It’s a scary feeling: realizing you have – perhaps inadvertently – ventured out of the safety of the shallow end of the CRM pool. Suddenly you start to realize you can no longer feel the solid bottom under your feet. Now is the time you really will sink or swim. Not to worry. Every seasoned swimmer at some time or another, has been where you are – in the deep end. And many of them ended up as better swimmers because of it.
Sure, plenty of firms are perfectly content to splash around in the shallow end of the CRM pool. They purchase systems to help solve problems with mailings and events. Even though you should never underestimate the challenges associated with Client communications in a law firm, this is really just putting a toe in the water. Others want to utilize CRM’s who-knows-who functionality to enhance business development efforts. Again, this is beneficial and can certainly justify the purchase of a system, but it’s still basically dog-paddling. To really get to the next level of CRM success, you have to take some risks – and that requires going ‘deep.’
Deep means utilizing the CRM system strategically. For instance, a CRM strategy might be to support Client teams by tracking associated activities and scheduling follow-up reminders, or industry information could be imported to better segment Clients and prospects. The system can be tied to time and billing to share financial information so the attorneys can make informed decisions and profile top Clients or even those that may be at risk of defection. The system can be utilized to enhance Client service by sharing information gathered from Client surveys. You can even invest in integrating outside data sources to populate company contact records with key business and financial information.
Like the first time you venture into the deep end, all of these things can have the unfortunate potential to cause a little uneasiness. CRM strategy frequently involves significant investments of time, money and staff and can sometimes even have political repercussions. But they also have the potential to help your firm become a stronger CRM swimmer, and as a result, enhance business and improve profitability. So once you are in the deep end, you may find that it can actually be a great place, assuming you are prepared to take the plunge and start swimming…