Cure These Common Holiday Card Headaches with CRM

The pumpkin spice lattes have been flowing and the Hallmark holiday movies are now playing (or maybe they never stopped). For law firm marketers, this means holiday card season is here.

From selecting the right card to making sure your contacts actually receive it, it takes a team (and a whole lotta lattes) to pull it off. Without the right systems and processes in place, it can also mean a big holiday card headache! Let’s take a look at three common holiday card headaches and how CRM can help.

  • Are you struggling to find missing contact information? When you have a CRM that integrates with the systems your lawyers already know and use, you’ll always have the most current and up-to-date contact information.
  • Are you overlooking important clients and contacts? Look for a CRM platform with integrated list management functionality like ContactEase List Manager which makes it easy for lawyers to add their contacts to the right firm mailing lists for holiday cards and gifts. And when you have an integrated enterprise relationship management (ERM) solution, like ContactEase Relationship Discovery, you’ll discover important contacts that don’t make it into Outlook or CRM and better understand your firm’s relationships.
  • Do contacts receive multiple cards from your firm? If your firm lacks coordinated client outreach, a centralized database and ERM allows you to marketing touchpoints, understand the firm’s relationships, and identify who knows whom BEST to easily coordinate efforts among your professionals.

If you’re looking for a cure to your holiday card headaches, contact us to learn more!

Upcoming Webinar: Why CRM, Why Now

Join us for our upcoming webinar, Why CRM, Why Now. You’ll hear from the real experts — two law firm marketers using ContactEase to advance marketing, strengthen relationships, and help their firms win more business all year round. 

Improve Your Metrics by Understanding Your Undeliverables

For many marketers, it might seem like getting sign-off for firm blogs and e-alerts (if not getting them written at all) is the biggest challenge to the success of an e-mail marketing campaign, but there’s one thing that matters even more – your email data quality.  

From layout to content approval, firm marketers spend a lot of time on email campaigns before they can even think about sending them. But, what good is any email if it isn’t seen by its intended recipients?

Sending to undeliverable or “bad” email addresses can have a significant impact on you email performance metrics as well as your overall sender reputation. Let’s take a look at two of the reasons why:

  • Sending to bad email addresses can negatively impact your open rate. When you send to bad email addresses, your open rate declines. While there are many reasons a recipient might not open your email, one of the most obvious is that they aren’t receiving them.
  • Sending to bad email addresses can negatively impact your sender reputation. Consistently including bad email addresses may result in flagging your sender account as spam and send emails from your account directly to the junk folder even when an email address is valid.  

So, how do you improve your contact lists?  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Make sure you’re sending to contacts who want to hear from you (opt-in). Whether you have a process as part of your intake of new clients or a subscription form on your website, make sure your contacts want to hear from you and they know what they can expect to receive from you. It’s not just good manners, it’s good business and can also ensure your compliance with privacy regulations like CAN-SPAM, CASL and GDPR among others.
  2. Regularly review your engagement reports. If you have a high number of bounces or unsubscribes and a low open rate, there’s probably a reason why. Make sure you’re removing bounced email addresses from your lists and create a process to research and update with good ones. Keep track of when contacts unsubscribe and target your content accordingly. Think about a tool like ContactEase Change Tracker which can improve your deliverability by looking for changes to key fields like job title, email address and company name.  
  3. Segment your contact lists. Craft targeted content and build targeted lists to ensure that the information you share is relevant and meaningful to your readers.

Taking a proactive approach and reviewing your email engagement reports on a regular basis will improve your email metrics and ensure that your communications are getting to the right people at the right time. As former law firm marketing and IT professionals, the ContactEase team not only advises clients on e-mail and data quality best practices, but we’ve experienced many of these challenges ourselves. If you have questions about how to address data quality at your firm or want to know how firms are handling similar issues, contact us. We’re here to help!

ContactEase CRM Welcomes New Law Firm Client: Fafinski Mark & Johnson PA

Logo_FMJ_wht-hiresContactEase CRM welcomes new law firm client, Fafinski Mark & Johnson PA with 27 attorneys located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Visit them online at www.fmjlaw.com.

ContactEase CRM Welcomes New Accounting Firm Client: Haefele Flanagan

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ContactEase CRM welcomes new accounting firm client, Haefele Flanagan, located in Maple Shade, New Jersey. Visit them online at  www.hfco.com.

ContactEase CRM Welcomes New Law Firm Client: Buckingham Doolittle & Burroughs LLC

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ContactEase CRM welcomes new law firm client Buckingham Doolittle & Burroughs LLC with 68 attorneys across three offices located in Canton, Akron, and Cleveland, Ohio. Visit them online at www.bdblaw.com.

 

CRM Data Management Best Practices Whitepaper

Data ManagementMaximizing Business Development and ROI

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 excellent, how would you rate the data in your client relationship management (CRM) system? It will never be perfect, but if it’s not close to 10, you’re not realizing the full potential of CRM. Misspelled names, incorrect addresses, incomplete information and duplicate records can limit the effectiveness of even the most powerful software. In short, the quality of your data is a key determinant of the success of your system.

Building and maintaining a clean and complete database can be a real challenge for a number of reasons, including:

  • Inconsistencies may exist between different databases utilized for different purposes (e.g. billing and mailing)
  • Professionals can be reluctant to share information about key contacts
  • Having no clear goals, no data management plan, and little or no training
  • Responsibility for maintaining the data is unclear
  • Data management is not a priority and falls to the bottom of to-do lists

Having clean, accurate, complete and up-to-date data is essential to CRM success.To find out what firms are doing to meet the data management challenge, ContactEase CRM convened a panel of professionals with extensive CRM experience and created a whitepaper to help you achieve success.  For the full whitepaper visit our website – http://colevalley.com/Resources.aspx

For more on data management and other aspects of CRM, please call ContactEase at 1-800-447-1212 ext 2 or visit colevalley.com.

ROI: How CRM Can Boost Revenue, Case Study by Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC – Part 2, Planning

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For our last post, we shared  ROI:  How CRM Can Boost Revenue, a Case Study by Foster Swift PC, Part 1, Need.  The five-part series will continue to focus on:  1) Need, 2) Planning, 3) Launch, 4) Benefits and 5) More Benefits.

Planning

Because Kim has a market research background, she started by asking the stakeholders what had gone wrong with the previous attempts to implement CRM and what they wanted the new system to do. In addition to surveying the attorneys, she held focus groups with support staff and brought in Chris Fritsch, who is also an attorney, to talk with key leadership about their expectations and the realities of CRM.

Doing all that helped to identify fears, pain points and needs, such as the ability to keep private any personal information put into the system (a separate notes field allows that), as well as to see who made changes to a record (an audit trail makes this possible). It also showed that about 60% of the attorneys were using Outlook to manage their contacts, which meant they were likely to use a system like ContactEase that integrates with Outlook.

Plus, involving the attorneys and support staff in the planning process helped them see how CRM could make things better, and that helped get their buy-in. With the help of several attorneys who championed the cause, Kim convinced the firm’s leaders to go with ContactEase CRM.

What’s up next  – Part 3 is the Launch…ROI:  How CRM Can Boost Revenue, a Case Study by Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC. For the full whitepaper visit our website – http://colevalley.com/Resources.aspx

To be continued….

CRM – Not in Your Budget for 2016? It could be and here’s how…

Making everything possibleRecently, a firm didn’t have CRM in their 2016 budget and they were able to buy this year taking advantage of a leasing option.  ContactEase has a leasing partner that can help make your investment more affordable.  With today’s low-interest rates, a lease program will allow you to preserve your cash and spread project costs over a 3-year period for a low fixed rate monthly payment. Additionally, they offer the following value added services for ContactEase clients:

  • 90 Day Deferral – you have the option to defer the start of your rental payments for up to 90 days from the project start date.
  • Quarterly or Monthly Payments – you have the option to choose monthly or quarterly rental payments.
  • Progress Payments – First American can make any deposits or milestone payments to Cole Valley on your behalf prior to project completion.

No fees – your program has no fees of any kind.

Please contact Brenda Sleeper at bsleeper@colevalley.com or 800-447-1712 ext. 805 for more information.

ContactEase CRM helps firms acquire and retain clients by ensuring that the right people get the right communication at the right time. Greater than 90% adoption results from seamless Outlook integration, easy-to-use tools, and a highly experienced support team. ContactEase is used by over 250 law and accounting firms, with 16,000+ users worldwide.

ROI: How CRM Can Boost Revenue, Case Study by Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC

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Part 1 of our five-part series on ROI:  How CRM Can Boost Revenue, a Case Study by Foster Swift PC

 
Wouldn’t you like to see numbers like these at your firm?

  • $53,463 in annual savings on newsletter costs
  • 200% increase in the number of newsletters
    sent out annually
  • 700% reduction in time spent on data entry
  • $15,600 in annual savings on list management costs
  • $121,973 in fees from three new Ag Law clients
  • 149% ROI on your CRM investment

Those are just some of the benefits that Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC, a 95-attorney law firm based in Lansing, Michigan, has realized from implementing ContactEase CRM — and that your firm can enjoy, too. Others include a more accurate and easier-to-update database of 42,000 records, the ability to readily track and manage business development activities by type, and the ability to manage client compliance with employee benefits laws and maintain related forms and correspondence.

According to Kimberly P. Hafley, Director of Marketing & Recruitment for Foster Swift, here’s why the firm chose ContactEase and what it did to realize those benefits and facilitate business development.

Need

When Kim joined Foster Swift in 2009, the firm had seven databases, including 7,000 records that were only on old-fashioned paper Rolodex cards. Entering data and maintaining records was a nightmare. As a result, many people were getting multiple copies of mailings, or mailings were returned as undeliverable. The costs were huge. For example, for one estate planning mailing that required an oversized envelope, the unit cost was $2.50. Of the 4,000 mailed, 500 came back — a waste of $1,250.

The firm had tried but failed twice to implement CRM. One reason was that CRM was totally Marketing’s responsibility, but Marketing did not have access to all information, and there was no system for getting database changes to Marketing. So if Marketing was not given a new name or address, the database was not updated. Another reason was that the CRM system was proprietary, so it didn’t interface with anything else and was the equivalent of adding yet another database. “The partners thought that all you had to do was buy a CRM program, plug it in, press a few keys and everything would magically work,” says Kim. “Of course, it didn’t.”

The catalyst for trying CRM a third time was a mailing that went to the home of an important client who had given strict instructions that nothing was to be sent to his residence.  This event resulted in a prominent senior shareholder sharing his displeasure with both Kim and the firm’s Executive Committee, resulting in approval to research CRM options.  So Kim asked a consultant that had helped her successfully update Foster Swift’s website to recommend a solution.

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“I was very gung-ho and thought we would be able to go all-out with CRM right from the start. But Jennifer and Chris noted that our firm had already had two failures and suggested that we slow down and take baby steps.  — Kim Hafley, Director of Marketing, Foster Swift

Kim was referred to Chris Fritsch, who consults with law firms on CRM.  Chris suggested that they look at three CRM providers, including ContactEase CRM from Cole Valley Software. Kim talked about ContactEase with several firms that use it, including Ulmer & Berne in Columbus, Ohio, Sherin & Lodgen LLP in Boston, and UHY LLP in Chicago. She was impressed by what she heard, as well as by the helpfulness of Cole Valley CEO Jeff Reade and Chief Brand Officer Jennifer Whittier in identifying what she needed to do to successfully implement CRM.

“I was very gung-ho and thought we would be able to go all-out with CRM right from the start,” Kim says. “But Jennifer and Chris noted that our firm had already had two failures and suggested that we slow down and take baby steps. We had to get clear about what we needed and get buy-in from the attorneys before we launched a new system.”

What’s up next week  – Part 2 is Planning…ROI:  How CRM Can Boost Revenue, a Case Study by Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC. For the full whitepaper visit our website – http://colevalley.com/Resources.aspx

 

CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 5, Impact and ROI

For our last post, we shared CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 4, Data Management. This is the last of our CRM five-part series:  1) Getting Buy-In, 2) Planning and Budgeting, 3) Implementation, 4) Data Management, and 5) Impact and ROI.

This is Part 5 – Impact and ROI

Full implementation of a CRM system can take considerable time and effort. It’s important to track and measure impacts along the way, so you can determine ROI, demonstrate benefits, and celebrate success. This will increase buy-in and help you maximize the effectiveness of your system.

The following is what our peers had to say about the differences CRM made in their firms.

Kim Hafley comments:

We’ve seen three main impacts from CRM. First and foremost was the amount saved in printing and postage by cleaning up the data for all the mailing lists. That in itself was in excess of six figures.

The second was that, instead of entering data three times and having it take 24 man hours a month, it’s down to about 4 man hours. Over a year, that’s a huge chunk of somebody’s job, so we’ve freed up that time.

The third has to do with Christmas. We send out cards to a large list and run a huge event — a dress rehearsal with the Grand Rapids Ballet. By using CRM, we were able to reduce the time all this  from 300 man hours to 50.  We now have a great system that uses the Mailing List Manager, and the attorneys update their lists. We are able to email out invitations, and participants are able to sign up. We have their tickets waiting with their attorneys when they arrive so they get a personal greeting from their attorneys. It’s made the event a huge success.

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CRM has also enabled us to make sure our messages get out to the right people, as well as to print out reports that help our attorneys with cross-selling opportunities. They love that!
— Barbara Joseph

 

Barbara Joseph comments: 

We’ve received the most positive feedback and praise for how ContactEase has enabled us to be more proactive. For example, our data steward will use the system to run a report and give it to our client and industry teams with a note asking them to identify contacts to remove or add for a specific client or organization. It has also enabled us to make sure our messages get out to the right people, as well as to print out reports that help our attorneys with cross-selling opportunities. They love that!

CRM has saved us money, too. When I started, we were publishing and mailing about 8,000 copies of a glossy magazine three times a year. Some people were getting more than one copy, and that was expensive. By using CRM to de-duplicate and massage our data, we cut our mailing list down to 5,000. That’s a huge savings! Now we’re able to build up the list with the right people by using CRM to identify contacts who should be getting the magazine. It’s a great tool.

So is Mailing List Manager, part of our CRM system. We have an annual tent party at a West Virginia University football game and send out 5,000 e-invitations. We used to have to look through our old database, run a separate Excel spreadsheet for every attorney and
circulate it. They would mark it up and return it, and   we would then have to go in, change the data, enter the information, print it out, and send it to the printer for the mailing.

This morning it took me less than 30 minutes to update my Mailing List Manager and send an email to our attorneys saying “Here’s a spreadsheet with all your contacts. Please mark who should be invited to the tent party.” As the attorneys mark the spreadsheets, Mailing List Manager automatically updates the information in our database. When I need to, it will take me 15 minutes to pull an Excel spreadsheet for the mailing and send it to my printer. Mailing List Manager will save me 20 to 30 hours of work, just for that one event.

Joy Long comments:

For me, the benefit of using CRM is just amazing. For instance, we were able to get rid of six-figure printing, postage and mailing costs. Also, before CRM we were able to send out only two or three things a month because of the incredible time involved. Now I’m able to work with the different industry and practice groups and expand our blog platform. So today we have eight blogs and seven newsletters, and we regularly send out seminar invitations and special client alerts — all without having to increase staff!

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Before CRM we were able to send out only two or three things a month because of the incredible time involved… Today we have eight blogs and seven newsletters, and we regularly send out seminar invitations and special client alerts — all without having to increase staff!  — Joy Long

Because we’ve gained so much efficiency with the CRM, it’s easier to send out things.  Something that would take two or three days is now down to a matter of minutes because you’re putting the tools in everybody else’s hands. It’s just so much more efficient!

For the full white paper visit our website – http://colevalley.com/Resources.aspx