Identify the Need for a CRM Integration at LMA Tech West

In 2020, we learned a lot about the legal industry and its ability to pivot. Firms increased their communications at a rapid pace (one ContactEase firm reported increasing communications by more than 400%) and transitioned in-person events to webinars. How did they do this? Having the right teams and the right technology in place certainly helped.

Even before the pandemic completely changed the way law firms do business, law firm marketers were evaluating their existing technology stacks for ways to improve efficiencies, deliver excellent client service, and, yes, make their lives easier.

And that’s because technology is intended to make our lives easier. Today, there’s an app or a software solution for almost everything. But, with so many tools available, it’s important to ensure that the ones you use work together. This is why software integrations are so popular. When we talk about software integrations, we’re talking about the process of combining two or more software platforms to solve problems and improve efficiencies.

If you’re attending LMA Tech West this year, be sure to join ContactEase President, Jennifer Whittier as she moderates a discussion with Jodi Coverly, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Hutchison and Shannon Donnellan, PMP, Project Manager – Business Development at Procopio. This session will examine how the two firms adopted a forward-thinking approach to:

  • Identify the need for an integration between their systems
  • Solve the problems they identified
  • Improve efficiencies at their firms

Can’t make it to LMA Tech West this year? Contact us anytime to learn how integrations can make your life easier, improve efficiencies at your firm, and allow you to better serve your clients.

Details:

When One Solution Won’t Do: Identifying the Need for a CRM Integration
Date: April 29, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. PDT

Register for the LMA Tech West 2021 Virtual Conference at https://www.legalmarketing.org/e/in/eid=1572.

ContactEase Welcomes Denise Ash as Customer Success Team Leader

ContactEase is pleased to welcome Denise Ash as Customer Success Team Leader. In this newly created role, Ash will serve as a liaison between the ContactEase Support Team and clients to ensure a seamless customer support experience.

Ash joins ContactEase from the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA). At ILTA, she served as Education Coordinator, planning educational sessions at the leading legal technology organization’s conferences and serving the member liaison community. She first became involved with ILTA through her role as a User Application Specialist at West Virginia law firm, Robinson & McElwee. Ash served as the Regional Member Liaison for Charleston, West Virginia, and as a member of the Apps and Coordinating team. She is also a recipient of ILTA’s Distinguished Peer Award – User Support Champion.

Denise brings nearly two decades of law firm IT experience to ContactEase. Most recently, she was the Training Manager at Jackson Kelly PLLC where she was responsible for training the firm’s users on ContactEase and managed several significant software deployments.

Denise lives in St. Albans, West Virginia, and has two adult children. In her spare time, she enjoys local history, team trivia, escape rooms, and cheering on the Marshall University Thundering Herd.

When Your CRM Strategy Goes Stale

Breakups aren’t easy. When a relationship is good, but not great, it can be easy to just keep going through the motions; but, what about your firm’s relationship with CRM? Sure, implementing new technology is a challenge, but maintaining the momentum and keeping things fresh can be just as difficult. When you lose momentum, you also lose any efficiencies you hoped to gain and your firm’s users will often be left frustrated and frazzled. They may even feel like their time and efforts have been wasted and check out completely.

So, what’s a firm to do when they find their relationship with CRM has gone stale? Some firms reimplement their existing system with a focus on new goals, strategies and incentives. Meanwhile, others may choose to look for a new system altogether. From buy-in to implementation (and even ongoing adoption and usage), moving to a new CRM can take a toll on a firm’s already limited resources. When a firm invests in technology and no longer sees the value, it creates challenges for everyone.

Amber Elliott, Director of Client Services at ContactEase, understands this struggle all too well. “When we talk to firms looking to make a CRM switch, lack of user adoption is something that comes up often. Sometimes it’s because the system is just not a good fit or difficult to use. ContactEase has one of the highest adoption rates in the industry and that’s not through luck,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to to define a custom implementation process to prevent our clients from falling into that trap. When a firm’s users understand the purpose behind the project, there is a sense of unity that leads to CRM success.” And that’s the case whether a firm is making a switch to a new system or looking to reimplement an existing one.

Just as systems go stale, so do strategies. That’s why it’s important for firms to evaluate CRM strategy on an ongoing basis. It’s important to know if a system is meeting a firm’s objectives, but it’s just as important to make sure that the firm’s objectives are in alignment with the firm’s current goals. This is why it’s also important to focus on CRM as a strategy and not a one-off project. Whether it’s a new platform or a new approach to your existing system, there are a few things you can do to reinvigorate your firm’s CRM strategy:

  • Leverage Relationships with Vendors. With team of former law firm marketing and IT professionals, the team at ContactEase has not only have seen and heard it all, we’ve most likely experienced it. Ask your technology vendors what they’re hearing from other firms and don’t be afraid to look outside of your industry for new and innovative ways to approach your CRM strategy.
  • Think About Your Users. Defining value to your users is a key component of a successful CRM strategy, but it’s important to remember that what matters to one set of users, may not matter to another. Outline your use cases and establish key messages focused on your different user groups.
  • Communicate. Communication is the foundation of any successful relationship. After you’ve defined value to your users, develop a focused communication plan for each group and stick to it. You can’t communicate too much when it comes to obtaining buy-in and charting a course for CRM success.
  • Define, Measure and Celebrate Success. Think about what a successful CRM strategy looks like for your firm. Track your successes and don’t forget to celebrate them, too.

Relationships are hard enough, your CRM doesn’t have to be. ContactEase and its team of of former law firm marketing and IT professionals have worked with firms of all sizes to successfully reinvigorate stale CRM relationships. Thinking about breaking up with your current CRM or want to know how to regain momentum with your existing platform? Let’s talk about it!
Additional Reading: ContactEase Case Study: CRM Conversions Made Easy.

New Year, New Job? Pay Attention to Your Firm’s Culture

A new year brings new opportunities. For those new to the legal industry it can also bring new and significant challenges. Whether you’ve joined a firm with an established marketing and business development function or are starting from scratch, adapting to law firm culture can be overwhelming. In the excitement of landing a new job, it can be easy to overlook the importance of understanding culture and with so many of us still working from home, it may also seem downright impossible. According to the authors of When You Start a New Job, Pay Attention to These Five Aspects of Company Culture, paying close attention to key dimensions of a firm’s culture can provide new hires with the tools they need to be effective in their role. In this post, we’ll look at two: relationships and communication.

Relationships

It’s important to understand how your firm cultivates internal relationships. The organizational structure of a law firm is itself unique. “I basically have 90 bosses and on any given day I’m probably working with more than half of them,” said one marketing director. It’s important to understand what’s required to get work done and make decisions. Some lawyers may prefer in person meetings while others stick to email. Depending on your office set up, lawyers may prefer to drop in with little or no notice. And when you’re new, you have to navigate introductions as well. Ask a colleague or a lawyer to facilitate those connections for you.

Communication

Understanding how people communicate at your firm can help you start strong. Your lawyers’ assistants can provide some great insight here. Sara Coffey worked in law firms for over a decade before joining ContactEase. When she began working with a lawyer at a new firm, she went straight to the lawyer’s assistant for help. “I knew [the assistant] had a good relationship with the lawyers. Some of my colleagues had experienced difficulty working with her, so I knew it was important to ask for help if I wanted to start off on the right foot,” Coffey said. The assistant advised Coffey to pay attention to how the lawyer signed off in emails, “An exclamation point? You’re good. No exclamation point or no punctuation at all — proceed with caution,” she was told. “Having that insight was really helpful and allowed me to fare better than some of the marketers who preceded me – for a little while at least,” Coffey recalled with a laugh.

Laying the Groundwork for Future Success

It’s important to remember that while you were hired based on for your past performance, your future with your new firm will be impacted by your ability to understand and work within your new firm’s culture. Taking the time to understand these key areas will help ensure your success and allow you to make a lasting and positive impact.

Ask Us

New to legal? The Legal Marketing Association is a great resource for those new to the industry (see regional initiatives from LMANext Southwest and LMANext Canada for more information). With our team of former law firm marketers and IT professionals. ContactEase also understands the unique challenges of working in the legal industry. Questions about your new industry? There’s a good chance we’ve experienced it ourselves or know someone who has. Feel free to contact us anytime!

Jennifer Whittier Featured in Legal Marketing Trends Report

ContactEase President, Jennifer Whittier is featured in the recently released Top Law Firm Marketing Trends for 2021 & Beyond from FSquared Marketing. Whittier joins a select group of experts in legal marketing, business development, and tech who share their thoughts on the most important trends shaping the legal industry.

In her message to legal marketers, Whittier says, “You are doing a great job – keep it up and keep it simple!” In 2020, marketers worked closely with lawyers at their firms to communicate with clients at a rapid pace. When COVID-19 hit, clients needed access to information quickly and the firms able to provide these updates were seen as leaders during an unprecedented time. As we enter 2021, Whittier believes this will be just as important and that one of the key drivers to timely and effective communication is having clean, accessible contact data in your firm’s CRM (read more at CRM Trends: Building Blocks in 2021).

Other topics covered in the report include digital experiences; diversity, equity and inclusion; digital and social media advertising; digital accessibility, and SEO. Read the full report at https://fsquaredmarketing.com/law-firm-marketing-trends-2021/.

Ready for a Little Post-Holiday Card Therapy?

While the holidays are stressful no matter your profession, they can be especially challenging for law firm marketers. 2020 was a year filled with stress and uncertainty, but law firms really outdid themselves with their holiday greetings this year. We saw many thoughtful, inspiring, and even heartwarming greetings with firms really going the extra mile to spread joy and come together during the holiday season. Check out the finalists in Above the Law’s 12th Annual Holiday Card Contest for some great examples and inspiration for next year. One of our favorites this year came from Bone McAllester Norton in Nashville. With an arrangement prepared by one of its attorneys, the video features talented singers from across the firm.

Holiday Card Survey & Post-Holiday Card Therapy Session

While the holiday card season is still fresh in your minds (or nightmares), we’d love to get your feedback. Based on the care that went into this year’s greetings, we know that holiday cards are important to firms, but we’d like to know more. Please take a few minutes to complete our survey and let us know how your firm approached cards this year. You can also share your holiday card horror stories. Our top ten favorites will receive a prize and we’ll share them, along with the results of the survey, during our Post-Holiday Card Therapy Session on January 8.

Direct Links

Survey: To take the holiday card survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CEHolidays

Register for our Post-Holiday Card Therapy Session: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2381505214183404814

Details: On January 8, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. EST, we’ll review the results of our holiday card survey and share some of our favorite holiday card horror stories. We hope you’ll join us!

ContactEase Recommended Reading: When COVID Came, Law Firms Delivered Important Messages in Perilous Times

With offices emptied, remote workforces taking shape practically overnight, and clients clamoring for information about the impact of the pandemic on their own businesses, law firms were forced to quickly adapt in order to effectively communicate. If you’re a legal marketer, we bet this sounds pretty familiar (well, maybe not that part about quickly adapting). In Marketing Tech: When COVID Came, Law Firms Delivered Important Messages in Perilous Times from Marketing the Law Firm, the authors outline some of the strategies that have emerged for successfully navigating external communications with clients and prospects. Check out the full article and read on for some of our key takeaways.

Speak up fast
Providing critical updates is essential; however, it is important to ask what your clients need, how your firm’s expertise can be used to help them and what you can share that reflects you firm’s humanity and commitment to the communicated and industries it serves.

Rapidly share actionable information
Whether it was a centralized COVID resource center on their websites or regular e-alerts and webinars, many firms took a proactive approach to meet their clients’ emerging needs. We heard from many ContactEase clients who used CRM and our other products, like List Manager and integrations with Constant Contact, Vuture and Saturno to quickly update mailing lists and get their important communications in front of their clients and contacts. If you’re tempted to reduce your external communications, the authors suggest you think carefully. “Those that continue to provide a steady stream of timely, actionable information about topics of critical importance to their clients, COVID-related or not, will continue to reap the benefits,” they wrote.

Leverage the surge in demand for expertise
As the authors are quick to point out, in 2020 nearly all journalists have become pandemic journalists and law firms have become a great resource. It is important for firms to continue to provide journalists with information they need when they need it. Law firms that understand the importance of this and act as “reliable partners and good citizens” will continue to expand their audience and reap the benefits of these relationships.

Want to know how ContactEase clients are using CRM and related technology to get in front of the right people at the right time? Contact us!

Back to Basics: A Single Source of Truth

In our Back to Basics series, we’re doing just that – getting back to basics to understand the fundamentals of CRM and why it matters to your firm. In this post we’re looking at CRM as a single source of truth and what that means.

As we wrote in our last post, the main job of any CRM is to store and organize your firm’s contacts – all the details, any communication or touch points you’ve had with them – in one place (i.e. a single source of truth). CRM helps your firm’s professionals stay connected to your clients and can help improve profitability and internal processes (see ROI: Boost Revenue with CRM).

So yes, at its most basic, CRM provides you with a single source of truth for your firm’s important clients and contacts. With so many data stores available at most firms, it can be difficult to know what to trust. A CRM provides you with a single, reliable source of truth where your clients, contacts and opportunities exist. This is also why integrations are so important.

An essential feature of any CRM should be the ability to integrate with other systems (see Bridge Building with CRM). When you integrate CRM with your firm’s existing systems, data from your technology stack can be captured across platforms and you can rely on your CRM as, yes, you guessed it, a single source of truth. At ContactEase, we know that we make a great CRM. We don’t want to do it all. That’s why we partner with other popular applications that your firm already knows and uses.

In recent years we’ve introduced integrations with marketing automation systems like Constant Contact, Mailchimp, and Vuture and time and billing systems like Aderant, Juris and Elite. We are constantly evaluating the market and speaking with our clients to connect with the systems they are using. If your systems don’t talk to one another, you run the risk of having information that is outdated, incomplete and just plain wrong. When you make CRM and data integrity a priority, your firm will be better equipped to understand where your communications with your clients and prospects stand.

Talking Points: Does My Firm Need CRM?

If there’s no single source for information at your firm, you run the risk of duplicating outreach, having outdated information, and leaving key contacts off of important mailings. CRM can provide a single view of every client’s contact information and firm outreach, without which, you may not be able to fully implement strategic marketing and business development initiatives.

Back to Basics: What is CRM?

Back to the Basics: What is CRM?

In this series, we’re going back to the basics. We’ll look at CRM as a tool and as a strategy to empower your firm’s business development and marketing initiatives and strengthen your relationships.

If we’re going back to the basics, we may as well start with an obvious question: What is CRM (and why do you need one)? We could write a novel on this subject, but for now we’ll keep it simple.

CRM is a Contact (or Client) Relationship Management platform. Outside of the professional services sector, CRM may also be referred to as Customer Relationship Management.

A Single Source of Truth

The main job of a CRM platform is to store and organize your firm’s contacts – all their details and any communication or touch points you’ve had with them – in a single place. In other words, a CRM is a single source of truth for your firm’s contact data. It helps firms stay connected to their clients and can even improve profitability (see: ROI: Boost Revenue with CRM).

Capture Touchpoints and Coordinate Business Development Efforts

CRM allows you to focus your firm’s business development and marketing strategy by understanding who at the firm knows whom and is in touch with your clients and contacts. You can track every touchpoint, record activities, and allow your professionals to collaborate seamlessly and stay organized. CRM can inform your firm’s business development and marketing strategy by providing a 360 degree view of your clients and contacts. It can even tell you when they’re opening your emails, how often they’re attending your events, or if they’re not engaging with you at all.

Integrate with Tools You Know and Use

CRM can integrate with the tools your firm already knows and uses. With a time and billing integration, for example, you’ll have a complete picture of the client journey. Integrations with email campaign tools like Vuture, Mailchimp and Constant Contact allow you to easily capture important analytics and know who is engaging with your firm’s communications. Integrations also allow you to automate certain processes so you can boost productivity and save time (see: Benefits of CRM Bridge Building).

In our upcoming post, we’ll dig in a little deeper. Do you have questions about CRM or how it can help your firm? With an industry high adoption rate, ContactEase is the CRM of choice for more than 250 professional services firms worldwide. Contact us at sales@contactease.com or visit www.contactease.com to learn more.

ContactEase Recommended Reading: How Law Firms are Handling the Most Interesting Budgeting Season in Years

“What the pandemic has proved is that those law firms that have spent significant dollars on technology investment were better prepared than those that didn’t.” 

October is a busy time for many marketers and it’s also typically the time of year we start to hear from firms looking to make room in their budgets for CRM for the coming year; however, we all know there is nothing typical about this year.  If you’re struggling to figure out how to approach “the most interesting budgeting season in years,” you’re not alone.  In a recent article from The American Lawyer, law firm leaders shared their insight on how they’re approaching their budgets for 2021 (registration may be required). 

With a decrease in traditional business development activities and an uptick in communications, it’s never been more important to stay in touch with your firm’s important clients. According to Michael Heller, executive chair and CEO at Cozen O’Conner, “What the pandemic has proved is that those law firms that have spent significant dollars on technology investment were better prepared than those that didn’t.” We’ve heard this from ContactEase clients as well.

While many firms have increased the frequency of their communications (in fact, one firm reported they’d seen an increase of over 400%), our clients said it was the processes and technology they implemented before the pandemic that allowed them to quickly and efficiently pivot during this time to keep their clients and contacts informed and engaged.

One marketing director said, “Getting lawyers to provide content has often been a struggle for us, but not this year. Like a lot of firms, we developed a COVID resource center early on. We used List Manager to provide lawyers with a summary of their contacts and used the Constant Contact integration to send our mailings and track the success of our campaigns.”

If you’re looking to make room in your budget for CRM, be sure to visit our website to learn how CRM can pay for itself many times over by saving you time and money. Download “ROI: Boost Revenue with CRM” to learn how one firm was able to boost its revenue and realize an ROI of over 100% with ContactEase.