Everyone knows that your network is one of the most pivotal aspects of your business. Building a sustainable community of clients and leads isn’t all about cold calling and handing out business cards to anyone that crosses your path; it’s also about cultivating long-lasting connections in which trust is built, expectations are met, and mutually beneficial relationships are maintained.
As you grow your legal practice and your professional network begins to expand, it’s important to keep your contacts and follow-up activities organized within one streamlined, actionable database.
This is why it’s time to ditch the sticky notes that are (most likely) flooding your desk or the plethora of spreadsheets you have open on your computer and implement a CRM (Contact Relationship Management) solution.
Not sure what a CRM is, or why you would even need one? Don’t worry, this article will tell you everything you need to know:
The Basics: What is a CRM?
There is a heavy emphasis on the word “relationships” in this acronym. A CRM is built to help you and your firm turn your existing or potential relationships into recurring revenue.
A Contact Relationship Management solution might seem like a complicated concept to grasp, but its endgame is intuitive: it enables you to organize your contacts, segment them into targeted lists for more intelligent outreach, keep track of to-do’s, and work more collaboratively as a team.
It also unifies all of your contacts across platforms into one fully enriched database (complete with business and social insights) so you can know more about your network without having to do the legwork. This saves you hours on menial tasks like data entry and research. With a CRM software, you’ll go into every meeting knowing who’s who and what’s what.
Here are some key features CRM solutions provide:
- Contact management
- Email marketing, automation, and tracking
- Calendar sync and scheduling
- Task management
- Deal management
- Pipeline management and reporting
Why Does a Law Firm Need a CRM?
As you know by now, most of the business that law firms drive is based on referrals and recurring clients. It’s more crucial than in most verticals to keep the momentum going with the relationships you’ve already built and to keep your reputation pristine.
This is where a CRM comes in.
Although CRM solutions tend to be associated with salespeople, anyone and everyone can benefit from implementing one. However, law firms have specific needs that must be met in order for a CRM to be the right fit for them.
Here are some main CRM features law firms can leverage to grow their practice:
- Contact management: Easily add new contacts and manage existing contacts into one unified, enriched database
- Tagging & segmentation: Segment contacts into actionable lists to send more effective outreach at scale to prospective clients
- Activity tracking: Keep track of what you’ve done and what needs to be done for a given case or client
- Reminders: Set reminders to follow up with clients in appropriate intervals (weeks, months, years, etc.)
- Collaboration: Share contacts and information regarding cases or clients with your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page at all times.
How to Get Started with a CRM Solution
There is a wide array of CRM solutions to choose from depending on your business needs; it’s important to find the right fit for you and your team in order to avoid wasting money on an overly-robust software your team won’t even use.
Most CRMs offer a free trial, no credit card required, so you can explore all of the different options on the market with no commitment. Once you find the one you love, take your time before pulling the trigger and create an implementation plan to ensure a seamless CRM adoption. Make sure the team members who would be using the CRM get a full run-down of all the different features they could leverage, setting them up for success right out of the gate.
Two of the main reasons CRMs fail is bad data and lack of use. You can easily avoid both of these; clean up your contact data before importing it into your CRM (i.e. remove outdated contacts and make sure you’re only bringing in the information that’s necessary to your business) and giving your team the proper training before they get started.
Thinking about implementing a CRM? Tell us which one you have your eye on in the comments!