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Top tips for integrating your CRM system

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Streamlining activities and increasing user adoption

Many Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems already come with the ability to integrate with standard Microsoft Office applications like Outlook, Word and Excel. And that makes it much easier for partners, fee earners and associates to use them. But have you thought how integrating your CRM solution with the other systems your practice uses might deliver greater value to your firm?

Here are some ideas:

Practice Management Systems

Practice Management Systems (PMS) hold a wealth of valuable financial and matter data. Having that information to hand in your CRM system will help you gain better profiles of your clients and prospects. As a result, you will be in a better position to identify risks and opportunities, as well as drive more informed business development activities. For example, do you really want to up sell to a client that is a notoriously bad payer? On the other hand, being able to show a prospective new client compelling case studies of matters you've previously worked on can dramatically increase your chances of success.

Human Resources Systems

By integrating your Human Resources (HR) and CRM systems you can link activities to expenses. As a result, you can streamline the whole expense claims process for employees,improving productivity and encouraging buy-in.

And integration with HR systems can help in another area too – by allowing fee earners working on pitches to quickly find individuals with the expertise and skills they need to build a winning team.

Telephony Systems

When employees are taking incoming or making outgoing calls they need to know everything that is happening with a client. Having matter, financial, sales and marketing information at their fingertips enables them to provide the high quality of service that is needed to retain clients in today's competitive environment.

Third-party System Integration

There are many third-party systems that can help you with marketing and business development activities – e-marketing systems and external market intelligence databases, for example. Integrating these solutions with your CRM system will reduce manual data handling and errors, and speed execution.

Of course, integration is not an end in itself. But, when used to support streamlined process and information delivery, it not only increases productivity and efficiency, it also improves ease of use and as a result, user adoption.

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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