How Are You Using Your CRM Tools?

by Dave Whiteside, Director of Client Growth & Success  and Chris Fritsch, Founder & Client Success Consultant

The Swiss are known for inventing some pretty interesting and cool stuff: Velcro, Cellophane, the Helvetica font and, a favorite of many people, milk chocolate. But probably no other invention is so closely associated with Switzerland than the venerable Swiss Army Knife.  

If you ever owned one of these multi-purpose gadgets, you can appreciate the fact that even though the knife may contain a number of useful tools, most of the time only a few get used. This is true no matter how many tools a typical knife has.  

Admittedly, the model pictured here is a bit of an anomaly with 87 implements that perform 141 functions. In addition to 6 blades and more than 20 screwdrivers, this one even has a cigar cutter, a fish scaler and… a toothpick. Of course, different users will use this tool in different ways to solve different problems.  

(Oh, just FYI, if you are interested in acquiring one of these bad boys, it’s available on Amazon for just under $4000 – plus $5.48 shipping.)

But what’s more significant than the sheer number of tools available is the fact that most of them will rarely get used. It’s the same with CRM. Most CRM systems on the market today perform way more than 141 functions. In fact, the beauty of some of the most popular CRM systems is that they are so versatile that they can do a thousand things. The problem is that, just like with the multipurpose knife, in most cases, to derive real value from these tools, the focus should only be on 2 or 3 things.

An even bigger challenge is that those 2 or 3 things can be different for each firm – or even for different groups or individuals within a firm. But how do you determine which CRM functions you really need – and how do you ensure that the system you buy will do those things. Even more important, how do you determine which features to deploy, and how do you ensure that your users will actually adopt the tool and get value from it? The answer: experience.

Clients hire your lawyers because they have proven experience resolving their legal issues, right? This same level of experience is needed to successfully select and implement a CRM system. This is great if someone on your team has successfully rolled out CRM systems successfully a few times in the past. But unfortunately, not every firm has someone with that level of experience. In fact, it’s usually easier to find a good lawyer for a specific legal issue than it is to find someone with experience selecting, planning, implementing and rolling out a CRM system. Of course, we’re not suggesting that after leading a CRM project, people often change jobs, but it is hard to find someone who has done it more than once.

The good news is that help is available. You can reach out for ideas and advice from other professionals in the industry who have rolled out a CRM in the past. You can also find consultants who have expertise with a number of CRM systems and years of experience helping organizations successfully select and implement these tools to ensure that your project is successful.

It’s important to get help with CRM implementations because they often represent a sizable investment for the firm – and you don’t often get a second chance if you end up with the wrong tool.

 

 

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