Many experts say that September is the other January, a great time to start fresh, set goals and make changes. Is it because we’re sending the kids back to school or is it the pumpkin spice? No matter the reason, there is definitely something about September that makes some us want to focus and tackle new challenges. If you’re looking to improve business development at your firm, tracking activities in your CRM is an effective place to start.
Tracking activities in your CRM allows you to maintain a centralized location of all the firm’s business development and marketing activities and touchpoints. Why is this important? Your lawyers are busy. Tracking their activities moves important business development information out of spreadsheets or their inboxes and provides you with the ability to measure and report on your firm’s active opportunities. Here are just a sampling of the benefits firms can realize when they track activities:
Coordinating pitch efforts (know who is talking to potential clients)
Identifying cross-selling opportunities
Creating reminders for lawyers so they can keep opportunities moving forward
Easily reporting on firmwide BD efforts, including activity opportunities and win rates
Eliminating the need to follow up with multiple contacts across the firm to get information
Providing lawyers with clear priorities and a focused list of targets to pursue
Sharing regular reports with practice groups and firm stakeholders
Identifying firmwide and industry trends
Reporting on progress toward yearly goals
If you’re ready to start moving your firm’s business development forward, tracking is a great place to start. A successful initiative starts with buy-in from your firm’s key stakeholders and it continues with consistent, correct data entry. Think about what you need to know to help your firm’s lawyers achieve their goals.
Do you remember learning the 5 Ws (and H) of storytelling in school? Think about tracking as the story of your firm’s relationships:
Who are your lawyers talking to?
Where did they meet them? How?
What did they do or talk about?
Why are they talking to them?
When should they follow up?
If you want to know more about how to start a tracking initiative at your firm, contact the CRM experts at ContactEase. We work with firms of all sizes that are using CRM tracking to move projects forward, improve internal processes and win more business.
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:
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.
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.
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!
Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular downloads on the ContactEase website is a case study on boosting revenue with CRM. One of the easiest ways to determine the success of a platform is to look at a firm’s return on investment (or ROI), but what may be considered a huge success for one firm may seem insignificant to another. This is why it’s important to go into any implementation with a clear strategy. What may seem like obvious metrics in the beginning may not be as important a few years in. Taking time to revisit what ROI looks like for your firm is a good way to keep your CRM strategy fresh and moving forward.
Many firms begin looking for a new solution because an existing one has failed to meet expectations. And while ContactEase features an industry-leading adoption rate, we’ll be the first to tell you that the platform is second to a firm’s people and processes. Without an emphasis on either of these areas, your CRM strategy will fall flat.
CRM is for Everyone
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to CRM is overcoming some lawyers’ insistence that the system is simply a marketing tool Of course it is, but it can be so much more. Often lawyers won’t make CRM a priority until it affects them directly. For example, one firm came to us after a client received an important notification in their personal email after the relationship partner was asked not to send anything to that address. One tersely worded email from the client was all it took to get the lawyer on board.
Your Firm’s Needs
Before one mid-size firm implemented CRM, they had several contact “databases” (mostly spreadsheets) and thousands of paper cards (in a Rolodex — the original CRM?). As you might imagine, this caused a lot of problems (and a lot of work) for the marketing team. Not only were contacts receiving multiple mailings some weren’t receiving them at all. Hence one of the goals for this implementation was a centralized location for all firm marketing contacts. To some firms this might seem like a simple goal, but for many firms this is everything.
Automate and Increase Efficiencies
An effective CRM also allows firms to streamline communications. Before CRM, many firms spend days if not weeks preparing to send communications. With CRM and integrations with marketing automation tools like Constant Contact, HubSpot, and Vuture firms know they have the most recent contact information available. No, CRM can’t help your lawyers write faster, but it can help ensure you get your client alerts to the right people at the right time.
A successful CRM implementation can pay for itself many times over, but it’s important to to look at more than the bottom line.
In a recent report from U.S. News, Colorado was ranked second in a list of Best States for economy. In that same study, the Rocky Mountain state was ranked 4th for business environment, 5th for growth, and 1st for employment. Colorado is also known for its highly educated workforce and is home to three of the top twenty performing cities in the United States. In addition to established businesses and industries, Colorado also has a thriving startup market. Over the past five years, capital invested in Colorado companies has grown nearly 90% in industries as diverse as artificial intelligence, software, biotech, fintech, media and telecommunications — all of which makes Coloradans lucrative to marketers in any industry.
Worried you’re not quite ready? Don’t fret! If signed by Governor Polis, the effective date for the bill is July 1, 2023 and the universal opt out must be must be honored starting in 2024 — you have some time. In the meantime, our team of former law firm marketing and IT professionals are here to help! Contact us with questions about the data your store in your CRM or to conduct a database audit.
Look for a post on best practices for managing your opt outs and unsubscribes coming soon. Having a process in place isn’t just a best practice, it’s good business. The integrity of your contact data and the quality of your mailing lists impact your deliverability and your sender reputation which ensures that those wanting to read your communications get the chance to do so.
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.
When One Solution Won’t Do: Identifying the Need for a CRM Integration Date: April 29, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. PDT
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.
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.
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!