Although the law firm business model is built around forging strong relationships and lasting connections, there is probably no other industry with more disconnected data systems than legal. Too often we hear complaints from legal marketers and business developers struggling with challenges caused by juggling so many disconnected data silos, including CRM and ERM, eMarketing systems, experience databases, proposal generators, and more. And don’t even get me started on the spreadsheets.
CRM Integration: When, Where and Why
When systems are not connected it causes frustrating challenges such as vast sets of duplicate contacts and repetitious data entry. Attorneys and staff are often stuck wasting time on tedious manual tasks such as repeatedly entering the same data into multiple disconnected systems – time that should otherwise be spent serving client needs. These data silos keep attorneys from effectively analyzing the data to make informed, timely decisions.
As firms transition to digital-first strategies, they are developing new ways to bridge the gaps between these disconnected silos through system integrations, allowing for a more enhanced flow of information.
While there are many ways to integrate your data systems with your CRM, here are a few of the most beneficial integrations when it comes to legal marketing technology:
1. eMarketing Data
The value of a CRM system can be exponentially increased with the integration of an eMarketing system. When integrated properly, these tools can connect critical data to your contacts and give you better insight into how they interact with your email or marketing communications. Many times, these integrations have been pre-built by system providers, offering huge cost savings for firms that implement them. Additionally, the data from an eMarketing system can help drive system adoption and provide added value, which most firms struggle to achieve.
2. Time and Billing Data
Many firms have also tied their time and billing systems to their CRM. While this type of integration comes with a higher price tag, it can sync invaluable data like client information, rank and numbers for firms with common time and billing and CRM systems. Additionally, these systems can work in concert with one another to seamlessly pull a list for targeting and segmenting based on numerous criteria.
3. External Data Sets
External data sets, like company news, information, and industry codes, can be connected to the firm’s CRM and to companies and contacts within the database. This type of connection can be extremely beneficial as it can help generate insightful reports on data coming into the CRM, like newly added companies, alumni changes or business development activities. Still, it often requires a meticulous initial matching and tagging process and an ongoing subscription cost to prevent the data from becoming outdated.
4. Human Resources Data
Integrating the firm’s HR system can also provide additional value. This connection can automate the creation of new user accounts in the CRM, simplifying the onboarding process. The HR data can also be used to feed firm directories and provide computer or mobile access to the information of the firm’s key personnel. Attorneys can also be related to clients, matters, experience or opportunity records.
Focusing on an integration strategy can provide firms with a solid foundation for CRM success. However, this is only the first step. The next steps involve addressing the people and process issues, including the daunting change management challenges that are inherent in CRM.
For almost 20 years, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select, implement, and integrate CRM, eMarketing and other marketing technology systems to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help with CRM Success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or Info@ClientsFirstConsulting.com.