Dear Santa,

It’s just past the Thanksgiving holidays and I’m trying to get into the festive spirit. But 2020 has been a challenging year. I’m writing to you from my living room/office, where I’ve worked for much of the last nine months. I don’t mind, really. The cat is good company, and she actually knows how to work Zoom better than me! But I’ve not been able to mix with my colleagues or visit clients – so it’s been a struggle for me, my fellow partners, and my colleagues to manage and grow the firm.

Let’s be honest. Times are pretty tough at the moment. We can’t do the marketing we traditionally did. As I think about what I’ll do differently next year, I can’t help but reflect on how right the marketing and business development people were when they encouraged us to support the use of the firm’s CRM system. We have to get this right.

We can’t run seminars or go to conferences. We can’t bump into each other in the corridor. And the “pardon the interruption, but does anybody know…” emails don’t get quickly answered since everyone has retreated into lock-down lethargy. Therefore, having a system where we can quickly and easily find out “who knows who” is critical.

Firm culture is not just about “how we do things around here.” It’s about what we know, who we know, and the sharing of that information. When you don’t have the benefit of “absorbing” that culture from human contact, you need to try harder than ever to encourage it in other ways.

This holiday season, as I sort through the list that marketing sent me for who I want to send holiday cards to, it’s really been brought home to me what my New Year’s resolution has to be. For 2021, it will be not to take for granted the importance of the personal relationship intelligence capital that each of our people has – and the need for a system to help us share and institutionalize that capital.

A CRM system has so much potential, but collectively, we have to understand that maintaining contacts is only one part of it. If we’re ever to derive real value from CRM, we have to capture information about the people we know, the meetings we have, and the most valuable information about our clients that can help us grow our business.

So why am I sending this to you, Santa? I guess mainly because you’re used to pulling off what might seem to be impossible. People believe in you, and therefore that means, to them, at least, you exist. Maybe CRM is the same. Perhaps we, as partners of the firm, just didn’t believe enough that CRM could succeed – and therefore, it didn’t.

So, what I’m asking you for this year, Santa, besides the health and happiness of my friends, colleagues, and family, is the strength to believe and for this year to be the year that I help make CRM succeed at my firm.

Yours in hope,

A Managing Partner