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Lexis research says CRM users must collaborate more

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.”

5 replies on “Lexis research says CRM users must collaborate more”

…I cannot believe that research was needed in order to find out these issues. 'Fee earners do not update CRM systems' …..we are going back to what we all knew in the 1980's again.

I have to agree with the above anonymous comment. Next thing you know someone will release a study by an accounting vendor to demonstrate that no fees are collected if bills aren't mailed out.
That's not to say that the observations are off-base, but they are certainly readily apparent to anyone who has actually worked in any of these envrionments. I'm guessing that this is a PR play by the folks at InterAction to deflect some of the criticism they get for the implementations of their product being so poorly received and/or abandoned.

And why are CRM implementations so poorly received and/or abandoned. CRM is in the main a marketing tool and most fee earners are not marketeers which is why the two mix like oil and water. Law firms would do better employing marketing people to concentrate on their CRM projects. After 27 years its about time to give up on the poor old fee earners.

“After 27 years its about time to give up on the poor old fee earners.”
You can take a horse to water …
… then shoot it!

One of the biggest issues in any CRM implementation is getting the end users to use the system. If CRM is seen as a directive from above and there is no involvement from the end users in the both the project requirement definition and selection process then the project is doomed to fail.
As with any CRM implementation the key steps are to first understand the business strategy of the firm. The second is to understand what the end users require to make them more effective. Create a project team that has representatives from all areas of the business. It is also essential to make sure that you have the sponsorship of the senior partners and stake holders. The third is to take a phased approach to the implementation to ensure you can align the user requirements with the business strategy. Once you have understood these areas then you can align the project plan and continued roadmap to these objectives.
If you take the big bang approach to CRM projects you can pretty much guarantee that the implementation will not be delivered on time or within budget. In addition big bang normally means that the end users are presented with a vast amount of functionality which they don’t need and won’t use. At the end of the day, are fee earners really going to get a slap on the wrist if they don’t enter data, I doubt it.
We recently undertook a Return on Investment study at one firm and found a number of tangible benefits to fear earners. For example, by replacing their current process for list creation with ePartners Legal CRM each fee earner would save up to 1 hour per month. This fact was found out by ensuring that we had fee earner representatives involved in the study. The key to achieving this was by making the system easy to use and not burden them with a huge amount of new activities to complete.
So in essence, keep it simple and specific to each user group, create a phased implementation plan and road map and address what you want to achieve today but always keep an eye on what you want to do in the future. The last thing you want to do is go through this process again because your requirements have outgrown the CRM system you selected. And Remember, CRM is not just about technology, it’s about strategy, people and a process, the technology is the enabler.

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