Acquisitions and mergers are increasingly common in the legal market and the objective is clear - to increase market share and exploit synergies between firms. But to do so, the newly created entity must be able to consolidate the information it holds about clients. And that means merging customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
The benefits of doing so are clear. Getting data from both firms onto a single system allows you to:
- Communicate with your contacts and clients as a single entity, avoiding duplication
- Demonstrate that the merger isn’t in name only
- Unlock relationships known to both entities to allow up-selling and cross-selling
- Integrate marketing communications and business development initiatives
However, to ensure a successful project there are some important considerations that must be taken into account before you start. Here are 10 key questions you should ask yourself:
- What are the key business goals and business development plans for the merged firm?
- Who is representing CRM on consolidation projects in the merged firm?
- Will there be a single database and if so, where will it be housed?
- What configuration is required from the merged system to support communications?
- Will CRM need to be integrated with other systems that are being merged?
- Who is going to carry out the work to merge the systems and data?
- What external and internal communications and training need to be undertaken and in what period of time?
- What commercial agreements need to be re-drawn?
- Is there a time constraint on merging systems?
- Is there a cultural change management requirement?
The above is not a comprehensive checklist of all considerations. Each merging firm will very likely have its own unique requirements. Nevertheless, the above are common considerations for all firms. Furthermore, if you are about to start on a merger or acquisition, there’s no reason you can’t ask yourself these questions as you’re going through the negotiations – it will help you accelerate the consolidation of the two CRM systems once the process is completed.