By Michael Warren, VP, CRM Practice, Wilson Allen and Chris Raymond, Practice Group Leader, Marketing & Business Development, Intapp

Throughout a four-part legal CRM webinar series, Intapp and Wilson Allen shared industry best practices around legal CRM implementations. Subject-matter experts offered practical tips for aligning a law firm’s people, processes, and data with client needs to drive growth.

In the final webinar of the series, Intapp’s Christopher Raymond and Wilson Allen’s Michael Warren focused on the data component of successful legal CRM implementations and the shift many firms are experiencing now, starting with the need for CRM transformation. Here are key takeaways from the session.

Why pursue transformation now?

Professional services firms are facing an increasingly competitive world and a CRM landscape that’s ripe for rejuvenation. Many firms are taking steps to differentiate and transform, but change is often difficult and requires a shift in behavior that is often met with resistance. Warren and Raymond argue the following points to impress upon decision-makers about why the need to change is urgent, including:

  • Increased competition – In addition to the pandemic’s impact, firms must compete with in-house legal departments, consulting firms, and alternative legal service providers
  • Increased expectations – People expect a user and data experience similar to non-business applications – if it isn’t easy to use and part of the process, people won’t use it
  • Inhibited by data – Firms have struggled to respond to market changes, and there has been resistance to invest in quality data management, which obscures insight
  • Reluctance to engage – Those outside of marketing are not inclined to use CRM software, and they have few or no consequences of not complying, which limits opportunities

How improved technology helps overcome obstacles

Technology is finally catching up with the expectations of ease of use, and that data is easily and readily available. Firms can now more readily create, curate, and update content, which will inevitably drive adoption. Lawyers will be able to access information on-demand, anywhere they are, including from their mobile devices, with all of it being updated in real-time. But to achieve this level of access and ease of use – you need to have a plan. And you need to have a broader view of the marketing and business development ecosystem.

There is often a temptation for marketing and business development technology to focus exclusively on traditional client relationship management. But CRM is most successful when it’s integrated into your firm’s client engagement life cycle. Much like an ecosystem in nature, each phase has a specific function that serves itself and feeds the next:

  • Segmentation: Building the foundation of how you will segment and manage your subsequent activities
  • Communications: Cross-fertilizing the segmentation strategy with focused discussions tailored to various audiences to see what resonates
  • Generation: Constructing the right infrastructure to nourish engagement
  • Qualification: Determining which of your opportunities are going to develop into something significant and prioritizing your efforts accordingly
  • Implementation: Getting started with the real work of helping those opportunities bear fruit

Successful CRM is about being able to bring all of this together and learn from what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t.

How deploying the right data management strategy can help

Getting the data right is critical to any successful CRM project. Firms that move beyond traditional approaches to their data strategy achieve the best business outcomes. Having good data is the key to enabling effective differentiation strategies across all business areas – client satisfaction, revenue generation, profitability, market share, and time to market. To succeed, you need to have a broader perspective of where that data should originate.

Warren and Raymond share the belief that if you only ever look at data that is directly generated in your CRM system, you’ll miss most of the information you need for effective client relationship management. A single source of truth provides greater insight, mitigates risk, and helps drive growth. Basing your business strategy on internal and external data helps drive execution. It enables better alignment of talent or perhaps positions the firm in a new way to increase your chances of winning. Once you win, you can track those data points, analyze those outcomes, and refine your strategy further. You simply can’t do this successfully if your data is siloed across disparate systems.

Overcoming the challenges each persona faces

Warren and Raymond touch on many of the themes discussed so far by reviewing the challenges marketing, business development, and leadership personas typically experience related to data management. They offer suggestions on how to solve these challenges to enable firms to manage business opportunities better, align business processes, and take action. The webinar concludes with a summary of the overall concepts discussed that you can use to help your firm bring together its technology and data to improve business performance.

To learn more about the content of this or any of the previous webinars, please sign up to watch a replay:

  • Watch part 1: Practical tips for aligning with client needs to drive growth – with Intapp’s Gareth Thomas and Wilson Allen’s Michael Warren
  • Watch part 2: Key people, roles, responsibilities, and relationships – Intapp’s Darryl Cross and Wilson Allen’s Michael Warren
  • Watch part 3: Practical changes that have a big impact on business performance –  with Intapp’s Ryan McCrosson and Wilson Allen’s Anne Reavis
  • Watch part 4: Bringing your technology stack together to improve business performance – with Intapp’s Christopher Raymond and Wilson Allen’s Michael Warren