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CRM as the hub of practice

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So you’ve won a new instruction and, aside from congratulating all the pitch members, the focus now switches to matter management and getting started on the work. CRM has no further part to play, does it?

Well, in my view, that’s not the case. Your CRM system has as big a part to play in keeping a client as it did during the acquisition process.

The first thing you will want to do is update your system with all the details of why you won the pitch. As we’ve seen in previous blogs, this information can be immensely useful for improving your chance of success with future opportunities.

Your CRM system can also make the whole on-boarding process run more smoothly. If you’ve been keeping it up to date throughout the acquisition process, it has nearly all the information your practice management system needs. Integrating the two systems reduces manual entry and the chance of mistakes. Plus, it ensures you only ever have one source of the truth, which is critical for ensuring you can effectively manage and grow a client.

Just as your CRM system helped you identify the people with the right skills and experience for the pitch team, it can now help you search through matters to find the right expertise to work on the current instructions. Not only that, it can also flag up where there is a potential skill or expertise shortfall, so you can plan resources more effectively.

Nurturing ongoing relationships with clients is essential. Of course, you have to ensure that the work carried out is of the highest quality, but you also have to ensure that the services surrounding it are exemplary too. Your CRM system should be the key to providing excellent client care, helping you understand who owns the key relationships and allowing you to plan and track nurturing activities.

As the relationship matures, integrating the valuable matter and financial information from your practice management system with your CRM data will help you build an increasingly in-depth profile of your client. This profile will help you gauge the risks and opportunities of dealing with them and help you drive more informed business development activities.

For example, the system can help you identify unprofitable, low-profitability and slow paying clients and make informed decisions about how you can re-structure the business to increase your margin. On the other hand, it can also help you identify opportunities for cross-selling and show you the best places to focus your energy and resources in order to build stronger relationships and win new business.

At this stage your client may not be referenceable. But, if you put CRM at the heart of your practice, carry out activities like those mentioned above meticulously and, of course, conduct matters to their complete satisfaction, then it won’t be long before they move to the next stage – advocacy.  

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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