automated data quality process to research and update or remove potential recipients with bad email addresses. If time is a constraint, start the process with top clients and contacts or focus on any key titles that should receive specific messages targeted to their roles.

Conferencing Technologies

Firms that had not focused on conferencing technologies prior to this crisis are now suddenly struggling to find ways to continue live communication with their internal and external audiences. As a result, conferencing technologies such as Zoom, GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams have really taken off recently because they offer not just conference call features but also web conferencing, video conferencing, recording, chat and much more. Some providers offer free services for a limited number of participants or more capabilities, features and additional attendees at an increased cost. It is important to consider what features you and your team require and then find the provider that best meets your needs.

Succeeding with Technology

In the past, some firms put off acquiring technology that could help them communicate effectively during a crisis. More problematic, many firms invested significantly in the technology without requiring that the systems be used. Many also have not put the necessary processes in place and/or invested the necessary resources to support adoption and implementation. As a result, these organizations are now finding themselves woefully unprepared in the current situation.

The good news is that, after years of inattention, suddenly some smart firm leaders are stepping up and making acquiring and implementing key systems a top priority. Several firms that refused to focus on CRM are now rushing to select and implement the necessary technology to allow them to work remotely and communicate effectively. Others are now finally being forced to focus on the people and process issues and change management challenges that need to be addressed to succeed with the technology.

What the Future Holds

How long this crisis will last is anyone’s guess. But by leveraging technology solutions and formalizing processes now, firms can build a foundation for more effective communication and client relationship management that will serve them well during the current crisis – and help them gain an additional advantage when we get back to #TheOldNormal that we are all so eagerly awaiting and the recovery that we are looking forward to.


For more than a decade, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM and eMarketing systems to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help achieving CRM, Data Quality or eMarketing success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or

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