Make Tracking Part of your CRM Strategy

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.

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!

Revisiting ROI

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.

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.

The State of CRM at Law Firms: A Market-Wide Study

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Nearly 75% of all law firms have some sort of Client Relationship Management (CRM) system in place, yet respondents to a recently released survey indicate that few of their lawyers regularly use it. In contrast, ContactEase users report a higher-than-average utilization rate for their attorneys. The Ackert Advisory’s “The State of CRM at Law Firms” examines utilization, user experience and return on investment (ROI) of CRM platforms and their relationship to business development.

ContactEase was recognized by its users in a number of areas. Among the findings:

  • ContactEase (24%) and InterAction (45%) lead the CRM legal market with a combined market share of 69%.
  • ContactEase has increased its market share by 6% since last year’s survey.
  • ContactEase users reported a higher utilization rate than the overall market.
  • ContactEase users reported a lower level of data entry issues and a less complicated interface (in comparison to other CRM systems).
  • ContactEase users reported an average of 18% of lawyers use CRM regularly (the majority of survey respondents indicated 0-5% of their attorneys utilized CRM on a regular basis.

About ContactEase
ContactEase communicates with clients and prospects to enhance existing relationships and drive new business. In addition, ContactEase works with firms to develop ROI with business analytics and opportunity/pipeline management tools, and integrates with accounting and other systems.

ContactEase has a greater than 90% adoption rate due in part to its seamless Outlook integration, easy-to-use tools and a highly experienced support team. ContactEase can pull contacts from email, alert users of changes in their data, integrate with telephone systems, allow updates from mobile devices, allow contacts to RSVP online for events and update their own data.

Selecting the right CRM platform is essential to the success of any firm’s marketing and business development program. For more information about ContactEase and CRM best practices for getting buy-in, implementation, data management and ROI, visit our resources page.

ContactEase is used by over 250 law and accounting firms, with 16,000+ users worldwide. To read the report in its entirety, click here.

 

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.

 

Getting Buy-In For CRM, A Step-by-Step Guide

handshake of businessmen.You’ve done your research: you know that CRM can maximize efficiency, help your department dramatically shrink the time it takes to organize mailing lists, and get targeted communications out the door and into the right hands. But first you have to convince management it is worth the investment.
Download our step-by-step guide to help you define the cost of not having a CRM…

http://www.colevalley.com/Resources.aspx

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.