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Seven Realities of CRM Success and How to Address Them


Many firms think once they implement a CRM system, all of their contact management issues will disappear, but alas, that is not the case.

CRM is not the answer to all of a firm’s contact issues, but it will help manage business development functions such as client intake, client scheduling and follow-up, revenue tracking and much more.

So much of CRM success has to do with effectively managing people and process issues, as well as expectations of what your CRM can and cannot do. Achieving CRM success can be a difficult task for firms to manage. With more than 70% of CRM implementations failing today, you don’t want yours to be one of them, especially after investing so much time and money into a new system.

From working with law firms and professional service firms of all sizes for more than a decade on CRM implementations, we’ve learned that they must have these three elements in place for a CRM (or any marketing technology) implementation – 1) Communication, 2) Training and 3) High data quality.

Here are seven realities of CRM success and how to address them.

  1. The law firm challenge: Lawyers often don’t feel they get enough value out of CRM compared to the investment they (and the firm) put into it. To succeed, provide and demonstrate value and score some early and key wins to help garner support for the system. Communicating these wins internally is essential to building champions for CRM at your organization. Identify how you can accomplish both of these – for example, create a CRM update section in your internal newsletter and include stories of how CRM has helped with business development and relationship management.
  2. Everyone at your firm will have a different definition of law firm CRM success, but it boils down to deliver value and save attorney time. It’s that simple. If you want to drill down further, CRM success is usually defined as fewer manual processes, less reliance on spreadsheets, greater efficiency and better sharing of information. Create a simple and actionable plan for accomplishing these at every level at your firm. Take a look at this article on how to get lawyers more engaged in using your CRM system.
  3. Start with a needs assessment. Take the time up front to interview key stakeholders and get their input about how the CRM could help them with things they care about like solving problems, improving processes, reducing costs and developing business.
  4. CRM is a long-term process, not a one-time project. Because CRM is a fundamental change in how the firm manages its most important asset -its relationships – it never really ends. Think of it like how you take care of a plant – you must water it regularly, ensure it was the right light and environment in which to flourish and trim off the dead leaves to keep it healthy.
  5. The right CRM strategy is “crawl, walk, run.” One small move in the right direction is often the best place to start. Success CRM success is a collection of small wins. Build consensus on CRM by creating small wins with key stakeholders. Communicate these wins internally to underscore the value of the CRM system.
  6. Think people, process and problems first, products second. True CRM success is more about addressing people and process issues than the actual technology itself. Here’s how to measure CRM success.
  7. Make CRM part of your culture. Ensure you have a robust but easy-to-follow CRM user guide and regularly offer CRM trainings to ensure that your users are able to effectively navigate and maximize the system. Send regular communications about system enhancements, success stories, new reports or dashboards and trainings. Create an on-demand library of trainings so users can access them on a real-time basis. If you need help, consider outsourcing some of these functions.

The main role of a CRM is to streamline backend efficiencies so lawyers can focus on winning cases and practicing law. Keeping this in mind will help manage expectations and accomplish your goals.

For more than 10 years, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM and eMarketing systems and improve data quality to maximize value, adoption and return on investment.

If you need help achieving CRM Success, contact us at 404-249-9914 or

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