Why CRM is not a technology
When I visit a new client to talk about Lexis® InterAction® the first question I ask them is “What is your CRM strategy?” It may seem like a strange question. After all CRM is a technology isn’t it?
Well… no. The reality is that today’s legal and accounting markets are highly competitive. Firms have to become more commercially driven. They must have a clear future strategy and, if they need a strategy for the firm, they need a strategy for CRM. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Suppose a firm’s strategy is to grow revenues from its existing clients by 5 percent. Then its CRM strategy will revolve around key client management, client networking, delivering the highest quality of service and cross selling.
However, if the firm wanted to expand into a new industry sector, the CRM strategy would be very different. In this case it may revolve around running a prospecting program to bring in new clients.
As these examples show CRM is not a technology, it’s a series of tactics that drives the business forward. Yes, it’s underpinned by technology, and having the right system is important, but technology is not the goal in itself.
So a CRM strategy is vital, which means ensuring that everyone is committed to it is crucial. The customers I meet that are most successful with CRM have invariably put in place a steering committee that champions its use in the firm.
If you think about it CRM doesn’t just involve business development or the marketing group. It involves everyone in the company – the secretaries that input data, the finance team that invoices clients, the lawyers that work with clients on a day-to-day basis, the HR department that ensures the firm has the right skills.
To run a successful CRM strategy firms need to promote it at managing board level and involve everyone in its inception, operation and evolution. Because evolve it will. As the firm grows, expands and adapts to market conditions, so the CRM strategy will have to evolve to continue to support it.
Measure for success
And, when setting the CRM strategy deciding how it will be measured is vital too. What will constitute success – increased revenue per client, increased profit per client, new clients brought on board, sector growth? Having clear measures enables the success of the strategy to be judged, so firms can identify areas for adjustment and constantly improve performance.
Flexibility is key
So what does all this mean for CRM system selection? Top of the list should be choosing a system that is quick to configure for today’s needs and adapt as requirements change. The last thing firms need is to be locked into difficult and time consuming programming every time a change is needed.
Solutions like Lexis® InterAction® not only provide firms with the flexibility they need, they also continuously provide new features and functions that allow firms to benefit from advances in technology.
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