The uncertainty caused by the pandemic is putting considerable economic strain on law firms and indeed businesses more widely. However, if there is one thing that historic events have repeatedly taught us is that organisations that take a positive and long-term view of business growth during challenging times are the ones that come out winners.
Despite the unique nature of this current pandemic, we are fortunate that technology is enabling us to operate as we normally would, albeit in a dispersed working environment. In the legal sector, it’s creditable in the way law firms have demonstrated flexibility and agility in adapting to a new way of working, almost overnight – and crucially with minimal business disruption.
With firm’s operating as ‘normal’ from a client perspective, it’s equally important that organisations maintain the ‘business as usual’ status for operational matters, including business development. Given the widespread home working scenario, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that the need to stay connected, understand and even appreciate the challenges of clients and prospects, has never been greater.
CRM needs to be a key component of every law firm’s economic recovery and growth strategy and therefore the discipline must be ‘business as usual’. At a fundamental level, there are some key best practice activities that firms need to be systematically undertaking:
- Data management – CRM, marketing and business development executives typically have processes in place to ensure timely data management for information integrity. Of course, this must continue, but now is the time to also revisit these processes for improvement. For instance, are the passive data capture processes optimised? It’s an easy win with the tools, InterAction IQ and Data Minder. Especially with lawyers working from home, this kind of automated data collection is an easy and efficiency way of ensuring database accuracy.
- Data change management (DCM) – Some CRM administrators are finding that during the lockdown, the volume or backlog of DCM tickets has significantly increased. Perhaps it’s a signal that DCM rules and policies need to be reviewed to make ensure that the CRM team isn’t unnecessarily overloaded.
- GDPR compliance – The onus on firms to comply with the GDPR hasn’t changed. Are processes for recording data at entry points water-tight? Do data fields for recording information need to be customised to meet the needs of a dispersed workforce? And most importantly, are these rules and policies being enforced?
- Mobility – While the mobility-led features in CRM systems were originally designed to allow lawyers to access information and knowledge on the firm’s relationships while ‘on the go’, in the current work environment, this functionality is an operational requirement – for lawyers as well as business development professionals. So, are lawyers duly updating client and prospect records with day to day activities, phone calls, correspondence, etc.? Have processes being amended to facilitate real-time updating of records, and so on?
All this will play a critical role in a firm’s ability to successfully undertake remote/online marketing and business development campaigns – which in turn will impact pipeline management and new business growth in the future.
It is imperative that firms continue to diligently ensure CRM data management. It takes consistent and systematic processes to maintain the accuracy of data, but integrity of information can be very quickly lost if effort isn’t sustained. In the latter scenario, firms stand to negate the efforts they may have undertaken, potentially undermining business development efforts, and thereby undoing the good results they have achieved thus far. In doing so, they may possibly compromise the return on investment in the technology they deploy too.
The good news is that much of the above processes can be easily automated, which will free up time for marketing and business development teams to focus on activities that will drive growth for the future. If you are looking for assistance to help optimise your InterAction installation for this new remote working environment, get in touch with your Client Advisor. They will be able to suggest process improvements and even help with hybrid cloud options that are easy to deploy in the present pandemic scenario.