At last year's InterAction Share event, attendees were asked to answer the following question: What would make InterAction more effective in your firm? The responses were interesting and highlighted three key issues that were important to the respondents:
- Partner buy-in is the one issue that is most likely to make a difference
- End user adoption
- New InterAction functionality
Partner buy-in is clearly important as within law firms, personnel tend to follow the lead of the Partners (as opposed to doing what the firm's HR, Training or Intranet encourages them to do). The level of user adoption of a solution like InterAction is directly proportional to the Partners actual usage of it… when it comes to law firms, imitation it seems is not only the sincerest form of flattery, but it can also be one of the most powerful motivators for solution adoption.
If you get the Partners to engage and use technology, you will by default get a greater number of Associates, Executive Assistants and Trainees using it too.
New InterAction functionality is something our clients often ask for: “This one new feature would make all the difference to user adoption at our firm”. In fact, our experience is that functional enhancements rarely make a significant difference to user adoption over the longer term (which of course is itself the most fundamental ingredient in making any solution truly effective).
So how can a firm leverage these three elements to make InterAction more effective? It's really important to start with an appreciation that success in client relationship management and new client acquisition is not just about investing in technology, but about developing processes that can be understood and committed to by the firm's personnel. The most successful organisations understand this and invest heavily in communicating the importance of engaging with new processes and the technology that supports them – in a nutshell, all three elements need to be pointing in the same direction.
An approach that can be effective in getting change established is to select an initial cohort of Partners who want to make the firm's business development initiative a success. Once others see that those Partners directly benefit and are more effective at business development, a natural groundswell often occurs, which motivates the whole firm to adopt business development-centric processes and the technology that delivers results.
InterAction, as I am fond of saying, is like a game of dot-to-dot, where the dots are elements of functionality and the joins make up the process; highlighting what elements of the system your firm should harness to achieve a specific outcome and in what order your firm will make the most appropriate use of the solutions functionality. Don't be fooled into thinking that simply investing in technology results in the achievement of the firm's business development aspirations. Whizzy features soon lose their luster if they do not achieve a specific goal. Start by creating two or three simple and clear processes, then configure InterAction to support them and train your people so that they know how to complete their contribution. People are more motivated to engage when they understand the process and appreciate that the technology makes it easy for them – e.g. creating a reminder to call a particular client at a predetermined date and time or initiating a prospective client plan by conducting research on who in the firm already knows someone there.
At LexisNexis, we fully appreciate that creating business development processes, designing reports and linking all of this with firms' InterAction configuration is challenging. That is why (in an effort to assist with the people/process/technology challenge), the InterAction product development team has been working hard to create a solution that assists firms in defining and supporting the business development processes whilst delivering appropriate metrics. This allows the firm's management to monitor and improve how it approaches business development. All this is whilst effectively leveraging the firm's existing investment in InterAction relationship intelligence. After all, it's your firm's relationships with clients that makes your firm a unique proposition in the minds of your clients.
Business Edge is a new module specifically focused on the business development processes that can help your firm become a leader, with minimum effort. It makes business development central to the way the firm functions – and that not only makes InterAction more effective, but it achieves it by satisfying all three of the most important issues on the Share event's attendees wish list.