Guest Blogger: Terry Renouf, Partner, BLM LLP
It is rare for the roll out of technology to be embraced by everyone at a company. Often it is seen as a solution that is managed by the IT team and has little impact on the day to day activities of staff members. CRM solutions are however different and should not be underestimated.
Following exceptional firm growth, we recognised the need for an innovative CRM solution to assist us with business planning and strategic marketing. We quickly identified InterAction® as our solution and in April 2013 we rolled this out to more than 300 users across 10 of our offices.
Our project was positioned as a firm wide initiative, not just a marketing activity. We wanted to ensure that such ‘technology’ deployment had partners’ wholehearted involvement and we had to ensure that InterAction’s configuration met their business requirements now and for the future.
We make no secret of the fact that the requirement gathering process was exhaustive; nevertheless it was essential. Intricate planning contributed to its success. We conducted 21 partner workshops to ascertain data sources and gather business development requirements. We had to challenge existing processes to eliminate inconsistencies and implement best practice across the firm.
The joint project team intentionally chose a group in the firm with the most challenging set of business requirements to test the effectiveness of the technology. Critical feedback upfront was necessary to shape InterAction so that it met the needs of all – and there was a lot of feedback to get to grips with! The lawyers in the group were in real need of a tool to track, measure and report on progress. It was vital to secure buy-in and make the value of InterAction visible to all stakeholders as a way of pre-empting future resistance to using the solution.
User training, often a stumbling block, was a priority. It allowed us to demonstrate functionality and highlight the real benefits to the technology. The fact that InterAction integrates with Microsoft Outlook was the icing on the cake for many of us. It was at this stage we realised project buy-in was becoming easier!
The time efficiencies/productivity that InterAction delivers is staggering. Our legacy system didn’t allow more than 2100 contacts to be exported to Excel at a time – InterAction exports an entire list, regardless of size, in just four minutes.
For the partnership, user adoption has been phenomenal. In a six month period 40,383 data change tickets have been issued; 9,499 new contacts added; 1,549 CRM and 2,512 marketing activities entered by users. For the first time, more than 160 partners are connected to the CRM data, business development campaigns and opportunities for growth are visible and duplication of effort is being eradicated. CRM is becoming embedded in the firm.
For the BLM team Project InterAction is ongoing. The work never stops and there is always a new approach to doing things as technologies evolve and requirements increase. With the implementation of InterAction we know we are able to tackle these challenges head on.
Terry Renouf is a partner at BLM LLP. He is also a member of the project team. ‘Project InterAction’ secured BLM and LexisNexis a joint nomination for the Project Delivery Award at the Knowlist Awards 2014.