|When people who are tasked with responsibilities for CRM systems are asked to define success, many words come to mind – words like challenging, demanding, difficult, stressful, time-consuming… painful, impossible, unattainable… changing jobs, retiring, quitting, outa here… It can be enough to have you contemplating the view from the ledge in your office.
Come down off that ledge. It’ll be ok. Realistically, CRM success doesn’t have to evoke feelings of pain or frustration. Instead the thought of CRM success can actually bring you a sense of inner calm and peace – even feeling of achievement or accomplishment. How is this possible, you ask?
Often of the biggest frustrations about CRM success is that often it isn’t clearly defined. How can you achieve something that isn’t being measured? The best way to define success – and to stay off that ledge – often involves utilizing numbers – like goals or metrics. They say that what is measured gets done. Measurements also let you know when you are making progress and doing the right things. But what numbers should you use…?
CRM Metrics: Let Me Count the Ways – and Dollars
So what kind of numbers or CRM metrics might make sense? Ideally, you want to find ones that are particularly relevant to the attorneys and the firm. Often these will be the numbers that are frequently preceded by a dollar sign – ones that relate directly to top line revenue or enhanced growth opportunities, like:
Then there are CRM metrics related to dollars saved, which also can contribute dollars to the bottom line. Some of these include:
In addition to all of these numbers, there are additional numbers you can select based on the stage of your CRM lifecycle…
Proxies for Progress
There are also some good numbers that can be used as proxies for CRM success and progress, especially during the initial stages of a rollout. This is a time when it can be a bit premature to try to count actual Clients or dollars in the door. But, at the same time, we may also have to deal with the reality that sometimes the people who just wrote that big check for the system may have slightly less-than-reasonable expectations – like thinking that once the system has been installed, money should start falling from the sky.
To reassure any of your key constituencies during the CRM rollout phases, you can consider metrics such as:
Once the rollout progresses and you realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel (and it isn’t a train) there are even more numbers you can use…
CRM Success by the Numbers… How Many Licks Does It Take?
At Valentine’s Day, it’s hard to resist a few candy references. So, as the rollout progresses, you may think you have this CRM project licked. In fact, you may even start to think that sweet success is so close you can taste it. You’ve gotten the hard parts out of the way: The end users are on board. The installation is done. The invoice is paid. Now you think it’s all downhill from here, right?
Not always. What you may not have considered is that as more and more users are rolled out, all the new information pouring into the system can actually gum things up. During this phase, you if you don’t get on the stick and really focus on data quality, things can quickly get out of hand.
So how many numbers does it take to achieve CRM data quality? Plenty. Start by gauging the ongoing data cleanup. Good CRM metrics here include:
All these numbers can help you to stay on top of the data quality which can keep the whole CRM project from going sour.
CRM Success is not a zero-sum game. By definition, in a zero-sum game, the sum of the winnings and losses of the various players is always zero. Basically, it’s winner-take-all.
In contrast, if the CRM Success game is played right, everyone wins. The attorneys get more Clients, the firm makes more money, the Clients get better service, and the Marketing Department and CRM manager get to keep their jobs. The problem is figuring out how to play the game… especially when there are no written rules. This is where some game strategy can come in handy.
While CRM can’t be everything to everyone, it can help some key law firm constituencies with some challenging issues. On a good day, CRM can be pretty effective at improving communication, coordination, Client service and business development – things that all seemed to be important in the law firm the last time I checked. In fact, I bet if you asked almost any attorney in the building if any of those things is on their “important-stuff- I-need-to-do” list, at least one of these things is somewhere near the top.
But those same attorneys would never be able to tell you how CRM can help them – because most of them have no idea what it does. Some of them don’t even know what it is. But that’s ok because it’s not their job to know. It’s ours…
To really achieve results and ROI with CRM, you have to put metrics in place to enhance and track success. It’s a fact that what gets measured gets done. As an added benefit, achieving goals can give everyone involved a feeling of accomplishment so they appreciate that the project is progressing and the time and money hasn’t been wasted.
But the worst thing you can do is to set unrealistic goals or metrics – what some people call “stretch goals.” In my experience, people who like to combine those two words are often the same ones who make unrealistic demands to get a challenging project accomplished in an impractical amount of time with insufficient resources.
Here are some of the “stretch goals” that are often set during CRM rollouts:
Good luck with that one.
Instead of achieving enhanced results, in most cases, setting these types of “stretch goals” actually ends up being counterproductive. I mean, who is willing to bend over backwards to try to accomplish goals that they don’t believe are even achievable…
Too Many Numbers – or Balls – in the Air