“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." - William Arthur Ward
Getting fee earners to use CRM systems can be difficult. Indeed I have seen CRM deployments fail because fee earners did not buy into it. But why is that? There doesn’t seem to be a problem getting fee earners to use other systems.
Fee earners need Microsoft Word to write the legal documents they supply to their clients. So there is already an identified ‘need’ to use it. The same applies to Microsoft Outlook and the Practice Management System (PMS). Without Outlook they can’t communicate, and without a PMS they can’t bill (which we all know is very important to fee earners!). As a result, they make it a priority to learn these software systems.
LexisNexis InterAction is a very different beast. Business development and marketing professionals may agree that adopting a CRM system is essential for managing clients efficiently, effectively and profitably. But fee earners have never had a ‘need’ for a CRM system before, which can make it difficult to get them on board. So why should they need one now? Here’s the answer.
Over the last few years, the legal industry has changed dramatically. Competition has intensified significantly. Fee earners can no longer take it for granted that customers will come back time after time. Clients are continually looking for where they can get the best value. And, of course, other law firms are continually trying to turn your clients’ heads in their direction.
Added to this, people movement in the legal industry is huge, which creates its own challenges. After all, it’s not companies that are loyal, it’s the individuals within those companies. If they move on then the loyalty is lost unless effort is put into nurturing the people who take over.
Which brings us back to why fee earners ‘need’ CRM. In this new legal environment, they cannot just keep their head down and focus on the matters in hand. They must always be thinking about where the next matter is coming from, working with a statement of objectives (SOO) that builds relationships and results in future business.
But here comes the dichotomy. To deliver the best quality service they must focus all their attention on the current matters they are dealing with, which leaves little time for anything else. So, when they are busy (which they always are) relationship building falls by the wayside. And, if by any chance they aren’t busy, it’s not immediately obvious which objectives in their SOO are the highest priority to work on.
And that is exactly why fee earners need CRM.
A well-run CRM system helps fee earners maximise the use of the limited time they have available for marketing and business development. It does so by providing fee earners with:
- Recommendations about which clients they should contact and when
- A full history of client contacts, activities, and interactions so they are always fully up-to-date and aware of developments
- Opportunities at clients other fee earners in the firm are already working with.
So, when the time comes to talk to fee earners about your new CRM system, forget the training. First you need to clearly demonstrate why they ‘need’ CRM.
In my next blog, I’ll look at practical ideas and actions that will inspire your fee earners and have them beating a path to your door for training on how to use the system.