As we discussed in my last blog, CRM systems are often underutilised because there is a lack of understanding about how they can help business development. So, if you’re having trouble explaining to business development professionals why they should utilise your CRM system, here are five arguments to put to them.
1. Boost key account relationships
Most firms these days have key account management programmes and find them valuable. And your CRM system can boost their efficiency substantially. By ring fencing the major players and influencers at your key clients - and logging activities such as direct fee earner engagement, event and seminar attendance and readership of email marketing and thought leadership material - you can regularly report on how engaged they are with the firm. As a result, you can not only highlight where a major player has a strong relationship with the firm, but also, more importantly, identify relationships that are at risk and require attention and a strategy to reinforce them.
2. Strengthen business planning
Once the annual business planning cycle has been completed, one of the biggest challenges firms face is how to keep their business plans alive. However, by using the reports your CRM system can provide, you can consistently deliver information and intelligence about client targets. Consequently, you can not only ensure everyone is focused on the business plan, but also use the information to evolve the plan and ensure that it remains relevant to fee earners.
3. Improving industry sector pipeline management
If your firm seeks opportunities by watching projects that are being considered in specific industry sectors, it is important that your fee earners keep key relationships warm so that when the project is finally approved, your firm is front of mind.
In this situation, watching the key players in these sectors and ensuring they remain engaged with the firm, are sent relevant and targeted thought leadership material and have strong relationships with the right fee earners is imperative to winning the work. Your CRM system is the perfect vehicle for tracking the progress of these opportunities, keeping everyone informed about how far down the ‘funnel’ they are and, ultimately, providing information about why deals are won or lost.
4. Developing more leads
Keeping information up-to-date in your CRM system can seem like a tedious task. But there are ways to make it simpler and increase the accuracy of information. Why not put a self-select form on your website and ask clients to add their areas of interest into the database as part of the onboarding process - or ask them to update their preferences on an annual basis. Doing this can uncover legal areas of interest not previously known to your firm and provide valuable new leads and cross-selling opportunities whilst ensuring you are delivering targeted content that the client wants.
5. Engaging clients more effectively
Without the right intelligence it’s all too easy for marketing teams to develop and deliver content that clients aren’t interested in. And let’s face facts, working on uninteresting content is a waste of your time and of firm’s money.
By using your CRM database, you can deliver telling statistical reports that show the topics clients are interested in. Armed with this information business development professionals can convince fee earners to write on topics that are relevant to clients’ circumstances and sector. Your CRM system can also help you get the content to market more quickly and have it sent to a more targeted audience.
Of course, all of this depends on consistently encouraging fee earners to enter all business and client development activity into the system. Without the whole picture, none of the above can be achieved. But, when information is entered into the system, the firm can become much more efficient at tracking, reporting and delivering important business development initiatives and, ultimately, win more work. Because in the end… isn’t that the goal of any business development professional?