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Gathering requirements for CRM

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What is CRM supposed to do? It depends who you ask. For some fee earners, they need a contact list. For marketers, it is a collection of strategic information on clients and prospects. For business developers, it is a tool to track proposals and activities. For firm leadership, it is a means to grow the firm. Before you move on to gathering requirements, you must identify who the stakeholders are.

Internal stakeholders

Obviously, the marketing, business development and technology departments are all stakeholders. They will manage the CRM rollout, implementation and operation. However, it is important to keep in mind that the fee earners, heads of operational groups (practices, offices, etc.) and firm management are also stakeholders. If you will be tapping into data from finance, human resources and other departments, then they are also stakeholders.

External stakeholders

CRM, when properly used, benefits clients. They should be one of the primary stakeholders. However, many firms do not take this into account when planning and gathering requirements. What do your clients want from your CRM system? How will it help them? Alumni, referral sources, vendors and other external collection of people that help you execute your mission are also stakeholders.

Remember what the ‘C’ in CRM stands for: Client.

It is easy to get distracted by all of things that the system could do. By thinking about the client as the primary stakeholder, it helps you define what it should do. How will CRM help your clients make or save money, look smart in front of their peers or boss and be happy that they are achieving their personal and professional goals? Once you are gathering requirements using this point of view, its purpose and position should be much easier to define and defend.

CRM must be positioned as a strategic imperative in order to deliver better results to the client.

There still will be promoters and detractors. Rainmakers may oppose CRM because it breaks down information barriers and exposes relationship details. They may view this as an important value they bring to the firm, so they will raise objections or decline to participate. Other department heads may resent the budget and attention that is being devoted to the project that may take away from their own goals. Others may view this as an added complexity to the firm’s infrastructure that might cause something essential to “break” (email, security, document management).

There will be many stakeholders and managers of CRM. The primary stakeholder should always be the client. The champion needs to be a member of the firm’s upper management. That champion is fighting to achieve the top 2-3 goals of the firm that would benefit the client.

The requirements, stated clearly by the champion should address how CRM will help you meet the top two or three things that MUST go right to deliver better results for the client.

This blog is the second in the series ‘Building the Business Case for CRM. Read previous blog here

Tags: InterAction

About the Author:


Darryl Cross is Vice President, Performance Development and Coaching at LexisNexis; and an acclaimed inspirational speaker. A certified business coach with the Association for Talent Development, Cross has presented to over 10,000 fee earners and business executives from over 100 countries. He is also an internationally recognised author on best practices in the subjects of law firm profitability, coaching, strategic marketing, leveraging relationships, social networking, business development and competitive intelligence.

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