Since it was first coined in the world of computer science in the 1950s, the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” has been a popular metaphor for flawed, or nonsense data input that produces flawed or nonsense output, aka “garbage.”
For those of us who are old enough to remember when the term was thrown around by computer salespeople or a firm’s resident technology geek, you may also recall what data management was like before before the days of Windows or Mac OS X. Picture black screens filled with green or orange text and a flashing cursor, and typing in pages of commands,
At the risk of sounding like a bunch of Scrooges, we’re going to bring up the annual project that almost all law firm marketers have to deal with – and pretty much any of them dread: The Annual Holiday Mailing Project.
Whether your firm does them electronically or with paper cards (or if you are at one of the really lucky firms, both), so many things go into this annual effort that is ideally aimed at strengthening Client relationships: from decisions around the format to the design, to the artwork and/or animation, to gift or not to gift,
More often than not, when firms first embark on implementing CRM, their primary motivation is to be able to have centralized mailing lists so they can send their clients and prospects newsletters, other thought leadership pieces and/or event invitations. Significant effort and expense goes into choosing and implementing the right CRM system, but meanwhile the delivery system – the eMarketing system – frequently gets the short end of the resource stick.
Firms often skimp on eMarketing to make up for the cost of CRM and choose less expensive options that will not integrate with their CRM system.
Marketing departments today often spend a great deal of their time focusing on things that involve strategies and planning. To support these critical activities, they have built up and aligned key staff and resources. This is completely understandable given the pressure they are under to deliver results and value. While the pressure has always been significant, in recent years, with competition at unimaginable levels, it has intensified significantly.
However, it may actually surprise many marketers to discover that one of the most important tools to help their firms deliver value and develop business isn’t a strategic or planning initiative.
Recently, legal marketing professionals from around the globe gathered in New Orleans for the 2018 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference. One breakout session titled, “Humanity Isn’t a Trend – It’s the Key to Digital Marketing and Branding Success,” presented by Terry Isner, CEO at Jaffe, was an insightful directive for legal marketers to “remember that, regardless of technology, there is always a person on the other end looking for something … most likely your lawyers’ help.”
Terry’s presentation provided a timely and targeted reminder that no matter the medium, it is vital for marketing professionals to remember the human part of the marketing communications process.
In previous posts, we addressed best practices for eMarketing and email design as well as internal processes for creating good email communications. If it seems that you’re doing everything right and your email metrics are still disappointing, what’s left to improve? Well, let’s look the 10,000-pound elephant in the room squarely in the eye: your content.
For law firms, the content is typically written by the lawyers. This can be… well, a bit challenging, because many lawyers are legal writers, favoring a specific style that may not necessarily be conducive for eMarketing purposes.
Why is it so hard for Marketing to get an email communication out the door in a timely manner? In working together with hundreds of law and other professional services firms over the last 10 years, this is one of the most frequent complaints we hear from Clients.
Law firms collectively spend thousands of hours of billable time creating content, and frequently this information is time-sensitive. In some cases, the firm that gets the information to Clients or prospects first gets hired. But if the information is not sent in a timely manner, it quickly becomes old news – and all that time was wasted.
Once you have identified a few CRM systems that meet your requirements, you can begin the vetting process to select the right CRM system for your firm.
Tip 4: Direct the Demonstrations
It’s essential that the CRM demonstrations allow you to make an informed decision and adequately and accurately compare systems, features and pricing. It’s also important at this phase to again involve your users. CRM systems have a reputation for being notoriously difficult to implement, and the last thing you want is to be responsible for unilaterally selecting a system that then doesn’t meet user expectations.
For professional services firms, compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) can feel like a thankless burden. Without a doubt, data privacy regulations are forcing most organizations to change the way that data is handled in their CRM systems. But it’s not all bad news. In fact, there are benefits to be had from these process changes other than just the relief of knowing you are compliant with the regulations.
The GDPR requirement of recording of express consent from contacts before sending them a newsletter or an event invitation may seem initially seem harsh,
In last week’s post we covered the basics of GDPR and new data privacy regulations as well as preparation of your contact data and CRM system to accommodate new data privacy information. (In case you missed it, read “GDPR Compliance: How to Prepare and Where to Begin”).
Now, with your CRM data prepared and your system configured to manage the new data privacy requirements, you’re ready to address processes, automation, and communication with your clients and contacts.
Create the Process
The specifics of automation will vary depending on your organization’s interpretation of the new data privacy regulations as well as the CRM and eMarketing systems in use.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect May 25, 2018. For some professional services firms, preparing for GDPR can pose some daunting challenges. But with some basic guidance, you can prepare your CRM and eMarketing systems to help your firm be compliant.
Where to Begin
Has your firm already done anything to comply with the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL), which went into effect in July of 2017? If so, start there. Unlike GDPR, CASL has a provision for implied consent. If your firm is relying on implied consent,
I often see charters and business cases with a list of desired CRM benefits that look like this list below:
- Better client relationships….
- Less client attrition….
- Improved ability to cross-sell….
- Increased revenue and profitability….
- Increased team collaboration….
- Improved efficiency in serving clients….
- Greater staff satisfaction….
- Cost savings….
These are all worthy objectives on which to build a business case for CRM – but none of them contain a WHY and a WHO? Why are each of these important?
When we see so many firms struggling with CRM “adoption” it creates a question: Is it possible that the professionals in your firm view your CRM system as a tax? Like a tax, CRM benefits the firm and others, but not them?
The most common frustration heard when rolling out a CRM – my users just won’t adopt and use it! The initial tendency is to blame the users as being stubborn, obstinate and unwilling to “change”. But the real question is WHY are they unwilling to change? Could it be your CRM is viewed as a “Tax” on the user?
The quality of the data in your CRM is essential to maintenance of a strong CRM system. Just like the foundation of a building, when building out your CRM system, a solid data structure is essential. Additionally, once your system structure is complete, its integrity needs to be maintained. Good data quality is the key to getting results and return on the substantial investment in your CRM system. Sound CRM data helps to maximize productivity, enhance communication and expand your client base.
But building good CRM data quality can also be challenging.
To help communicate the importance of centralized contact management, we have compiled 10 top tips:
- Think of contact management as an investment. Contacts are valuable commodities and investing just a little time up front can pay dividends in the future.
- Value your relationships. For attorneys, there is almost no more important contributor to career success.
- Capture complete information. Without key details, you can’t effectively communicate with contacts.
- Update contact information regularly. Up to 30% of contact information changes each year, so it’s
crucial to keep information current.