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The Importance of Assessing Your Firm’s Needs Before Investing in a CRM System


According to a recent survey by Thomson Reuters, less than 10% of firms find their current CRM system valuable, and nearly 20% find it not effective at all. Too many firms have failed to accurately assess their needs before selecting and implementing a CRM system, leading to failed implementations and tens to hundreds of thousands in wasted funds.

A CRM Assessment is the first step any firm should take if they are looking to implement a new CRM system or if they are trying to optimize their current system. This critical step in the CRM journey lays the foundation for a successful implementation and ensures long-term success.

The assessment is more than about picking the right software. It is about getting to the core of why your firm wants and needs a CRM system and uncovering how it can provide value to its end users and ROI to the firm.

Here is how you can uncover critical information to guide your CRM selection process:

Understanding Stakeholder Expectations

Gaining the buy-in of your stakeholders will be critical to the success of the CRM system. To achieve this, conduct in-depth interviews with key decision-makers across your firm.  These interviews shouldn’t simply identify pain points; they should delve deeper to uncover desired business outcomes.

  • What manual processes are limiting your ability to effectively manage client relationships and casework?
  • How do you envision a CRM helping you more efficiently manage daily tasks?

Through solution-oriented conversations and focusing on the benefits CRM can provide – automation, centralized database, improved client service – you can align the stakeholder’s expectations with the potential of the system. This ensures the chosen system addresses the core needs of your stakeholders, propelling your firm towards a successful and value-driven CRM implementation.

Understanding Departmental Requirements

Each department defines value differently, from executives down to legal assistants. A successful assessment hinges on understanding these unique definitions of value and how a CRM can satisfy their needs and requirements. Attorneys and paralegals may want streamlined task management tools or an integrated time and billing system to simplify invoicing, while the marketing department may want marketing automation and lead nurturing capabilities.

Sit down with departmental leadership to understand their value definition so you can align the right features and functionality to satisfy their requirements. This fosters a culture of transparency and empowers all departments to work together seamlessly, driving collective success for the entire firm.

Next Steps

A CRM Assessment is just the first step. To translate these findings into actionable steps, a strategic post assessment plan is crucial. Based on the findings from conversations with stakeholders and different departments, a CRM Roadmap should be created. This document prioritizes your firm’s objectives while outlining the necessary features and functions of the desired CRM system. It can also be used to guide vendor demonstrations so you can avoid the dog and pony show and focus on features relevant to your firm.

With a well-defined plan, law firms can turn their findings into actionable steps to ensure they select the right CRM system that satisfies their stakeholders and end-users requirements. This comprehensive approach will place your firm on the path to a successful CRM implementation and a more efficient, collaborative, and profitable future.

The CRM assessment can be thought of as the blueprint to CRM success. It delves into the core of why your firm wants and needs a CRM system. By understanding stakeholder expectations and unique departmental requirements, you can rest assured the CRM you chose aligns seamlessly with your firm’s vision. 

But it is important to remember, a CRM assessment is not just about the technology. It is a commitment to transforming how your firm manages its client relationships and develops business for the better. The team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting is here to support you. For almost 20 years, our team of over 100 consultants and experienced professionals has been helping firms and organizations achieve CRM success. Our CRM success consulting team can help with needs assessment, goal training, system selection, vendor evaluations, communications planning, rollout planning and CRM training. Our team of outsourced data quality professionals can assist with initial, ongoing, full-time or project-based staffing for any CRM, data quality or eMarketing positions.

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