CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 5, Impact and ROI

For our last post, we shared CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 4, Data Management. This is the last of our CRM five-part series:  1) Getting Buy-In, 2) Planning and Budgeting, 3) Implementation, 4) Data Management, and 5) Impact and ROI.

This is Part 5 – Impact and ROI

Full implementation of a CRM system can take considerable time and effort. It’s important to track and measure impacts along the way, so you can determine ROI, demonstrate benefits, and celebrate success. This will increase buy-in and help you maximize the effectiveness of your system.

The following is what our peers had to say about the differences CRM made in their firms.

Kim Hafley comments:

We’ve seen three main impacts from CRM. First and foremost was the amount saved in printing and postage by cleaning up the data for all the mailing lists. That in itself was in excess of six figures.

The second was that, instead of entering data three times and having it take 24 man hours a month, it’s down to about 4 man hours. Over a year, that’s a huge chunk of somebody’s job, so we’ve freed up that time.

The third has to do with Christmas. We send out cards to a large list and run a huge event — a dress rehearsal with the Grand Rapids Ballet. By using CRM, we were able to reduce the time all this  from 300 man hours to 50.  We now have a great system that uses the Mailing List Manager, and the attorneys update their lists. We are able to email out invitations, and participants are able to sign up. We have their tickets waiting with their attorneys when they arrive so they get a personal greeting from their attorneys. It’s made the event a huge success.

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CRM has also enabled us to make sure our messages get out to the right people, as well as to print out reports that help our attorneys with cross-selling opportunities. They love that!
— Barbara Joseph

 

Barbara Joseph comments: 

We’ve received the most positive feedback and praise for how ContactEase has enabled us to be more proactive. For example, our data steward will use the system to run a report and give it to our client and industry teams with a note asking them to identify contacts to remove or add for a specific client or organization. It has also enabled us to make sure our messages get out to the right people, as well as to print out reports that help our attorneys with cross-selling opportunities. They love that!

CRM has saved us money, too. When I started, we were publishing and mailing about 8,000 copies of a glossy magazine three times a year. Some people were getting more than one copy, and that was expensive. By using CRM to de-duplicate and massage our data, we cut our mailing list down to 5,000. That’s a huge savings! Now we’re able to build up the list with the right people by using CRM to identify contacts who should be getting the magazine. It’s a great tool.

So is Mailing List Manager, part of our CRM system. We have an annual tent party at a West Virginia University football game and send out 5,000 e-invitations. We used to have to look through our old database, run a separate Excel spreadsheet for every attorney and
circulate it. They would mark it up and return it, and   we would then have to go in, change the data, enter the information, print it out, and send it to the printer for the mailing.

This morning it took me less than 30 minutes to update my Mailing List Manager and send an email to our attorneys saying “Here’s a spreadsheet with all your contacts. Please mark who should be invited to the tent party.” As the attorneys mark the spreadsheets, Mailing List Manager automatically updates the information in our database. When I need to, it will take me 15 minutes to pull an Excel spreadsheet for the mailing and send it to my printer. Mailing List Manager will save me 20 to 30 hours of work, just for that one event.

Joy Long comments:

For me, the benefit of using CRM is just amazing. For instance, we were able to get rid of six-figure printing, postage and mailing costs. Also, before CRM we were able to send out only two or three things a month because of the incredible time involved. Now I’m able to work with the different industry and practice groups and expand our blog platform. So today we have eight blogs and seven newsletters, and we regularly send out seminar invitations and special client alerts — all without having to increase staff!

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Before CRM we were able to send out only two or three things a month because of the incredible time involved… Today we have eight blogs and seven newsletters, and we regularly send out seminar invitations and special client alerts — all without having to increase staff!  — Joy Long

Because we’ve gained so much efficiency with the CRM, it’s easier to send out things.  Something that would take two or three days is now down to a matter of minutes because you’re putting the tools in everybody else’s hands. It’s just so much more efficient!

For the full white paper visit our website – http://colevalley.com/Resources.aspx

 

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CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 4, Data Management

Last week we shared CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 3, Implementation. This is our CRM five part series:  1) Getting Buy-In, 2) Planning and Budgeting, 3) Implementation, 4) Data Management, and 5) Impact and ROI.

Part 4 – Data Management 

Inconsistent, inaccurate, duplicate, and incomplete data can cause chaos even after a successful implementation. The more effective CRM implementations have made a focused effort on data integrity. Some firms use a data steward who assumes the primary responsibility for managing the accuracy and reliability of a firm’s data.

Hear from these panelists how, if you practice good data management and implement a constant cleansing process for your CRM, you will be able to actually realize its full potential. That’s when your CRM data is really an asset!

View More: http://benjamindavidphotography.pass.us/foster-headshotsKim Hafley comments:

We use CRM as a broad data management system. We have in it not only clients, but also referral sources and people who attend our events or subscribe to our newsletters or blogs.

Before CRM we had seven databases and knew that people were getting multiple copies of mailings. So we focused first on getting that data cleaned, because we knew that from a business-case perspective, we’d be able to show that we were providing better client service, saving money on printing and postage, and ultimately getting the materials to people on a more timely basis. That was phase one.

We also knew that each of our attorneys has a business development account, and we had a system where the data was getting entered three times, which was obviously very ineffective. So we worked with Cole Valley on using the tracking module to come up with asystem that enables the attorney or the attorney’s secretary to enter a business development expense, get reimbursement and create a report.

We also helped marketing use the module to create a tracking system that shows how much we’re spending on entertainment versus individual corporate sponsorships. So it’s been a win-win all the way around. We’re actually working on phase four right now.

“If you spend time on the front end making sure that your data is the best it can be, you’re going to be a lot better off. The data stewards aren’t going to have much in the way of cleanup.” — Kim Hafley

Joseph_Barb_PP (1)Barbara Joseph comments:

Having a data steward really helps us get the most from CRM. She can run all kinds of reports, and see changes or updates to the data that have come through. Particularly when a new attorney syncs his or her data with the database, the data steward looks at it and notices if there are any process errors. If so, she goes in and tries to correct them. Otherwise, it’s that junk-in, junk-out issue. The reports she runs at different intervals really help, and ContactEase has all those reports built in so you can easily get them. That’s been very helpful.

It’s easier to manage shared contacts if each of our attorneys doesn’t have 2,000 of them in the system. CRM enables our attorneys to choose whether to share an Outlook contact, or keep it personal. We’re not asking them to delete anybody from their overall contacts, but just to choose which to share with the overall system. If they haven’t had any contact with someone in the past five years or can’t verify that the person is alive or dead, we ask them to make that contact personal or delete it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoy Long comments:

When I did the audit I mentioned, one key question was “Where does all the data in the firm lie?” I’m not just talking about the mailing lists, but also Outlook data, Excel spreadsheets and maybe industry lists or other mailing lists.

I wanted to look at that from the get-go and determine where the communities of data were and what made the most sense in how to bring it in. It’s very easy to end up with garbage in, garbage out, so you essentially get one shot at this. Finding and cleaning the data took six to seven months, because it was like building a layer cake. How do you bring in new data so you don’t put garbage on top of clean data? That was really a huge challenge for us.

If you spend time on the front end making sure that your data is the best it can be, you’re going to be a lot better off. The data stewards aren’t going to have much in the way of cleanup, and it won’t take as long as before. It’s still critically important, because once you let it go, it goes downhill really fast.

Stay tuned for next week’s article – CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 5, Impact and ROI. For the full whitepaper visit our website – http://colevalley.com/Resources.aspx

CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 3, Implementation

Last week we shared CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 2, Planning and Budgeting. This is our CRM five part series:  1) Getting Buy-In, 2) Planning and Budgeting, 3) Implementation, 4) Data Management, and 5) Impact and ROI.

Part 3 – Implementation

This is where the rubber meets the road. How you go about implementing your CRM system can determine whether it is successful, as well as whether you maximize the benefits you get from it. Here are some things the panelists suggest to do or keep in mind as you put CRM to work for your firm.

View More: http://benjamindavidphotography.pass.us/foster-headshotsKim Hafley comments:

For me, the key to implementing CRM is figuring out your main goal, identifying a champion and getting feedback from staff. So if your culture is the type where your people have input into the process, they are much more likely to follow and use a system that they feel they are a part of creating.

“When you’re thinking about implementation, think about training the end users and realize that the needs of different users are probably going to be different.”  — Kim Hafley

While it’s easy to get excited about all the bells and whistles a CRM system has, it’s important and easier to be successful if you pick one feature as a goal, implement it, and then track the metrics involved that prove you were successful in realizing benefits. Then you can go on to phase two and phase three.

When you’re thinking about implementation, think about training the end users and realize that the needs of different users are probably going to be different. In our focus groups with support staff, we were able to get a good handle on what the secretaries needed to feel successful using CRM, what the paralegals needed, and what they thought the attorneys needed. This led to our doing a lot of one-on-one training. You may
think that’s not very efficient. But it turned out to be incredibly efficient for our culture because we were able to go through a checklist and make sure everyone had a core competency.

We were also able to ask how firm members thought CRM  might benefit them, or what immediate benefit they saw, whether it was being able to see what other newsletters a client might be receiving or who else in the firm might know the client. This made the training personal, so people felt more responsible for the system, and it really helped us in keeping the data clean over the long haul, because people realized how important that is.

In the focus groups we also looked at the data fields. Everybody’s got a preferred way of entering data; for example, whether they use titles or put nicknames in the name field. We told the groups that we can have only one way to enter data, and we’re not going to be able to accommodate everything. Instead, we need to find a common denominator and agree upon a standard. This exercise helped immensely, because we had dialogue and people felt involved. So if a field wasn’t what they preferred, they understood the reasoning behind it.

The other thing that helped was to appoint a data steward who enters the data not only for the marketing system but also for the accounting system, so it’s the same person. That suggestion came out of our focus groups. Implementing it made the staff feel that their concerns and ideas are listened to. So they are very “bought into” the system and continue to come up with great suggestions.

Joseph_Barb_PP (1)Barbara Joseph comments:
The one aspect of implementation I did not appreciate enough, but certainly do now, is the different levels of what I’ll call “housekeeping” that people do for their Outlook contacts. I just didn’t realize how bad some of the attorneys’ housekeeping was. One had the same person in his contacts seven times at seven different jobs. As the person changed jobs, the attorney just kept putting in a new record and never took out the obsolete entries. Even though we were very clear in our request on what we wanted people to do and share, they took the easy route sometimes.

“It really helped to be able to get on the phone with Cole Valley and ask what I should do. They had done so many implementations that I never threw anything at them they hadn’t already encountered.” — Barbara Joseph

Also, we initially felt that more was better and encouraged people to add in all of their contacts and relationships. But a lot of the older contacts were not current. That muddied up our data.

We’re more watchful now as data comes in. That’s one of the reasons we slowed down the implementation and brought in smaller groups of attorneys at a time. That helped us control the data.

As analytical as I thought I was and as much homework as I did on CRM, many times I hit a fork in the road during implementation and would have to make a decision about something I hadn’t considered. It really helped to be able to get on the phone with Cole Valley and ask what I should do. They had done so many implementations that I never threw anything at them they hadn’t already encountered. That kept me from taking the wrong fork or just being paralyzed, not sure which way to go.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoy Long comments:

The first time I rolled out a CRM system, I rolled out everything at once. The problem wasn’t that firm members didn’t like CRM or that it didn’t eventually succeed, but that it was too much all at once. The main thing I’ve learned is to phase in CRM. This keeps it exciting and new, rather than giving so much information at once that people’s heads are going to explode.

This time I was able to break down the implementation process and focus on what the new users absolutely needed to know and do. Going one step at a time starts to embed the system into people’s everyday activities and teaches them something that’s simple yet helpful.  Then you can build on that.  Being realistic is key.

Stay tuned for next week’s article – CRM Implementation Best Practices – Part 4, Data Management. For the full whitepaper visit our website – http://colevalley.com/Resources.aspx

 

ROI: How CRM Can Boost Revenue – Case Study by Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC

Wouldn’t you like to see numbers like these at your firm?

Businessman Holding ROI With Upward Moving Arrow

  • $53,463 in annual savings on newsletter costs
  • 200% increase in the number of newsletters sent out annually
  • 700% reduction in time spent on data entry
  • $15,600 in annual savings on list management costs
  • $121,973 in fees from three new Ag Law clients
  • 149% ROI on your CRM investment

Those are just some of the benefits that Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC, a 95-attorney law firm based in Lansing, Michigan, has realized from implementing ContactEase CRM — and that your firm can enjoy, too. Others include a more accurate and easier-to-update database of 42,000 records, the ability to readily track and manage business development activities by type, and the ability to manage client compliance with employee benefits laws and maintain related forms and correspondence. For the full Case Study by Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC,- http://colevalley.com/Resources.aspx

 

Mailing List Manager Saves Significant Time…

Mailing List Puzzle Showing Email Marketing Lists OnlineWith ContactEase’s Mailing List Manager, professionals or their secretaries can easily update and select contacts to be on a mailing or event list in a browser window, saving great amounts of time and avoiding paperwork. They just click on those that should get the holiday card, update their industry, select a holiday gift, or see what their status is for the golf outing. An unlimited number of different events and/or mailings can be tracked with this system, allowing for each user to review their own mailing list in significantly less time.

“Coming from a small firm, I am thrilled to have a resource like Contact Ease.   It was simple for me to sync my Outlook.  Then with Mailing List Manager in an hour and a half, I had gone through and marked my 800+ contacts with what announcements and newsletters they should receive.  The feedback I have had from clients in just a month has been amazing.  Also new to the firm, I like the fact that I can search to see who at the firm might have contacts at a company.  It helps optimize business development opportunities and allows me a way to check to make sure I don’t step on any toes.”

Scott Dienes  –  Shareholder, Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC

ContactEase CRM products are easy-to-use and simple to manage. For more information about ContactEase Add-On Modules visit our website, http://colevalley.com/Products.aspx

Business Development Expense Management Add-On Module

CRM - Customer Relationship Management

ContactEase has over a dozen of add-on modules that are available to enhance the capabilities of the CRM platform and are designed to improve business efficiencies across your organization.

Tracking business development expenses can be overwhelming and difficult to manage. Many marketing departments track this information manually and it’s often out of date.
With our Business Development Expense Management Tool partners, lawyers and their assistants can easily enter expenditures for approval, identifying the client/prospect and even the business discussed. Users enter the expense details including the person being entertained in a simple, easy to learn interface. This tool allows partners and lawyers to manage and submit their expenses in a timely fashion allowing you to track the total spend for the year. Expenses are submitted directly to Accounting and added to ContactEase with the click of a button – providing you with a spending recap against budget in a timely fashion.

ContactEase CRM products are easy-to-use and simple to manage. For more information about ContactEase Add-On Modules visit our website, http://colevalley.com/Products.aspx

 

 

 

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.