Only once you have clearly articulated needs and agreed upon goals, can you begin identifying potential CRM products to address them. Properly deployed and supported, CRM systems are invaluable because they can do so many things. Even the most basic implementation can provide a centralized repository of clean and complete contacts that can be easily updated firm wide. They can also assist with core marketing activities such as e-mail campaigns, event management, relationship intelligence, activity tracking and categorization and segmentation of key contacts.
Focus on CRM Functionality and Security, not “Bells & Whistles”
The real challenge is that CRM should probably only do a few things initially – and those things are often different for each firm, office, practice – or even individual attorneys. This means the selection of a CRM must be strategic. During CRM products demonstrations, don’t be sidetracked by ‘bells and whistles.’ Instead, to prevent losing focus, it can be helpful to create a roadmap in advance of demos to thoroughly assess the relevant functionality. Have the providers dig into the features you really need.
Be sure to also spend time on critical details including privacy and security, how data changes are handled and how the system is hosted. While many corporations have embraced the reality that external hosting may actually be the most secure, at law firms allowing sensitive client data to float beyond the firm’s firewall into “the Cloud” requires significant discussions….