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A merger is a great opportunity to optimise CRM

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Today business growth is a key driver for mergers and as firms strive to fulfil this goal they must simultaneously take a strategic approach to amalgamating their marketing and business development machineries.

A merger situation requires different ideas, culture and capabilities to come together seamlessly, driven by a fresh set of business goals for the new entity. To enable the CRM function to support business objectives, a meticulous approach is necessary. Define your firm’s post-merger CRM requirement – things such as determining how many staff members need access to the solution, does CRM need to be centralised and if so, in which location, what level of functionality you’ll need for marketing and business development, and the like.

Similarly, it’s important to properly scope the CRM project. Most firms use multiple business systems and a merger is a good time to integrate the CRM system with the new entity’s practice management, e-billing, e-marketing, business analytics, news, conflict checking and human resource management systems.

Secure a budget for your CRM project based on a solid business case; and make it comprehensive. Include all the resources that you will need to implement, track and support the firm’s marketing and business development goals. So things like cost of professional IT services, outsourcing costs, data cleaning, system health checks, new hardware and software, staff training and contingency expenses must be included. In fact, don’t hesitate to speak to your Client Advisor at LexisNexis if you are using Lexis® InterAction®. We can help you to determine a realistic budget and activity timeline.

Fundamental to all the above is a clearly structured CRM project team. A dedicated project leader with the freedom to select a dedicated team is more likely to deliver good results.

Focus a fair amount of effort, budget and time on data quality and the database configuration requirements. The quality of the relationship intelligence, and insight, that a CRM system surfaces hinges on these areas. Prior to merging systems, undertake data de-duplication and ensure the configuration reflects the needs of the new organisation.

Importantly, ensure that a Data Protection compliance policy is in place for the new entity. Mishandled data can have serious repercussions (including financial penalties) for the firm and employees, but also for your clients.

Change management, communications and training are all key elements of a CRM project too. From the start, let system users know ‘what’s in it for them’ and how the CRM system will help them perform their roles more efficiently, enabling them to meet their professional goals or KPI’s.

A structured, resourced and well-executed CRM project will enable you to hit the ground running.

From the start, plan well.

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