In my last blog we looked at re-positioning your CRM system – keying off an area where it’s being used successfully to sell it to a wider audience and derive more value for the business. But what happens if your CRM system is languishing everywhere? Relaunching could be the answer.
What do we mean by relaunch? The term suggests ripping out and starting again – and that may be necessary in order to get your CRM system back on track. And, of course, there can be negative connotations to the word ‘relaunch’, as it suggests the first implementation was a failure. But if you are honest with everyone about the reasons it didn’t work the first time and communicate why it will work this time a relaunch can work.
The key question is what must be done to ensure it is a success because, after all, it will be a costly exercise. Based on my experience at a number of law firms here are my top four tips for success.
Clean your data
Be ruthless here. A CRM system is only as good as the data it holds. Depending on the state of your current system it may mean ripping out all client data and starting again.
If you decide on this approach it makes sense to consider who your top 50 or 100 clients are and start your cleaning exercise with them. After all, they contribute most to the bottom line and taking care of your relationships with them is paramount. While we’re on the subject you might also want to archive the data that is currently in the system rather than deleting it. That way you can always get it back later if you should need to.
You can also consider a self-service client data audit – getting the information you need directly from clients. Offering an incentive will encourage clients to engage in this process.
You should also review your data change processes and be ruthless about what data you allow into the new system. Don’t be afraid to push back on a contact that is incomplete or irrelevant to the firm. You may have to go through a little pain before fee earners understand the importance of good data. But it will pay dividends in the end.
Customise your configuration
People buy into a new system best when it supports them in what they are trying to achieve. So it’s imperative to take the time to think through and configure the system to meet the needs of the main users.
For example, how will it support your marketing and communications strategy? How will it dovetail with your business development strategy? How can you make it as relevant and easy-to-use as possible for fee earners?
And don’t forget to consider integrating the new system with your financial, HR or practice management systems? They can all add valuable information to client profiles, which will automatically demonstrate that the new system is more valuable than the old system. However, be practical, only integrate if it is viable and you have the internal skill set or budget to do it successfully.
Design your reports to support your key client programmes and business development strategy. And don’t overwhelm fee earners and other users with too many reports. Make them sharp and relevant. Remember, sometimes less is more.
Consider also whether you need to invest a little more money to develop SQL Server Reporting Services or third party reporting tools to help deliver information to the fee earners in an efficient and regular way.
Invest in training
I cannot over-emphasise the importance of investing a lot of time in re-training users on the system. It can be one-on-one or small groups sessions but, whatever you choose, make sure it is thorough and targeted to each type of user - secretary, fee earner, business development executive, IT etc.
To get fee earner buy in it is essential that they are given more than ‘point and click’ training. The CRM Manager and Business Development Manager need to embark on an internal ‘sales pitch’ to help the fee earners understand the tangible benefits they will gain from using the system. And, most importantly, you need to make sure you deliver the promises they make.
Next time we’ll take a look at when you might want to think about re-branding your CRM system.