How to make the most of your CRM in 2020

With budget season behind us and the New Year officially here, many of you will embrace 2020 as the year of CRM. Now, we get that breaking up with your old CRM can be hard. It’s had a good run and has done what the firm needed it to do, but you realized long ago, it was time to move on. Your team did its research, vetted all your options, presented a business case, and got the green light. So here you are, about to open the box on a shiny new CRM and propel your firm into the next generation when you ask yourself, “where do I start?” 


What can we be doing first?

Data. Data. Data. Before kicking off your CRM implementation, you should already be thinking (and working with) data. One of the more time consuming and expensive tasks of any project is data migration – often due to the sheer number of records firms end up bringing over. One idea we often hear during discovery is, “I think we’re going to start from scratch.” This sounds all well and good, but then the project kicks off, and the realization of losing tens or even hundreds of thousands of contacts sets in and the team realizes they should do a data review. This process can end up adding three or more months to your timeline. So, if you want to jumpstart your project, review your data. Really challenge your team to decide what is essential. Consultants such as Wilson Allen or ClientsFirst, are also great options if you’re short on time, have limited resources, or just want to leave it up to the pros.

Data selection/cleansing best practices

  • Take a formula-based approach – A strategy we share with our clients around data selection/cleansing a formula-based approach. First, identify what information you would consider migrating over. Then create a weighted scale for each attribute based on the level of importance. Once you’ve finished creating the ranking system, you can go back systematically to rate each record, and from there, you should be able to set a threshold and migrate with confidence.
      • Examples: the date of last engagement, communication response rate, relationship score


What to expect from my CRM implementation?

The one thing that can be said about every implementation is that no two are the same. Implementing a CRM is a complex process and even more so in law firms. More than 60% of the people in the firm have an opinion that factors into every decision. Each is unique with different challenges, goals and objectives, so having a well thought out plan and communication are critical. At Intapp, we take a very hands-on, methodical approach to implementations. The first thing we want to do is map everything out and come up with an agreed-upon course of action before we kick things off. From there, we graduate into each phase of the process.

Typical CRM implementation timeline

  • Planning – This should be where you define the resources needed for each phase of the project and agree on a realistic timeline
  • Discovery – A workshop type discussion around the existing processes, integration requirements, and desired outcomes. This discussion should be well documented and signed off on, so everyone is in lockstep. As a reminder, lean on your service provider for recommendations, they’ve seen a thing or two (or more!). They can help provide you the guidance of what has worked in the past and the landmines to avoid.
  • Configuration / integration / migration – Much of the heavy lifting here will be on your service provider and IT; however, you should still be driving the discussion based on priorities. (See the best practice below).
  • Validation – ensures security protocols are in place, roles are set up correctly, and end-users can begin entering sample data to confirm everything is operationally sound
  • Pilot – This is where everything works exactly like you thought it would. Or does it? It’s inevitable that once you get users in the system and data flowing, you will identify areas for improvement, and that’s the point. Leverage some of your tech-savvy users who have the necessary patience to help fine-tune the solution.
  • Launch – Get executives to help drive from the top down, which is critical to success!


CRM implementation best practices

  • Focus on key priorities. Your phase one should be MVP, and phase two should only come when your users are demanding the next wave of functionality. Start small! We cannot stress this enough.
  • Over-communicate. This type of project touches many departments, so be sure to communicate as much as possible to avoid issues downstream. Collaboration and teamwork are key!

3 things to consider before going with a new CRM


  1. Identify what your managing partner would be banging on the podium about at the annual partner retreat. What are the 2-3 things that absolutely, positively must go right this year? That is your area of focus.
  2. Talk with your IT, finance, and risk departments as to what tools and software tools already have installed at your firm
  3. Call your Intapp expert to start a discussion about how to “connect the dots” to start moving forward with a plan. You can also talk with us at the upcoming Marketing Partners Forum on January 22nd – 24th where we’ll be on site to discuss how Intapp CRM can help you accelerate firm growth while ensuring your client relationships stay strong.