How to make a case for CRM: Four key benefits and a guidebook


Have you researched customer relationship management (CRM) systems? Do you know that having one would save hours of managing client information? Are you struggling to get buy-in from firm management and decision-makers? In order to successfully sell the need for a CRM system, you need a good presentation strategy that illustrates a return on investment (ROI). Get their attention by positioning the CRM system as a business tool that will give them information quickly and will contribute to more efficient use of developing client relationships, which creates more time for billable work.

Your strategy for presenting a case to adopt a CRM system could include answers to questions such as: Who are the stakeholders that can be advocates? What tactics or key firm strategies are we trying to accomplish? Who will champion the CRM system? How do we measure success?

Essential to the success of your pitch is to involve stakeholders across the firm in the process of evaluating and defending the selection of a system. Involve them at an early stage: this initiative will help you to identify those who will support your business case and those who might need more convincing.

Conducting some due diligence before the pitch is made will ensure your selection criteria focuses on what is required to address different concerns and what will deliver the best return on investment. Without this insight, decision-makers may be swayed by the latest bells and whistles that don’t necessarily address the real needs of the business.

Here are four key benefits you can make when pitching a CRM system for your firm. These are geared toward benefits to the attorneys and partners who are concerned about generating billable hours and who don’t want to spend time entering data.

Less Data Management

MidMarket Blog Post 2 icons-1Much of the doubt raised by the suggestion of a CRM system centers around stepping away from billable hours to input data. Focus on the process of developing client relationships and the importance of rapid access to the right relationships. Does this contact currently give you work? Is there potential for future work or do they refer work? Attorneys will be thankful for the time savings incurred by a system that keeps track of their most important contacts. Explaining these benefits will also encourage firm-wide adoption and participation. Information will be accessible, accurate, and centralized for the entire practice.

CRM managers can maintain buy-in with ongoing progress reports and client activity logs delivered to attorneys at critical intervals and milestones. With many CRM systems, including LexisNexis® InterAction® software, there are opportunities to integrate many of your current systems. This key benefit would alleviate multiple entries of the same data, saving even more time. A CRM system can reveal hidden relationships that can help decide whether to pursue a certain opportunity or organization.

Better Client Service

MidMarket Blog Post 2 icons-2Consider your stakeholder discussions and include a question on how this would benefit the client. Building a client base is most successful when the long-term potential of the relationships are considered. In a presentation for the LMA New England Chapter’s Annual Conference, Robert Algeri with Great Jakes Legal Marketing illustrated that “four marketing tools are essential for developing a lead nurturing ecosystem: marketing automation technology, CRM, email, and thought leadership. A marketing automation platform needs to be integrated into the firm website and is the key component to engaging and tracking prospects by name and identifying which prospects to pursue.”

In a follow-up interview, Mr. Algeri stated, “Lead generation assumes instant gratification, [whereas] the benefits of lead nurturing are assumed over time.” Having a tool that will keep all of the data about each specific client for the long term will be integral to your firm’s success and continued growth potential.

Another way to illustrate benefits to the client is by delivering ROI reports to attorneys when possible. Show them how clients are engaging with the firm based on attorney activities and marketing campaign efforts. This benefit is twofold: it will keep attorneys and partners engaged in supplying and inputting data from their efforts, and it will maintain client communication activities, leading to better outcomes and helping to generate business. Once attorneys and partners see the wins illustrated by a CRM report, they will be more inclined to get in on the process—so their efforts show up in the next reports.

Always Be Informed

MidMarket Blog Post 2 icons-3Keeping up with numerous clients is overwhelming, so illustrate how a CRM system can alleviate a lot of this extra work. LexisNexis® InterAction® software sends you automatic updates when people in your organization communicate with one of your prospects, including details of the communication. The CRM system enables active review and management of relationships, allowing users to work smarter and save time. Added time-savers included with certain CRM systems include: Outlook client and calendar sync and calculation of relationship scores that make generating detailed activity reports easy.

Develop stronger relationships with clients, prospects, and referral sources by understanding their motivations and interests. In today’s market, you need to constantly reinforce your relationships with each one. The CRM system provides a one-source reference to anyone you interact with, even if months have passed since your last encounter.

Streamlined Marketing and Communications Campaigns

MidMarket Blog Post 2 icons-4Alleviate the task of recreating a mailing, invitation, or email list every time you schedule a communication to clients. With a CRM system, the list is already there from the last time those clients were targeted. Simply and quickly make additions and dramatically cut development time of these campaigns. The automated system ensures inactive clients are not included and new mailing addresses are updated to keep the list current.

CRM enables strategy. Ultimately, the goal is to present the CRM system as a tool to improve the quality and results of marketing communications and campaigns to achieve more wins—while keeping data management requirements to a minimum. Find out how a CRM could improve your firm’s win rate by successfully prioritizing marketing initiatives. Download the Guidebook for more information: Making a Case for CRM: A Guide for Mid-Sized Firms.