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Better Data, Better Decisions

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At the recent Legal Marketing Association Regional Conference, we gained some insight on effective collaboration between marketing and IT to advance strategic firm projects. A big part of marketing revolves around relationship-building, and technology is helping firms to better understand client needs.

Most firms already know that the marketing, business development, and IT teams need to play in the same sandbox, but some firms have even aligned these departments with the goal of building an effective firm strategy. They may have already worked together to create reports that show what’s happening with their clients, prospects, matters, and revenue.

Winning through predictive analytics

Even though some dynamic firms have established cross-department collaborations, a critical few have had these internal partnerships in place for years, with an eye on winning through predictive analytics. These Forward-Thinking Critical Few (FTCF) have leapfrogged into the upper-right quadrant of their strategic reporting to produce a what’s-next outlook for the firm.

This high-level predictive reporting might seem impossible for some firms, but it might be easier than you think. What are these firms doing really well and how do you get there?

The FTCF use technology to create the big data they need to win. Specifically, they have mastered the work of integrating their data so that it provides the answers to strategic questions. To start figuring out which data sets you can utilise to move your firm forward, ask yourself the following:

  • How well do you understand your top clients and what makes your relationships strong? You can answer this question by integrating your time and billing system with your customer relationship management (CRM) system. This will help you to determine which efforts are producing the positive results that you are after and how you can tweak your approach to increase profits.
  • Do you know from which top industries the firms’ clients and prospects originate? By integrating your CRM with a commercial data source, like Dun & Bradstreet, you can gain valuable insight that will help you target your marketing efforts in a meaningful way.
  • Do you recognise who is most experienced to work on matters in a particular industry? When you integrate your experience database with your CRM system, you can make better talent matches and smarter business decisions.

These integrations can provide a wealth of information and provide valuable guidance for a successful strategic vision. Take this advice with a word of caution, however.

Build a strong vision with reliable data

Integrations are only as effective as the data that is being collected. What is your most fundamentally accurate data source? How reliable is this data? Is the accuracy maintained so that it can remain your most trusted data source?

We found that the most significant takeaway from the conference was “know your data.” When you can identify what data your firm needs most and where it comes from, you can make strong decisions and invest in its accuracy. In other words, you can’t build a strong vision without deeply reliable data sources.

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