Yes, You Can Successfully Integrate Your Website with CRM

With integrations all the rage, you might be wondering if they can benefit to your firm. The answer is most likely yes. ContactEase’s Director of Client Services, Amber Elliott, and ORBA’s Director of Marketing, Joy Long, discussed their experiences integrating ORBA’s website with CRM and its content delivery system, Constant Contact, at the Legal Marketing Association’s Tech Midwest Conference in Chicago earlier this month.

Ask Joy what she thinks of technology and she’ll tell you, “I appreciate and understand the benefits of what technology can bring to a firm. But, I also know that it’s a team effort and I need to have a right hand tech professional who understands the specifications.” So, when she began looking into integrating her website with other marketing technology tools, finding that right hand took priority. And a right hand is just what she found in Amber at ContactEase.

When Joy joined ORBA, a Chicago-based accounting firm, one of her first projects was to phase out the old paper client newsletter and implement regular, timely electronic communications. She was also tasked with purchasing a CRM. At the time, the firm had a fledgling blog, one paper newsletter and one mailing list. The process for publishing the blog was cumbersome and time consuming. Joy knew there was a better way. As anyone who has tried to effect change in a professional services firm knows, change doesn’t come fast or easy, and this is especially true when it comes to integrations. Some firms attempt to do this too early. When it comes to integrations, go, but go slow.  Amber recommends thinking about the integration as the second phase of an implementation. Implement the individual systems and allow your professionals to become comfortable with the workflow in order to identify areas for improvement.

Since implementing a CRM system about five years ago, the firm has grown from one blog to a content platform that includes nine industry and service blogs, eight quarterly newsletters and approximately two dozen client alerts. In addition, the firm sends an annual holiday card, firm announcements and is looking to add another new blog by the end of this year. Needless to say, integrating ORBA’s website with ContactEase and Constant Contact has greatly simplified the process to get each piece of content out the door and has saved the marketing department several hours each month, which they are redirecting toward other marketing initiatives.

Some things to remember when making the case for an integration:

  • Go, but go slow. Think of the integration as the second phase of implementation.
  • Show the value. When you can demonstrate how much time your department spends completing manual tasks that can be automated (e., show how much time you’re wasting), it’s easier to show the value an integration between two systems would bring (in other words, you can do even more).
  • Involve your technology partners from the start. Understand their capabilities and how they integrate with your existing systems.
  • Use your team to outline existing processes and test new ones to work out the kinks. They can identify redundancies and areas for potential automation.

Joy knew what she wanted to accomplish with her integration, but she also reaped some unexpected benefits. She knew that her content manager would save a good deal of time using the new process, but it ended up being more than she expected. As a result, she’s been able to refocus this time on driving the SEO process and has seen a marked improvement in the firm’s SEO scores and other analytics. Joy has some advice for those considering an integration:

  • Work backwards. Identify your goals, your end game and then figure out how to get there.
  • Know your budget, but build in some flexibility for the unexpected.
  • It’s a team effort. Find and identify your internal and external team (IT, marketing, technology partners, etc.) and include them from the beginning of the project so they understand what role each must play.
  • Understand your technical capabilities and make sure you have a good working relationship with your IT department.
  • Get it all in writing. Ask for a Statement of Work. Develop steps and best practices to help you identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as gaps in your existing processes.
  • Be patient. Sometimes it takes time to work out the kinks.

As a result of working on hundreds of successful CRM implementations, Amber stresses the two things all successful implementations share: a scope of work and clearly defined team responsibilities.  In addition to the considerations listed above, Amber recommends that anyone considering an integration should:

  • Ensure that the expectations (for the integration, your firm and your technology partners) are documented for clarity and agreed on by all parties involved. It is important that the objectives and desired outcomes are accounted for by everyone.
  • It must be a team effort. Programmers won’t understand your business processes and you shouldn’t expect them to. Integrations are still systems development.
  • Look for vendors who understand your workflow. When you’re selecting products, consider your team – you’ll be working closely with them for the duration.
  • Identify an internal project manager. Ideally this should be someone who has the time and ability to shepherd the process and oversee each step.

Following these best practices paid off for Joy and her firm. Joy’s experience shows us that, with a little effort, integrations can improve a firm’s internal processes and deliver a return on investment as well. Now the real question is what does she do with all that free time?

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Whittier and Amber Elliott to Present at LMA Tech Midwest 2018

LMA Tech Midwest Speaking

Join us at LMA Tech Midwest in Chicago! Integrations are all the rage, but are they always the best answer? In this case study presentation, Joy Long, Director of Marketing at Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams (ORBA), Jennifer Whittier and Amber Elliott, from ContactEase, will share their experiences integrating CRM with ORBA’s new website and Constant Contact. Tying these three systems together has automated the marketing team’s workflow, eliminating duplicate entry and the risk for human error and saving the team countless hours on mailings each month. Attendees will learn what to look for when considering an integration and more importantly, the questions they need to ask of both their technology providers and others in their firm as well as who to involve (hint: don’t forget IT).

Participants will leave this session with the information they need to lead technology adoption in their firms and how to ensure the project keeps moving forward. To learn more about LMA Tech Midwest or to register, visit: https://www.legalmarketing.org/page/lmatech/midwest/2018/Home.

#LMATECH

LMA Recognizes Bradley CRM Implementation with 2018 Your Honor Awards

NEW ORLEANS — The Legal Marketing Association (LMA) has selected Bradley as the First Place winner in the Technology Management: Software and Applications category of the 2018 Your Honor Awards. The award was presented to Bradley and technology partners, ContactEase and CLIENTSFirst Consulting for its CRM implementation, Bradley Connect, at the 2018 LMA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The project was also recognized with an honorable mention in the Technology Management: Applications and Innovative Use of Technology category.

“It is such an honor for our work to be recognized by the Legal Marketing Association. The success of this project would not have been possible without the leadership and support of the firm’s Marketing Committee, Bradley’s Director of Business Development and Marketing, Kelly Schrupp, our IT Project Manager, Jason Bentley and the rest of the marketing and business development and IT teams,” said Jacqueline Madarang, Senior Marketing Technology Manager at Bradley. “Attorneys are actually using the CRM to uncover and identify relationships and the firm’s clients and contacts are receiving timely industry alerts and news. It’s very exciting for us to see the hard work pay off.”

Kelly Schrupp, Director of Business Development and Marketing, said, “I’m proud of what the team has accomplished in a short period of time and am so glad they have been recognized for their commitment and the hard work they put in every day to make the CRM rollout successful.”

The LMA Your Honor Awards program recognizes excellence in legal marketing by promoting projects and programs that showcase innovation and return on marketing dollar investment. A panel of expert judges awarded first-, second-, third-place and/or honorable mention in 16 categories, encompassing work related to business development, business of law, client services, communications, marketing management and leadership, and technology.

“The Your Honor Awards winners showcase the best in the legal marketing industry, from creativity and execution to achievement and overall excellence,” said Betsi Roach, LMA Executive Director. “LMA is proud to celebrate member achievements and highlight the brilliant work our community is doing, further affirming our position as a thought leader in the legal industry.”

About Bradley Connect
The implementation was a tremendous effort on behalf of the firm’s teams. Attorneys and staff had little faith in prior systems because contacts could not be globally updated and relationships couldn’t be identified or segmented, resulting in redundant emails asking “who knows whom” and an inability to track open and bounce back rates. Looking past the implementation process, it was important that users understood the firm’s goals for the system. It was also important to staff the firm properly starting with the Marketing Technology team led by Jacqueline Madarang and Bradley partner, Justin McDonald. Users can now see “who knows whom” and other relationships a client may touch. They can now add contacts to mailings and are seeing the results of this relationship intelligence – they now benefit from seeing the relationships within the firm. Attorneys once hesitant to share contacts are now doing so. Of the almost 500 users trained, the few not participating are due only to scheduling and not resistance.

For a complete list of the 2018 Your Honor Awards winners, visit www.legalmarketing.org. Learn more about Bradley at bradley.comContactEase at contactease.com and CLIENTSFirst at clientsfirstconsulting.com.

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About the Legal Marketing Association
Founded in 1985, the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) is the universal voice of the legal marketing and business development profession, a community that brings together CMOs to entry-level specialists from firms of all sizes, consultants and vendors, lawyers, marketers from other professions and marketing students to share their collective knowledge. More than 90 percent of the largest 200 U.S. law firms employ an LMA member. Members at every stage in their career development benefit from participating in LMA’s array of programs and services.

LMA has eight regions and dozens of local groups across the U.S. and Canada, and its more than 4,200 members hail from 49 U.S. states and 28 countries. For more information, visit www.legalmarketing.org. If you would like to connect with LMA regarding this press release or the Your Honor Awards, please contact Stephanie Kusibab of the Legal Marketing Association at (312) 673-5954 or skusibab@legalmarketing.org.

Don’t Gamble on CRM: Ask the Experts at ILTA

CEVegas

Don’t take a gamble with your firm’s technology dollars. An important decision like CRM shouldn’t be made with a roll of the dice. Spend time with us and you’ll see why ContactEase has over a 90% success rate and is the CRM of choice in over 250 law and accounting firms with over 16,000 users worldwide. Whether you’re looking to implement a CRM system or just curious about what it can do for your firm, be sure to stop by and see us at Booth 535.

You’ll have the opportunity to meet the experts – current ContactEase clients – who will share their insights and experiences on everything from successfully implementing a CRM system and integrating with existing systems (such as time and billing) to working with other departments (like marketing) to engage your users and increase efficiencies across your firm.

While you’re there, say hello to our team of in-house experts, most of whom have worked in law firms themselves. With decades of combined in-house IT and marketing experience, no matter where you are in the CRM process or the challenges you’re facing, there’s a good chance we’ve been there.

We can’t wait to see you all in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. With a greater than 90% success rate, we’re the closest thing to a sure bet you’ll find!

Don’t Gamble on CRM: Ask the Experts (Our Clients) at #LMA17

Gambling can be great fun in Las Vegas, but gambling on an investment like CRM? Not so much.

If it’s time to invest in CRM (or if your current system isn’t working as well as you’d like), be sure to stop by Booth 315. You’ll have the opportunity to mix and mingle with current ContactEase clients who will share their insight and experiences on everything from making the case for CRM and getting buy-in from management to successfully implementing the system and showing a return on investment.

Don’t take a gamble with your marketing dollars or the trust of your attorneys.

Meet our experts, the in-house marketers that work with ContactEase every day, and learn:

  • How to get buy-in for your firm
  • How ContactEase can enhance your firm’s strategic marketing and communication efforts
  • Hindsight: what your peers wish they knew before getting started with CRM

Tuesday Morning (10:00 – 10:45) meet:

  • Kim Hafley, Director of Marketing & Recruitment, Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC
  • Ellen Page, Manager of Business Development & Marketing, Chaffetz Lindsey LLP

Tuesday Afternoon (2:45 – 3:30) meet:

  • Jim Jarrell, Director of Marketing & Practice Development, Stark & Stark
  • Joy Long, Director of Marketing, Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams LTD

Wednesday Morning (10:30 – 11:00) meet:

  • Jenn Merlin, Marketing Manager, Houser, Henry & Syron LLP
  • Alison Janzen, Marketing Director, Torkin Manes LLP

Ask the ContactEase Experts (our Clients)

Whittier to Speak on Future of CRM at LMA Northeast 2016 Conference

Jennifer Whittier, Chief Operating Officer for Cole Valley Software, will be among the panelists at next week’s LMA Northeast 2016 Conference in Boston.  Her session: “The Future of CRM – and the CRM of the Future” will provide attendees insight into features of CRM that can provide firms with real value, including:

  • Signature scraping
  • Relationship scoring
  • Opportunity pipelines
  • Activity and referral tracking
  • Business card scanning
  • Company data enhancements

Panelists will also discuss best practices to address common issues such as:

  • Adoption issues
  • Attorney buy-in
  • Effective communication
  • Data integrity
  • ROI

Jennifer has extensive customer relations experience and is responsible for the successful implementation of numerous ContactEase CRM installations.  A former ContactEase client for over five years, she joined Cole Valley Software in 2009. She is a frequent speaker on best practices of CRM implementation, including the integration of technology and marketing. Using her in-house experience as a former Director of Marketing and Client Relations, she understands the need for successful team work and collaboration. Jennifer enjoys visiting law firms across the country to share her knowledge of CRM best practices. Her clients rely on her for sound advice, extensive knowledge and most of all, her ability to bridge the gap between marketing and information technology.

For more information on “The Future of CRM – and the CRM of the Future,” or to register for the conference, please visit https://lmaneconference.com/.

2015 WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S NOT IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION – Update

ROBERT W. DENNEY

This, our 27th annual report, has been the most difficult of all to write because of the volume of continuous, sometimes conflicting, changes affecting the legal profession — which many firms still have not recognized or accepted. As always, “What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession” is based on information we compile throughout the year, not only from clients and many other firms but also from surveys, legal departments and providers of legal services and support to law firms and their clients……read on – http://bit.ly/1NbKgCj

SO “WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?”

As we were in the midst of preparing this report, one of my collaborators said to me, “From where I sit, all I’m hearing is ‘change!’”

“We’ve gotta change.”

“We are experiencing a tsunami of change.”

“The profession is experiencing radical change.”

“And yet, as far as I’m concerned, we ain’t seen nuttin yet.”

Those words sum up what we have reported here while pointing out examples — by no means all — of the developments, trends and issues affecting the legal profession. But the question in my mind, and in the minds of many, is: “Will the legal profession survive?”

I believe it will — if members of the profession follow the advice my late father-in-law repeated, constantly, to his family: “Do what you have to do, when you have to do it, whether you want to do it or not.”

Reflecting on the 2014 ILTA Annual Conference

Last month our entire ContactEase team had the opportunity to attend the 2014 ILTA Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee themed Imagine. The four-day conference had over 200 peer-developed educational sessions, numerous networking opportunities, and provided our team with the insights and inspirations to better partner with our clients and prospects.

Having our entire team at the conference also allowed us to come together afterwards and discuss the sessions we attended. These sessions varied from creating marketing and business development ROI to implementation and deployment best practices. With so many sessions and an overwhelming amount of content, we have decided launch a new blog series “ILTA Reflections.” Once a week until the end of October we will be reflecting on one of the sessions a team member has attended. Next week the series will kick off with the blog post “ILTA Reflections: Using Big Data To Measure Marketing and Business Development ROI.”

If you also attended the conference and are interested in sharing your take on a session we would love to share it here. Just send an email to marketing@colevalley.com with your session recap and we will post it here with you as our guest author!

ILTA Annual Conference

ILTA 2014As the summer is winding down we are preparing for the 37th ILTA Annual Conference in Nashville, TN! This year’s theme “Imagine” promises to bring together ILTA’s community, and the collective power of imagination will take everyone – as professionals and organizations – to new heights.

In conjunction with the Conference the entire ContactEase team will be in Nashville for our annual company retreat.

This will be a great opportunity to meet the team in person and catch-up on what’s new at Cole Valley Software. If your interested in grabbing a coffee or meeting up with us for dinner let us know by emailing marketing@colevalley.com.

 

The Managing Partner Forum

Tomorrow we will be joining The Remsen Group as they host their 23rd Annual Managing Partner Forum. The leadership conference brings together managing partners and leaders of mid-size US law firms.

What’s unique about this conference compared to others is their breakout sessions called Managing Partner Idea Exchanges (MPIEs). The breakouts provide a highly interactive format during which managing partners share ideas and practical solutions to the challenges of leading a successful law firm. The discussion points for this year will be:

  • Proven Strategies to Improve Firm Profitability
  • Marketing and Business Development Trends and Best Practices
  • Tackling the Really Tough Issues – Bad Behavior and Under Performance
  • Strategic Planning – Including Succession

Stop back later and checkout our recap of the conference and the key takeaways!