Making the Most of Your Virtual Conference: LMA Tech West Edition

With most conferences moving to virtual experiences for time time being, it’s likely you’ve already attended one if not several. For many, moving in person events to an online platform made them more accessible and more affordable.

It’s no secret that many of us are experiencing virtual meeting fatigue. However, virtual conferences continue to provide a great opportunity for engagement and education from the comfort of offices (wherever those may be located these days). In 2020, many conference organizers held successful virtual events and even managed to capture some of the networking magic we thought could only happen in person. The LMA Annual Conference hosted a talent show where members performed and at ILTACON volunteers hosted walks around their towns, virtual tastings, and even some stand up comedy.

If you’re attending LMA Tech West this week, consider some of the following to make the most of your conference experience:

  • Log on early to familiarize yourself with the conference platform. The LMA Tech West Conference is utilizing Pheedloop which is an all-in-one platform to provide opportunities to participate in sessions and networking, too. Visit the exhibit hall, talk to vendors and other attendees and get the lay of the virtual land.
  • Block off the time on your calendar. If your firm allows it, think about adding an out of office message to let your colleagues know you’ll be attending and that your responses may be delayed.
  • Review the agenda to identify the can’t-miss sessions. Many virtual conferences provide attendees with access to post-conference recordings and LMA Tech West is no different. One of the unique features of an online conference is the opportunity to engage with session through chat – something you can’t take advantage of in a recording. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to attend every session, think about flagging those you’re really interested in and make a point to attend to ask questions during the live session.
  • Engage! If you’re active on Twitter or other social media, use the conference hashtags to share your thoughts and engage with other attendees and the speakers. Think about sharing your favorite takeaways.
  • Network! Most conferences have built-in chat capabilities. As a vendor, we love it when people stop by to say hello. It’s okay if you’re not in the market for CRM. Stop by and ask questions. Let us know how the conference is going for you.
  • Talk to the speakers. At LMA events, most of these speakers are your legal marketing peers. They’ve put a lot of effort into their presentations. Let them know what you’ve learned and your key takeaways. This is a great opportunity to ask follow-up questions if you didn’t get a chance during the session, too.
  • Don’t keep what you’ve learned to yourself! Think about sharing your thoughts on LinkedIn or in an LMA blog. Make sure that your firm knows the value you found in the conference and how you plan to use what you’ve learned.

ContactEase Welcomes Denise Ash as Customer Success Team Leader

ContactEase is pleased to welcome Denise Ash as Customer Success Team Leader. In this newly created role, Ash will serve as a liaison between the ContactEase Support Team and clients to ensure a seamless customer support experience.

Ash joins ContactEase from the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA). At ILTA, she served as Education Coordinator, planning educational sessions at the leading legal technology organization’s conferences and serving the member liaison community. She first became involved with ILTA through her role as a User Application Specialist at West Virginia law firm, Robinson & McElwee. Ash served as the Regional Member Liaison for Charleston, West Virginia, and as a member of the Apps and Coordinating team. She is also a recipient of ILTA’s Distinguished Peer Award – User Support Champion.

Denise brings nearly two decades of law firm IT experience to ContactEase. Most recently, she was the Training Manager at Jackson Kelly PLLC where she was responsible for training the firm’s users on ContactEase and managed several significant software deployments.

Denise lives in St. Albans, West Virginia, and has two adult children. In her spare time, she enjoys local history, team trivia, escape rooms, and cheering on the Marshall University Thundering Herd.

Whittier to Discuss CRM Strategy at LMA Eastern Canada Conference

As new platforms and “CRM adjacent” technologies have emerged to work alongside primary CRM systems, there has been a huge change in the marketing and business development technology landscape. Jennifer Whittier joins a panel of industry experts at the 2019 LMA Eastern Canada Conference to help marketers navigate this changing landscape and share how how to build a strategic technology and marketing plan.
The panelists will discuss how marketers can build a strategic (and successful) plan for marketing technology, audit what they currently have to establish how well it addresses their changing needs, create a business case, and win the approval of their lawyers to maximize the firm’s return on investment for CRM.

STAMP of Approval: Building a Strategic Technology and Marketing Plan
November 21, 2019 at Hyatt Regency Toronto | Breakout C2 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. 

Panelists:

  • Michael Warren, Vice President, CRM Practice – Wilson Allen
  • Alison Janzen, Director of Marketing & Business Development – Torkin Manes
  • Kim Farwell, Director, Marketing & Communications – Blake, Cassels & Graydon
  • Jennifer Whittier, President – Cole Valley Software

For more information on the LMA Eastern Canada Conference or to register, visit: https://www.legalmarketing.org/page/2019-eastern-canada/homepage

LMA 19: See You Soon Atlanta!

LMA Exhibitor Resized
As a long-time supporter of the Legal Marketing Association, we look forward to the annual conference every year. We get to catch up with clients and friends and learn about new technology and trends in the industry. It’s a lot of fun and we always learn something new! You can find us in the Exhibit Hall at Booth 227, but we’re looking forward to catching a few sessions as well. The agenda for this year’s conference looks great. Here are a few sessions we’re excited about and why we’re planning to  #stayuntiltheend:

How to Secure a Seat and Have Your Voice Heard at the Power Table
Breakout Session Two | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. | Wednesday, April 10

A panel of diverse directors, CMOs and CBDMOs from Am Law 100, 200 and beyond will share their best practices for demonstrating value to the firm’s leadership and the internal client. Gain tips and takeaways through real-life examples and success stories. Plus, hear stories about what not to do when you want to be heard. Your input and participation is encouraged and there will be ample time for your questions and comments. You will leave better equipped to forge a plan of action and timeline for becoming a trusted advisor to the firm while seated at the power table.

Why We’re Excited:
Did you know that several members of the ContactEase team are former law firm marketers? While we’re no longer working inside law firms five days a week, we use our experience every day when talking to clients. We understand how challenging it can be to show your value and find your voice. We look forward to taking the information we learn in this session and sharing it with our clients.

The Outsourced Resource: How to Identify, Hire and Leverage Consultants with Internal Resources to Achieve Your Strategic Objectives
Breakout Session One | 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. | Wednesday, April 10

Law firms are continuing to pursue efficiencies — from technological advancements to outsourcing roles. Allowing certain support staff roles — or specific projects — in both the practice and business of law to be outsourced has been beneficial in enabling law firms to focus on the evolution of legal services. Outsourcing is relevant to marketing leadership, whose teams are often stretched thin and yet face expectations to deliver results, which are higher than ever. This panel dives into how to maximize your use of both external and internal resources to achieve strategic objectives.

Why We’re Excited:
Clients often come to us looking for ways to increase efficiency. Often this is by integration marketing automation tools with CRM (see Yes, You Can Successfully Integrate Your Website with CRM for one example). While some clients seek to optimize efficiency through integration of their technologies, others look to outside consultants. We’re excited to learn how marketing departments are making the case for these additional resources, who they’re hiring and how they keep the momentum going.

CRM Therapy — The (Juris) Doctor is in: Client CRM Confessions
Breakout Session Five | 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. | Wednesday, April 10

Research suggests that up to 70% of CRM implementations fail to meet expectations. This not only results in a tremendous loss of money, time and resources, but also stress and anxiety for marketing professionals trying to implement the systems.

But CRM systems don’t have to drive you crazy. During this therapy session (aka, presentation), marketing professionals who have implemented a variety of CRM systems will share their biggest headaches and frustrations from a “therapy couch.” And, the CRM “doctor” will offer some of the most successful “treatments/remedies” that include best practices for CRM success.

In this engaging and outside-the-box presentation, you will benefit from a “CRM therapy” session covering a variety of topics.

Why We’re Excited:
ContactEase has one of the highest CRM adoption rates in the industry (over 90%). Clients will often come to us having experienced a failed CRM implementation. Over the years, we’ve developed our own playbook for successful implementations. We’re excited to learn from other firms’ experiences — how to avoid common pitfalls, set and achieve goals and work as a team.

What sessions are you most excited about this year? Will you #stayuntiltheend?

Jennifer Whittier Writes on 2019 Legal Marketing Trends in Industry Report

In the recently released 2019 Legal Marketing Trends from FSquared Marketing, Jennifer Whittier from ContactEase  shares why she thinks 2019 is the year of the bridge when it comes to CRM data.  Jennifer joins other leading law firm marketing experts to share insight on important trends for 2019.

Law firm leadership is experiencing data overload when trying to make decisions for the future. While the law firm business model is based on relationships, the financial data that drives firm management is often disconnected from the relationship data.  It isn’t just financial data we struggle with either. Data resides in many places besides the CRM system: ERM systems, eMarketing systems, social media, and experience databases. 2019 will be the year of the bridge–between the data silos and the CRM database,

Jennifer Whittier in CRM in 2019: The Year of the Bridge.

Trends identified for 2019 include:

  • Using tech to productize legal services
  • Replacing random acts of content with a data-focused approach
  • Threats & opportunities in web accessibility
  • The rich opportunities of local search marketing
  • Bridging data sources through CRM
  • An increase in budgets, hiring, and specialization within legal marketing

fb_linked-legal-marketing-trends-2019

Click here to read the 2019 Legal Marketing Trends from FSquared Marketing.

Yes, You Can Successfully Integrate Your Website with CRM

With integrations all the rage, you might be wondering if they can benefit to your firm. The answer is most likely yes. ContactEase’s Director of Client Services, Amber Elliott, and ORBA’s Director of Marketing, Joy Long, discussed their experiences integrating ORBA’s website with CRM and its content delivery system, Constant Contact, at the Legal Marketing Association’s Tech Midwest Conference in Chicago earlier this month.

Ask Joy what she thinks of technology and she’ll tell you, “I appreciate and understand the benefits of what technology can bring to a firm. But, I also know that it’s a team effort and I need to have a right hand tech professional who understands the specifications.” So, when she began looking into integrating her website with other marketing technology tools, finding that right hand took priority. And a right hand is just what she found in Amber at ContactEase.

When Joy joined ORBA, a Chicago-based accounting firm, one of her first projects was to phase out the old paper client newsletter and implement regular, timely electronic communications. She was also tasked with purchasing a CRM. At the time, the firm had a fledgling blog, one paper newsletter and one mailing list. The process for publishing the blog was cumbersome and time consuming. Joy knew there was a better way. As anyone who has tried to effect change in a professional services firm knows, change doesn’t come fast or easy, and this is especially true when it comes to integrations. Some firms attempt to do this too early. When it comes to integrations, go, but go slow.  Amber recommends thinking about the integration as the second phase of an implementation. Implement the individual systems and allow your professionals to become comfortable with the workflow in order to identify areas for improvement.

Since implementing a CRM system about five years ago, the firm has grown from one blog to a content platform that includes nine industry and service blogs, eight quarterly newsletters and approximately two dozen client alerts. In addition, the firm sends an annual holiday card, firm announcements and is looking to add another new blog by the end of this year. Needless to say, integrating ORBA’s website with ContactEase and Constant Contact has greatly simplified the process to get each piece of content out the door and has saved the marketing department several hours each month, which they are redirecting toward other marketing initiatives.

Some things to remember when making the case for an integration:

  • Go, but go slow. Think of the integration as the second phase of implementation.
  • Show the value. When you can demonstrate how much time your department spends completing manual tasks that can be automated (e., show how much time you’re wasting), it’s easier to show the value an integration between two systems would bring (in other words, you can do even more).
  • Involve your technology partners from the start. Understand their capabilities and how they integrate with your existing systems.
  • Use your team to outline existing processes and test new ones to work out the kinks. They can identify redundancies and areas for potential automation.

Joy knew what she wanted to accomplish with her integration, but she also reaped some unexpected benefits. She knew that her content manager would save a good deal of time using the new process, but it ended up being more than she expected. As a result, she’s been able to refocus this time on driving the SEO process and has seen a marked improvement in the firm’s SEO scores and other analytics. Joy has some advice for those considering an integration:

  • Work backwards. Identify your goals, your end game and then figure out how to get there.
  • Know your budget, but build in some flexibility for the unexpected.
  • It’s a team effort. Find and identify your internal and external team (IT, marketing, technology partners, etc.) and include them from the beginning of the project so they understand what role each must play.
  • Understand your technical capabilities and make sure you have a good working relationship with your IT department.
  • Get it all in writing. Ask for a Statement of Work. Develop steps and best practices to help you identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as gaps in your existing processes.
  • Be patient. Sometimes it takes time to work out the kinks.

As a result of working on hundreds of successful CRM implementations, Amber stresses the two things all successful implementations share: a scope of work and clearly defined team responsibilities.  In addition to the considerations listed above, Amber recommends that anyone considering an integration should:

  • Ensure that the expectations (for the integration, your firm and your technology partners) are documented for clarity and agreed on by all parties involved. It is important that the objectives and desired outcomes are accounted for by everyone.
  • It must be a team effort. Programmers won’t understand your business processes and you shouldn’t expect them to. Integrations are still systems development.
  • Look for vendors who understand your workflow. When you’re selecting products, consider your team – you’ll be working closely with them for the duration.
  • Identify an internal project manager. Ideally this should be someone who has the time and ability to shepherd the process and oversee each step.

Following these best practices paid off for Joy and her firm. Joy’s experience shows us that, with a little effort, integrations can improve a firm’s internal processes and deliver a return on investment as well. Now the real question is what does she do with all that free time?

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Whittier and Amber Elliott to Present at LMA Tech Midwest 2018

LMA Tech Midwest Speaking

Join us at LMA Tech Midwest in Chicago! Integrations are all the rage, but are they always the best answer? In this case study presentation, Joy Long, Director of Marketing at Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams (ORBA), Jennifer Whittier and Amber Elliott, from ContactEase, will share their experiences integrating CRM with ORBA’s new website and Constant Contact. Tying these three systems together has automated the marketing team’s workflow, eliminating duplicate entry and the risk for human error and saving the team countless hours on mailings each month. Attendees will learn what to look for when considering an integration and more importantly, the questions they need to ask of both their technology providers and others in their firm as well as who to involve (hint: don’t forget IT).

Participants will leave this session with the information they need to lead technology adoption in their firms and how to ensure the project keeps moving forward. To learn more about LMA Tech Midwest or to register, visit: https://www.legalmarketing.org/page/lmatech/midwest/2018/Home.

#LMATECH

LMA Recognizes Bradley CRM Implementation with 2018 Your Honor Awards

NEW ORLEANS — The Legal Marketing Association (LMA) has selected Bradley as the First Place winner in the Technology Management: Software and Applications category of the 2018 Your Honor Awards. The award was presented to Bradley and technology partners, ContactEase and CLIENTSFirst Consulting for its CRM implementation, Bradley Connect, at the 2018 LMA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The project was also recognized with an honorable mention in the Technology Management: Applications and Innovative Use of Technology category.

“It is such an honor for our work to be recognized by the Legal Marketing Association. The success of this project would not have been possible without the leadership and support of the firm’s Marketing Committee, Bradley’s Director of Business Development and Marketing, Kelly Schrupp, our IT Project Manager, Jason Bentley and the rest of the marketing and business development and IT teams,” said Jacqueline Madarang, Senior Marketing Technology Manager at Bradley. “Attorneys are actually using the CRM to uncover and identify relationships and the firm’s clients and contacts are receiving timely industry alerts and news. It’s very exciting for us to see the hard work pay off.”

Kelly Schrupp, Director of Business Development and Marketing, said, “I’m proud of what the team has accomplished in a short period of time and am so glad they have been recognized for their commitment and the hard work they put in every day to make the CRM rollout successful.”

The LMA Your Honor Awards program recognizes excellence in legal marketing by promoting projects and programs that showcase innovation and return on marketing dollar investment. A panel of expert judges awarded first-, second-, third-place and/or honorable mention in 16 categories, encompassing work related to business development, business of law, client services, communications, marketing management and leadership, and technology.

“The Your Honor Awards winners showcase the best in the legal marketing industry, from creativity and execution to achievement and overall excellence,” said Betsi Roach, LMA Executive Director. “LMA is proud to celebrate member achievements and highlight the brilliant work our community is doing, further affirming our position as a thought leader in the legal industry.”

About Bradley Connect
The implementation was a tremendous effort on behalf of the firm’s teams. Attorneys and staff had little faith in prior systems because contacts could not be globally updated and relationships couldn’t be identified or segmented, resulting in redundant emails asking “who knows whom” and an inability to track open and bounce back rates. Looking past the implementation process, it was important that users understood the firm’s goals for the system. It was also important to staff the firm properly starting with the Marketing Technology team led by Jacqueline Madarang and Bradley partner, Justin McDonald. Users can now see “who knows whom” and other relationships a client may touch. They can now add contacts to mailings and are seeing the results of this relationship intelligence – they now benefit from seeing the relationships within the firm. Attorneys once hesitant to share contacts are now doing so. Of the almost 500 users trained, the few not participating are due only to scheduling and not resistance.

For a complete list of the 2018 Your Honor Awards winners, visit www.legalmarketing.org. Learn more about Bradley at bradley.comContactEase at contactease.com and CLIENTSFirst at clientsfirstconsulting.com.

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About the Legal Marketing Association
Founded in 1985, the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) is the universal voice of the legal marketing and business development profession, a community that brings together CMOs to entry-level specialists from firms of all sizes, consultants and vendors, lawyers, marketers from other professions and marketing students to share their collective knowledge. More than 90 percent of the largest 200 U.S. law firms employ an LMA member. Members at every stage in their career development benefit from participating in LMA’s array of programs and services.

LMA has eight regions and dozens of local groups across the U.S. and Canada, and its more than 4,200 members hail from 49 U.S. states and 28 countries. For more information, visit www.legalmarketing.org. If you would like to connect with LMA regarding this press release or the Your Honor Awards, please contact Stephanie Kusibab of the Legal Marketing Association at (312) 673-5954 or skusibab@legalmarketing.org.

Don’t Gamble on CRM: Ask the Experts at ILTA

CEVegas

Don’t take a gamble with your firm’s technology dollars. An important decision like CRM shouldn’t be made with a roll of the dice. Spend time with us and you’ll see why ContactEase has over a 90% success rate and is the CRM of choice in over 250 law and accounting firms with over 16,000 users worldwide. Whether you’re looking to implement a CRM system or just curious about what it can do for your firm, be sure to stop by and see us at Booth 535.

You’ll have the opportunity to meet the experts – current ContactEase clients – who will share their insights and experiences on everything from successfully implementing a CRM system and integrating with existing systems (such as time and billing) to working with other departments (like marketing) to engage your users and increase efficiencies across your firm.

While you’re there, say hello to our team of in-house experts, most of whom have worked in law firms themselves. With decades of combined in-house IT and marketing experience, no matter where you are in the CRM process or the challenges you’re facing, there’s a good chance we’ve been there.

We can’t wait to see you all in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. With a greater than 90% success rate, we’re the closest thing to a sure bet you’ll find!

Don’t Gamble on CRM: Ask the Experts (Our Clients) at #LMA17

Gambling can be great fun in Las Vegas, but gambling on an investment like CRM? Not so much.

If it’s time to invest in CRM (or if your current system isn’t working as well as you’d like), be sure to stop by Booth 315. You’ll have the opportunity to mix and mingle with current ContactEase clients who will share their insight and experiences on everything from making the case for CRM and getting buy-in from management to successfully implementing the system and showing a return on investment.

Don’t take a gamble with your marketing dollars or the trust of your attorneys.

Meet our experts, the in-house marketers that work with ContactEase every day, and learn:

  • How to get buy-in for your firm
  • How ContactEase can enhance your firm’s strategic marketing and communication efforts
  • Hindsight: what your peers wish they knew before getting started with CRM

Tuesday Morning (10:00 – 10:45) meet:

  • Kim Hafley, Director of Marketing & Recruitment, Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC
  • Ellen Page, Manager of Business Development & Marketing, Chaffetz Lindsey LLP

Tuesday Afternoon (2:45 – 3:30) meet:

  • Jim Jarrell, Director of Marketing & Practice Development, Stark & Stark
  • Joy Long, Director of Marketing, Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams LTD

Wednesday Morning (10:30 – 11:00) meet:

  • Jenn Merlin, Marketing Manager, Houser, Henry & Syron LLP
  • Alison Janzen, Marketing Director, Torkin Manes LLP

Ask the ContactEase Experts (our Clients)