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Why IT and business development collaboration is crucial when selecting a CRM system

Business development is vital for every law and accountancy firm. With client loyalty decreasing and competition increasing, firms are having to take a more sophisticated approach to growing their revenues.

Once it was a case of focusing on marketing communications and events. But now, even though these can still be a potent part of the business development mix, firms are realising that client retention and growth is just as important, if not more important, than client acquisition.

With this realisation comes the need to provide everyone in the organisation with tools for interacting with clients and managing relationships more effectively. Business development is no longer the responsibility of one department, but everyone in the organisation.

To help them many firms are turning to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and they have huge potential to help organisations grow their business. But there is a caveat – only if they support their business development strategy.

Why do I say this? Because very often I see the selection of a CRM system left to the IT department. Now don’t get me wrong, IT departments have a crucial role to play. They are the experts in compatibility, infrastructure, system management and upgrades, all of which should be taken into consideration. But they are not necessarily experts in the best way for fee earners to approach business development.

To manage relationships most effectively and grow the business, fee earners need information from a whole range of sources – practice management systems, company web sites, blogs, Microsoft Outlook, news sites, telephone systems, LinkedIn and more – all presented in an environment they are comfortable with and at a time when they need it. With the best will in the world IT departments cannot know all of this.

That’s why it’s absolutely crucial for business development and IT to collaborate closely in the selection of a CRM system. By doing so they will make sure it fits the firm’s business development strategy, allowing fee earners to effectively focus their efforts on growing the business while ensuring the system fits into the firm’s IT environment. Put simply, IT/Business Development collaboration will deliver higher value and greater success. 

Tags: InterAction

About the Author:

Fiona Jackson has spent over 15 years implementing and working with InterAction in professional services firms, including legal and accountancy. In these in-house roles, supported by InterAction, she managed marketing communications, devised and implemented business development strategies as well as trained and mentored fee earners. She worked closely with internal clients to understand their business processes end-to end and guided them in utilising the 'intelligence' gathered via InterAction to help them be successful at customer relationship management.

Fiona was previously a Client Advisor for five years at LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions; and was often described as "an extension to our business" by her clients. She has now returned to the company to drive an InterAction ‘repositioning’ project for a large London law firm. Fiona is also working with other firms to help them align CRM to wider business development strategies. She specialises in strategic and tactical CRM best practice, and as an expert in devising user adoption strategies, her experience in rolling out and repositioning InterAction as a business tool is proving invaluable to clients.

Fiona is mother to two teenagers, who keep her firmly on her toes. Living in Hertfordshire, she loves walking, is often found obsessing over the latest box set and enjoys all that country pubs have to offer. She also has a spectacular Gin collection of her own. Recently, Fiona has discovered a love for cooking – the varying degrees of success hasn’t stopped her from continuing to giving it a go!

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