There are two significant things I’ve noticed in 2020 so far. (1) We’ve been pushed further into a digital world – relying more on digital tools to work, access services, complete tasks and communicate with each other. (2) That social connection and our personal and professional relationships are of vital importance to our health and livelihood.
For attorneys who must manage and maintain healthy relationships with clients and their business network, need a solution that streamlines efficiencies. A tool that is easily usable and accessible, and can help nurture or improve the quality of these relationships.
That’s why the need for a CRM tool is growing quickly in the legal industry.
A contact relationship management (CRM) tool in the day-to-day life of a busy law firm can help with this. It forms part of an effective strategy for driving business growth and firm relationships.
Why a CRM?
Your clients and business contacts are a crucial asset to your firm. Adopting a CRM system helps you effectively maintain and nurture relationships. This can improve client retention and expansion, and build better bonds with your most valuable referral sources. Using a system like this improves business development efforts which can ultimately lead to increasing firm revenue.
Lawyers however have traditionally been reluctant to invest in CRM software. Legacy CRMs have often been disappointing due to failing to meet a lawyer’s unique needs, so there’s a perception that a CRM isn’t suited to a law firm. It can be a time-consuming and complex task using a CRM, so it becomes less useful and frequently avoided.
Fortunately, with the sophistication of legal technology, some CRM tools on the market, such as NEXL, are specifically designed for the legal industry to improve business development and relationship management efforts.
Before we jump into the benefits of a CRM for law firms, we need to determine why your practice needs one…
The first step is to outline what your firm’s business development goals are. A CRM is an investment, so you need to put a plan in place to ensure that you and your firm have a clear direction, and know exactly what to focus on.
By creating a growth/business development action plan, and listing some goals, will help you analyze your efforts and track the results through your CRM.
When considering why a CRM may be right for you or your firm, ask yourself these questions:
- Has my team grown and we need a better system to operate effectively and efficiently?
- Am I sending more or too much of my valuable time on spreadsheets and client data management?
- Do I have more data now and it’s continuing to get more complex and bigger?
- Am I missing opportunities or failing to notice leaky buckets in my BD funnels?
- Am I at the stage where I want to focus on my firm’s business growth?
If any of these questions sound relatable to you, then it may be time to make the move and invest in a CRM.
Advantages of Investing in a CRM
1. Boost client satisfaction
Deals, prospects and marketing can all be conducted in a systematic, organised and highly efficient way using a CRM. By understanding more about your clients (and potential clients) you’re going to be able to offer them a better client and service experience. A CRM can also help strengthen your relationships with existing and past clients which is key to attracting more business. It will motivate you to maintain engagement and communication with your most valuable contacts to help you get towards your growth goal.
2. Strengthen referral/business relationships
As the saying goes, your network is your net worth. Building strong relationships with referral sources and industry peers can help with business growth by expanding your client-base and positioning your firm as a leader in the market. But lawyers don’t always have the resources and time to put towards business development and networking. That’s why making use of legal tech tools such as a CRM, to do a lot of the dirty work for you, is a management and effective way of maintaining professional relationships. People are more likely to do business with other people they trust, like, share interests, can confide in. And keeping the network and business relationships viable can be much easier with a CRM tool.
3. Rich data insights
The fundamental function of a CRM for law firms is a categorized database of clients, prospects and business contacts, that you can easily manage and automate processes. You can store all of their contact information, your interaction and activity, personal details about them, legal needs and more to give you a better picture of who your contacts are, what their needs, interests and values are.
This rich data allows you to conduct your business development efforts in a much more personal way. That data can then be used to set up automated processes such as reminders and follow-ups, saving you time on tasks that can be otherwise spent on matters.
4. Make information accessible and stored in one safe central place
CRM systems provide law firm business development teams with a systematic approach and easily accessible information to help inform business growth decisions. It allows multiple lawyers and law firm teams to gain access to the rich data, which they can then use when engaging with clients or business contacts.
The advantage of using a law firm CRM solution over general CRM software
The CRM features of many generalized contact management software such as Microsoft Outlook, are advance….but they are not designed to meet the needs of law firm practices. As much customization as you try, this kind of software will never comprehend the requirements of your firm.
- What about referrals?
- What about Matters?
- What about legal clients?
- What about cross-jurisdictional needs?
These generic systems don’t offer a solution to these questions. There are a few products on the market, such as LexisNexis InteraAction, that exist as a legal-specific application, however, it is priced for only the much larger firms.
There are other options for a law firm CRM solution, such as NEXL, you get a cost-effective, legal-specific platform that is easy to use and accessible by individual lawyers and teams.
Another advantage of a CRM like NEXL is that it is a web-based, not desktop-server based software. This means you can skip the lengthy installations, upgrades, avoid crashes and can remotely access your key information from your laptop, phone, work computer – any device, anywhere!
The delivery of attorney-client relationships are evolving, and this year in 2020, there has been an accelerated shift towards relying on digital tools for networking, services and relationship management. A CRM system that is designed specifically for lawyers, will help cement and strengthen relationships that your firm relies on for successful business growth, both online and offline. If you don’t have a CRM, or your firm’s current CRM is not delivering, then take a look at NEXL’s CRM tool for lawyers and law firm business development teams.