Research published earlier today by LexisNexis InterAction highlights the importance of collaboration across all job functions within law firms when capturing, storing and analysing contact information. Using a series of group discussions, interviews and surveys of 68 business development, marketing and IT professionals within UK law firms, LexisNexis InterAction found that the main concerns of using a CRM (client relationship management) system were the same regardless of the functional role or size of an organisation.

According to indepedent consultant John Rogers, of Tandem Management: “The challenge is to gain the active cooperation of fee-earners, and that will only happen if they see a direct benefit to themselves. This means that the CRM system must actually be easier to use than their current method of recording information about their contacts. Appeals to lawyers' good nature are doomed to failure; anything which makes their lives easier is likely to be a success.”

The following statements were made during the course of the research which highlights this need for a working collaboration between all levels of staff within an organisation:
• “CRM records that don’t get updated regularly have low credibility within the organisation”
• “Fee-earners don’t recognise the value of putting information into the CRM system that might be of use to someone else in the organisation.”
• “CRM software has to be a seamless part of the user’s normal working practice.”
• “Fee-Earners will not use a CRM system which is not easy to use.”
• “We don’t have the involvement we need from fee-earners to ensure the successful implementation of our CRM system.”
• “Fee earners in my firm don’t update the CRM system.”

Daniel Von Weihe, Sales & Operations Director for LexisNexis InterAction commented: “Whilst the technology and demand is clearly there to support the client development of today’s businesses, we must ensure that stakeholders from all areas of the business are trained not just how to use CRM software but on how the technology is to be used in order to achieve their business objectives.

“The use of CRM in the legal sector is becoming more prevalent, but buy-in throughout the organisation is required to ensure every client interaction becomes an opportunity to meet the short-term tactical needs and further the long-term strategic outlook of an organisation.  We have plans to transform the end-user experience by investing in further development of the product and introducing more unique features that will fit into the day-to-day workflows and process of lawyers.”