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Improve business development while minimising data management

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Struggling to get buy in from fee earners when it comes to customer relationship management(CRM)? Getting the reaction that CRM is a contact database or something marketing do? If these sound familiar, it’s time to start selling CRM to your fee earners.

The average fee earner has a target of six chargeable hours a day. That means there’s little time left for any business development or client relationship management activity. So, if you start positioning your CRM system as a business tool that will give them information and help them use their business development time more efficiently, you will get their attention. And, if you have an internal communications team to help you, so much the better!

Here are my top five tips for selling CRM to your fee earners:

Stop calling it CRM

The phrase CRM makes fee earners think ‘database’. You want them to think about managing client relationships, so refer to the business activity of ‘Client Relationship Management’. The system is then the tool that underpins the process and the repository of intelligence.

Minimise data management

Not all data is equal. The burden of data management is one of the biggest reasons why CRM systems struggle to be seen as demonstrating value. For everyone’s benefit, focus only on contacts related to business development. Is the contact likely to give work, refer work or do they already give you work? Fee earners will be thankful for the time saving provided by a support team that asks them to only focus on their fifty most important contacts rather than the thousand they may have in their Outlook. And quantifying the benefits of this approach is good way to encourage adoption.

Support business development

What do your fee earners need to achieve in terms of business development? Work with them to identify the most important contacts for their business development initiatives and then focus on those contacts in your CRM system. Demonstrating how the system makes it easier to bring in new business is a sure-fire way to get buy-in.

Give something back

Make sure fee earners are not constantly putting information into the system and getting nothing back from it. If they feel they are recording information into the ‘black hole’ of the CRM database, they will quickly tire of dedicating precious fee-earning time to adding appointments and activities. Make sure you deliver information back to them about how their contacts are engaging with the firm through reports or regular information feeds.

Use reminders

Keeping in touch with contacts on a regular basis is good for helping to generate business. Regular prompts to call key contacts take away the need for fee earners to trawl through their contacts in Outlook and identify those they haven’t spoken to recently. As a result, they can focus on fee earning until they receive a reminder to make some fresh calls. And no calls will be missed!

Ultimately, the goal is to make your CRM as relevant and useful to fee earners as possible, providing them with the information and help they need to make better decisions and improve their business development activities – while keeping data management requirements to a minimum.

Tags: InterAction
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