Building on Law Firm Experience, ContactEase Welcomes Deborah Dobson

ContactEase is pleased to welcome Deborah (Deb) Dobson to its growing team of experienced law firm marketing and IT professionals. In the newly created role of Business Analyst, Dobson will work closely with the development team and key stakeholders to understand the needs of our clients and translate them into technical specifications to ensure continuous delivery and enhance the client experience.

With over twenty years of experience working in law firms, Dobson’s understanding of the legal industry, paired with her technical savvy, makes her a great addition to the ContactEase team. ContactEase President, Jennifer Whittier, said “Not only does Deb have a great reputation in the industry, but she understands the importance of using technology to help lawyers reach their business goals. We’re excited to welcome her to the team.”

Prior to joining ContactEase, Dobson was the Marketing Technology Manager at Fisher Phillips where she collaborated with firm leadership to implement large scale technology projects and leverage marketing technology across the firm. In addition to her legal marketing experience, Dobson was the Assistant Director of Information Systems at Spencer Fane for nearly a decade.

When she isn’t writing or speaking on blockchain, she enjoys photography and learning new technologies.

Fun fact: Deb is an identical twin!

What Star Wars Can Teach Us About Implementing CRM

It’s May the 4th. Do you know that that means? It’s Star Wars Day! Smart legal marketers have always known that ContactEase is the easiest to use CRM in the galaxy. If you’re wondering why this is worth mentioning on a CRM blog, read on.

The Star Wars franchise can provide important lessons for marketers implementing new technology. In this post, we’ll share a few of our favorite bits of wisdom from Yoda and how to apply it to your firm’s CRM strategy.

Determine Your Path

In the Path of the Jedi episode of Star Wars Rebels, Yoda says, “Your path you must decide.” This is true for any successful implementation. Before you get started, think about the problems you’re trying to solve and the efficiencies you’re hoping to gain. Establishing your path early on will help ensure your project gets off to a strong start and stays the course.

Keep Moving Forward

In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is concerned about an unsettling vision he’s had. As he wonders if it’s too late to help, Yoda tells him, “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.” Things are always changing. What marketer could’ve predicted how quickly things would change as the result of a global pandemic? And yet legal marketers pivoted and increased clients communications at a rapid pace. Things don’t always go as planned. Take time during the implementation process to check in with your team and identify any changes you’ve encountered along the way – reevaluate your priorities and check in with your stakeholders as necessary.

Meet Your Lawyers Where They Are

As a young Anakin Skywalker prepares to go before the Jedi Council in the Phantom Menace, Yoda advises him that “Fear is the path of the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.” People often fear what they do not understand and lawyers can be particularly averse to change. This can create suffering for many a law firm Jedi (i.e. the marketers). ContactEase has an industry-high adoption rate because it works with the systems your firm already has in place and that your lawyers know how to use. Unlike young Anakin, there’s nothing to learn and no extensive training required.

Share Your Knowledge

One of the most common questions we receive is, “What are other firms doing?” With hundreds of successful implementations completed, we’re always happy to share what we’ve learned. As you make your way down the path, just as Yoda told Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi, “Always pass on what you have learned.” Sharing knowledge is a great way to instill confidence and position yourself as your firm’s CRM expert.

Understand Your Lawyers’ Needs

In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is down on himself after being unable to lift his ship using the force. He says the ship is too heavy and Yoda reminds him that, “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?” As Yoda lifts the ship using the force, Luke learns that size does not matter. This is a good reminder for anyone implementing a new system. It’s easy to get distracted by bells and whistles, but if your lawyers can’t easily and reliably use it, what good is it?

Don’t Let the Past Derail Your Future

Yoda was full of wisdom, but there’s one piece of advice we’d encourage you to ignore when it comes to implementing new technology, “Once you start down the dark path forever will it dominate your destiny.” When a system didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean you should avoid implementing another. Sometimes a system simply isn’t a good fit – a firm’s strategic objectives can change over time and what once seemed a perfect solution no longer fits. Learn from your past, but don’t let it prevent you from moving forward. Whatever you decide, remember “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these 40 Yoda Quotes that Will Leave You With All the Star Wars Feels. And if you’re looking for the best CRM implementation team in the galaxy, contact us!

Identify the Need for a CRM Integration at LMA Tech West

In 2020, we learned a lot about the legal industry and its ability to pivot. Firms increased their communications at a rapid pace (one ContactEase firm reported increasing communications by more than 400%) and transitioned in-person events to webinars. How did they do this? Having the right teams and the right technology in place certainly helped.

Even before the pandemic completely changed the way law firms do business, law firm marketers were evaluating their existing technology stacks for ways to improve efficiencies, deliver excellent client service, and, yes, make their lives easier.

And that’s because technology is intended to make our lives easier. Today, there’s an app or a software solution for almost everything. But, with so many tools available, it’s important to ensure that the ones you use work together. This is why software integrations are so popular. When we talk about software integrations, we’re talking about the process of combining two or more software platforms to solve problems and improve efficiencies.

If you’re attending LMA Tech West this year, be sure to join ContactEase President, Jennifer Whittier as she moderates a discussion with Jodi Coverly, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Hutchison and Shannon Donnellan, PMP, Project Manager – Business Development at Procopio. This session will examine how the two firms adopted a forward-thinking approach to:

  • Identify the need for an integration between their systems
  • Solve the problems they identified
  • Improve efficiencies at their firms

Can’t make it to LMA Tech West this year? Contact us anytime to learn how integrations can make your life easier, improve efficiencies at your firm, and allow you to better serve your clients.

Details:

When One Solution Won’t Do: Identifying the Need for a CRM Integration
Date: April 29, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. PDT

Register for the LMA Tech West 2021 Virtual Conference at https://www.legalmarketing.org/e/in/eid=1572.

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.

When Your CRM Strategy Goes Stale

Breakups aren’t easy. When a relationship is good, but not great, it can be easy to just keep going through the motions; but, what about your firm’s relationship with CRM? Sure, implementing new technology is a challenge, but maintaining the momentum and keeping things fresh can be just as difficult. When you lose momentum, you also lose any efficiencies you hoped to gain and your firm’s users will often be left frustrated and frazzled. They may even feel like their time and efforts have been wasted and check out completely.

So, what’s a firm to do when they find their relationship with CRM has gone stale? Some firms reimplement their existing system with a focus on new goals, strategies and incentives. Meanwhile, others may choose to look for a new system altogether. From buy-in to implementation (and even ongoing adoption and usage), moving to a new CRM can take a toll on a firm’s already limited resources. When a firm invests in technology and no longer sees the value, it creates challenges for everyone.

Amber Elliott, Director of Client Services at ContactEase, understands this struggle all too well. “When we talk to firms looking to make a CRM switch, lack of user adoption is something that comes up often. Sometimes it’s because the system is just not a good fit or difficult to use. ContactEase has one of the highest adoption rates in the industry and that’s not through luck,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to to define a custom implementation process to prevent our clients from falling into that trap. When a firm’s users understand the purpose behind the project, there is a sense of unity that leads to CRM success.” And that’s the case whether a firm is making a switch to a new system or looking to reimplement an existing one.

Just as systems go stale, so do strategies. That’s why it’s important for firms to evaluate CRM strategy on an ongoing basis. It’s important to know if a system is meeting a firm’s objectives, but it’s just as important to make sure that the firm’s objectives are in alignment with the firm’s current goals. This is why it’s also important to focus on CRM as a strategy and not a one-off project. Whether it’s a new platform or a new approach to your existing system, there are a few things you can do to reinvigorate your firm’s CRM strategy:

  • Leverage Relationships with Vendors. With team of former law firm marketing and IT professionals, the team at ContactEase has not only have seen and heard it all, we’ve most likely experienced it. Ask your technology vendors what they’re hearing from other firms and don’t be afraid to look outside of your industry for new and innovative ways to approach your CRM strategy.
  • Think About Your Users. Defining value to your users is a key component of a successful CRM strategy, but it’s important to remember that what matters to one set of users, may not matter to another. Outline your use cases and establish key messages focused on your different user groups.
  • Communicate. Communication is the foundation of any successful relationship. After you’ve defined value to your users, develop a focused communication plan for each group and stick to it. You can’t communicate too much when it comes to obtaining buy-in and charting a course for CRM success.
  • Define, Measure and Celebrate Success. Think about what a successful CRM strategy looks like for your firm. Track your successes and don’t forget to celebrate them, too.

Relationships are hard enough, your CRM doesn’t have to be. ContactEase and its team of of former law firm marketing and IT professionals have worked with firms of all sizes to successfully reinvigorate stale CRM relationships. Thinking about breaking up with your current CRM or want to know how to regain momentum with your existing platform? Let’s talk about it!
Additional Reading: ContactEase Case Study: CRM Conversions Made Easy.

Ready for a Little Post-Holiday Card Therapy?

While the holidays are stressful no matter your profession, they can be especially challenging for law firm marketers. 2020 was a year filled with stress and uncertainty, but law firms really outdid themselves with their holiday greetings this year. We saw many thoughtful, inspiring, and even heartwarming greetings with firms really going the extra mile to spread joy and come together during the holiday season. Check out the finalists in Above the Law’s 12th Annual Holiday Card Contest for some great examples and inspiration for next year. One of our favorites this year came from Bone McAllester Norton in Nashville. With an arrangement prepared by one of its attorneys, the video features talented singers from across the firm.

Holiday Card Survey & Post-Holiday Card Therapy Session

While the holiday card season is still fresh in your minds (or nightmares), we’d love to get your feedback. Based on the care that went into this year’s greetings, we know that holiday cards are important to firms, but we’d like to know more. Please take a few minutes to complete our survey and let us know how your firm approached cards this year. You can also share your holiday card horror stories. Our top ten favorites will receive a prize and we’ll share them, along with the results of the survey, during our Post-Holiday Card Therapy Session on January 8.

Direct Links

Survey: To take the holiday card survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CEHolidays

Register for our Post-Holiday Card Therapy Session: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2381505214183404814

Details: On January 8, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. EST, we’ll review the results of our holiday card survey and share some of our favorite holiday card horror stories. We hope you’ll join us!

ContactEase Recommended Reading: When COVID Came, Law Firms Delivered Important Messages in Perilous Times

With offices emptied, remote workforces taking shape practically overnight, and clients clamoring for information about the impact of the pandemic on their own businesses, law firms were forced to quickly adapt in order to effectively communicate. If you’re a legal marketer, we bet this sounds pretty familiar (well, maybe not that part about quickly adapting). In Marketing Tech: When COVID Came, Law Firms Delivered Important Messages in Perilous Times from Marketing the Law Firm, the authors outline some of the strategies that have emerged for successfully navigating external communications with clients and prospects. Check out the full article and read on for some of our key takeaways.

Speak up fast
Providing critical updates is essential; however, it is important to ask what your clients need, how your firm’s expertise can be used to help them and what you can share that reflects you firm’s humanity and commitment to the communicated and industries it serves.

Rapidly share actionable information
Whether it was a centralized COVID resource center on their websites or regular e-alerts and webinars, many firms took a proactive approach to meet their clients’ emerging needs. We heard from many ContactEase clients who used CRM and our other products, like List Manager and integrations with Constant Contact, Vuture and Saturno to quickly update mailing lists and get their important communications in front of their clients and contacts. If you’re tempted to reduce your external communications, the authors suggest you think carefully. “Those that continue to provide a steady stream of timely, actionable information about topics of critical importance to their clients, COVID-related or not, will continue to reap the benefits,” they wrote.

Leverage the surge in demand for expertise
As the authors are quick to point out, in 2020 nearly all journalists have become pandemic journalists and law firms have become a great resource. It is important for firms to continue to provide journalists with information they need when they need it. Law firms that understand the importance of this and act as “reliable partners and good citizens” will continue to expand their audience and reap the benefits of these relationships.

Want to know how ContactEase clients are using CRM and related technology to get in front of the right people at the right time? Contact us!

Back to Basics: What is CRM?

Back to the Basics: What is CRM?

In this series, we’re going back to the basics. We’ll look at CRM as a tool and as a strategy to empower your firm’s business development and marketing initiatives and strengthen your relationships.

If we’re going back to the basics, we may as well start with an obvious question: What is CRM (and why do you need one)? We could write a novel on this subject, but for now we’ll keep it simple.

CRM is a Contact (or Client) Relationship Management platform. Outside of the professional services sector, CRM may also be referred to as Customer Relationship Management.

A Single Source of Truth

The main job of a CRM platform is to store and organize your firm’s contacts – all their details and any communication or touch points you’ve had with them – in a single place. In other words, a CRM is a single source of truth for your firm’s contact data. It helps firms stay connected to their clients and can even improve profitability (see: ROI: Boost Revenue with CRM).

Capture Touchpoints and Coordinate Business Development Efforts

CRM allows you to focus your firm’s business development and marketing strategy by understanding who at the firm knows whom and is in touch with your clients and contacts. You can track every touchpoint, record activities, and allow your professionals to collaborate seamlessly and stay organized. CRM can inform your firm’s business development and marketing strategy by providing a 360 degree view of your clients and contacts. It can even tell you when they’re opening your emails, how often they’re attending your events, or if they’re not engaging with you at all.

Integrate with Tools You Know and Use

CRM can integrate with the tools your firm already knows and uses. With a time and billing integration, for example, you’ll have a complete picture of the client journey. Integrations with email campaign tools like Vuture, Mailchimp and Constant Contact allow you to easily capture important analytics and know who is engaging with your firm’s communications. Integrations also allow you to automate certain processes so you can boost productivity and save time (see: Benefits of CRM Bridge Building).

In our upcoming post, we’ll dig in a little deeper. Do you have questions about CRM or how it can help your firm? With an industry high adoption rate, ContactEase is the CRM of choice for more than 250 professional services firms worldwide. Contact us at sales@contactease.com or visit www.contactease.com to learn more.

Celebrating National Lawyer Well-Being Week

Over the past several weeks, we’ve introduced you to firms who are committed to staying connected with their clients and each other during the #covid19 crisis (and using ContactEase to do it). In this post, we’re turning our attention to the inaugural National Lawyer Well-Being Week. The aim of Well-Being Week is to raise awareness and encourage action across the legal profession to improve well-being for lawyers and their support teams.

Each day of Lawyer Well-Being Week focuses on a dimension of holistic well-being:

  • Monday: Stay Strong (physical well-being)
  • Tuesday: Align (spiritual well-being)
  • Wednesday: Engage & Grow (intellectual and occupational well-being)
  • Thursday: Connect (social well-being)
  • Friday: Feel Well (emotional well-being)

And while each of these areas is equally important, it’s Thursday’s theme of connection and social well-being that really resonates with us at ContactEase. While some may view CRM as just a software platform, it’s about connection — growing relationships and staying in touch. We look forward to sharing our favorite tips for developing and maintaining your professional relationships in the coming weeks. In the meantime, consider taking a look at some of these recommended resources from the Lawyer Well-Being website:

Spotlight on: McNees

Our spotlight series continues this week with McNees, a full-service law firm based in central Pennsylvania with more than 130 attorneys representing corporations, associations, institutions, and individuals. The firm serves clients worldwide from offices in Harrisburg, Lancaster, State College and Scranton, PA; Columbus, OH; Frederick, MD; and Washington, DC. McNees is also a member of the ALFA International Global Legal Network.

Through its COVID-19 Articles & Resource Center, McNees provides businesses and individuals with content and analysis to navigate the issues impacting them during this time. The firm’s professionals closely monitor the latest advisories from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as federal, state, and local authorities to ensure they are providing visitors with the most recent and up-to-date content.

McNees has always been a huge supporter of the communities it serves and in response to COVID-19 has expanded its pro bono efforts to help small businesses survive this crisis. The firm is doing as much as it can to help small businesses and individuals survive this crisis by helping them to understand new legislation, understand the resources available to them and navigate the challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19.

Staying connected with clients is the firm’s top priority. And during this difficult time of separation, McNees has also placed a special emphasis on staying connected with each other. The firm’s chair, Brian Jackson, holds regular firmwide meetings to ensure that everyone is on the same page. The firm also has fun theme days (like fancy socks Friday) which instill a sense of togetherness and keep morale high while working apart.

Iris Jones, the firm’s Chief Business Development & Marketing Officer, recently appeared on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk where she discussed the firm’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and shared insight on how law firm marketers can show value during this time.

To learn more, visit McNeeslaw.com.